Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/03/2004 01:36 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                                                                  
                          May 3, 2004                                                                                           
                           1:36 p.m.                                                                                            
TAPE (S) 04-12&13                                                                                                             
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Bert Stedman, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 28(FIN) am                                                                               
Relating to the study of socioeconomic impacts of salmon                                                                        
harvesting cooperatives.                                                                                                        
     MOVED CSHCR 28(FIN) am OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 335                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to enhanced 911 surcharges and to emergency                                                                    
services dispatch systems of municipalities, certain villages,                                                                  
and public corporations established by municipalities."                                                                         
     MOVED CSSB 335(CRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 396                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the establishment of the Interior Rivers                                                                    
Port Authority; and providing for an effective date."                                                                           
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HCR 28                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STUDIES OF SALMON HARVESTING COOPERATIVES                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SEATON BY REQUEST OF SALMON                                                                       
INDUSTRY TASK FORCE                                                                                                             
01/28/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/28/04       (H)       EDT, RES                                                                                               
02/12/04       (H)       EDT AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                            
02/12/04       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/12/04       (H)       MINUTE(EDT)                                                                                            
02/19/04       (H)       EDT AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                            
02/19/04       (H)       Mvd Out of Committee w/new fiscal notes                                                                
02/23/04       (H)       EDT RPT 4DP                                                                                            
02/23/04       (H)       DP: MCGUIRE, CISSNA, CRAWFORD, HEINZE                                                                  
02/23/04       (H)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER RES                                                                           
03/01/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/01/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/01/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/03/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/03/04       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/03/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/04/04       (H)       RES RPT 5DP 1DNP 2NR                                                                                   
03/04/04       (H)       DP: GATTO, STEPOVICH, HEINZE,                                                                          
03/04/04       (H)       GUTTENBERG, DAHLSTROM; DNP: WOLF;                                                                      
03/04/04       (H)       NR: LYNN, MASEK                                                                                        
04/21/04       (H)       FIN AT 8:30 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/21/04       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/21/04       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/21/04       (H)       Moved CSHCR 28(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/21/04       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/22/04       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 7DP                                                                                 
04/22/04       (H)       DP: MEYER, HAWKER, MOSES, CHENAULT,                                                                    
04/22/04       (H)       FATE, FOSTER, WILLIAMS                                                                                 
04/28/04       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/28/04       (H)       VERSION: CSHCR 28(FIN) AM                                                                              
04/29/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/29/04       (S)       CRA, RES                                                                                               
05/03/04       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
BILL: SB 335                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCH/911 SURCHARGE                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SEEKINS                                                                                                  
02/16/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/16/04       (S)       CRA, FIN                                                                                               
03/10/04       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
03/10/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/10/04       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
05/03/04       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
BILL: SB 396                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INTERIOR RIVERS PORT AUTHORITY                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS                                                                                        
05/02/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/02/04       (S)       CRA                                                                                                    
05/03/04       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Cameron Yourkowski                                                                                                              
Staff to Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                             
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HCR 28                                                                                        
Joe Michel                                                                                                                      
Staff to Senator Ralph Seekins                                                                                                  
Staff to Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                             
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained the CS for SB 335                                                                              
Kevin Richie                                                                                                                    
Alaska Municipal League                                                                                                         
217 Second Street, Suite 200                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 335                                                                                    
Tim Rogers                                                                                                                      
Alaska Municipal League                                                                                                         
217 Second Street, Suite 200                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 335                                                                                    
Lieutenant Al Storey                                                                                                            
Alaska State Troopers                                                                                                           
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
PO Box 111200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 335                                                                                    
Linda Freed                                                                                                                     
City Manager of Kodiak                                                                                                          
722 Mill Bay Road                                                                                                               
Kodiak, Alaska 99615                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 335                                                                                    
Steve Thompson                                                                                                                  
Mayor, City of Fairbanks                                                                                                        
800 Cushman Street                                                                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 335                                                                                    
Paul Fuhs                                                                                                                       
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 396                                                                                      
Sally Saddler                                                                                                                   
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 396                                                                                      
Representative Carl Morgan                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 396                                                                                        
Bob Charles                                                                                                                     
President, Calista Corporation                                                                                                  
301 Calista Court, Suite A                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska 99518-3028                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 396                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 04-12, SIDE A                                                                                                            
CHAIR  BERT  STEDMAN called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs Standing Committee meeting to  order at 1:36 p.m. Present                                                               
were  Senators Wagoner,  Gary Stevens,  Elton, Lincoln  and Chair                                                               
  CSHCR 28(FIN) am -STUDIES OF SALMON HARVESTING COOPERATIVES                                                               
CHAIR STEDMAN  announced HCR  28 to be  up for  consideration. He                                                               
asked the sponsor's staff to come forward.                                                                                      
CAMERON   YOURKOWSKI,  staff   to  Representative   Paul  Seaton,                                                               
explained  that   the  resolution  is  sponsored   by  the  joint                                                               
legislative Salmon  Industry Task  Force and asks  the University                                                               
of Alaska to  continue to study the effects  of salmon harvesting                                                               
cooperatives. They  are to  focus on  the socio  economic impacts                                                               
that the cooperatives  might have on coastal  communities and the                                                               
processing sector.                                                                                                              
Currently the  one salmon cooperative that  has allocative rights                                                               
is operating in Chignik Alaska.  The Board of Fish established it                                                               
in 2002 and this season will be their third year of operation.                                                                  
Noting  that  the  co-op  has  been  somewhat  controversial,  he                                                               
pointed  out that  the Salmon  Industry Task  Force reviewed  the                                                               
policy  issues associated  with  salmon  harvesting co-ops,  they                                                               
found that the  economic data to try and weigh  the pros and cons                                                               
of  the co-ops  really  wasn't available.  Because  of that,  the                                                               
resolution  simply  asks  the  university   to  study  the  issue                                                               
further, hence the zero fiscal note.                                                                                            
CHAIR STEDMAN  commented that the Chignik  fishermen are probably                                                               
ready to renegotiate their co-op.                                                                                               
MR. YOURKOWSKI said he didn't understand.                                                                                       
CHAIR STEDMAN said, "A merger."                                                                                                 
MR. YOURKOWSKI said, "Oh right."                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS raised a  question about the cost of further                                                               
study and  asked if the hope  is that the university  will absorb                                                               
the cost into their other studies.                                                                                              
MR. YOURKOWSKI said the university  has indicated that they would                                                               
like to continue to study the issue.                                                                                            
SENATOR THOMAS WAGONER  said he had several  questions for Gunnar                                                               
Knapp, an economist with UAA.                                                                                                   
Mr. Knapp was not on-line.                                                                                                      
SENATOR  WAGONER  stated  that  he has  voiced  his  concerns  at                                                               
previous hearings. He was aware  of one major fiberglass business                                                               
in Homer  that went bankrupt  and knew  that a number  of crewmen                                                               
would be  put out of  work so he favored  a good study  on co-ops                                                               
before  going  forward.  "Co-ops  can do  some  good  things  and                                                               
there's some  good things about  co-ops, but if you  look overall                                                               
at all  the people that have  been involved in fisheries  such as                                                               
this and you  do an economic study, I think  you're going to find                                                               
that the spin off  of that is that there's a  lot of other people                                                               
that  are   indirectly  and  directly  penalized   by  the  state                                                               
establishing these co-ops so I think it's a catch-22."                                                                          
SENATOR  KIM ELTON  commented that  there  are justifiable  fears                                                               
associated with the  establishment of co-ops. He  also noted that                                                               
other  entities  would  get  involved deciding  on  the  type  of                                                               
economic  data that  is needed  before  additional decisions  are                                                               
made on co-ops. He stated support  for the resolution and said he                                                               
would be happy to make the motion to move it forward.                                                                           
SENATOR WAGONER wanted  it on record that of the  100 permits, 70                                                               
some percent form the co-op.  When an economic study is conducted                                                               
consideration should  be given to  what happens when you  pull so                                                               
many boats from  service and potentially put them  on the market.                                                               
"How  much of  a  depression  does that  have  when  it comes  to                                                               
somebody else wanting to market a 58 foot limit seiner?"                                                                        
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS pointed  out  that  farmed fish  represent                                                               
stiff competition and that will  likely increase as time goes on.                                                               
"What we have to  do is find a way to improve  the quality of the                                                               
product  and find  a way  to reduce  the cost,"  he said.  Co-ops                                                               
might not be  the right answer, but they do  represent an attempt                                                               
to  find an  answer to  reducing cost  and improving  quality. He                                                               
said he'd be happy to have Senator Elton make the motion.                                                                       
CHAIR STEDMAN  summarized that a  co-op may work in  select areas                                                               
in the state,  but the socio-economic downside could  be huge for                                                               
the  state.  "Hopefully  the  university,   when  they  do  these                                                               
studies, will definitely broaden the  scope enough to pick up the                                                               
adverse  impacts  of [what]  moving  away  from free  competition                                                               
market place brings," he said.                                                                                                  
SENATOR ELTON  motioned to move  CSHCR 28(FIN) am  from committee                                                               
with  the   attached  two  zero   fiscal  notes   and  individual                                                               
SENATOR LINCOLN said she was  curious whether it would take three                                                               
yeses to get the bill out of committee.                                                                                         
CHAIR STEDMAN answered  through the chuckles that,  "The way this                                                               
committee will  run, we'll have  three affirmative votes  to move                                                               
any bill forward."                                                                                                              
There being no objection, CSHCR 28(FIN) am moved from committee.                                                                
        SB 335-EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCH/911 SURCHARGE                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN announced SB 335 to  be up for consideration and he                                                               
would like a motion to adopt the committee substitute (CS).                                                                     
SENATOR THOMAS WAGONER  made a motion to adopt  CSSB 335(CRA) for                                                               
discussion  purposes.  There  being   no  objection,  it  was  so                                                               
JOE  MICHEL,  legislative aide  to  Senator  Ralph Seekins,  told                                                               
members the  CS addresses the  questions raised by  the committee                                                               
during the March 10 hearing. He  said the bill reflects hard work                                                               
on the part of a number of people. He read:                                                                                     
     This committee substitute  addresses the major concerns                                                                    
     this  committee  had  regarding  multiple  lines  in  a                                                                    
     residential home.  There is  concern of  this committee                                                                    
     that  the  Legislature would  have  to  deal with  this                                                                    
     issue again  and again as  technology advanced  and new                                                                    
     surcharge limits  would need  to be  set as  Alaska was                                                                    
     able to move on to Phase II, E-911 technology.                                                                             
     This bill is about  enabling municipalities to have the                                                                    
     means to support a 911  system. Every citizen needs 911                                                                    
     services and the adjustments made  by this CS will make                                                                    
     great  strides towards  the goal  of local  control for                                                                    
     city and borough governments.                                                                                              
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  recalled  there  was considerable  concern                                                               
about cell  phones and  wondered whether  cell phones  would work                                                               
through the 911 system.                                                                                                         
MR.  MICHEL  replied  they  would.   "It  would  be  per  billing                                                               
statement; it would  be where the billing  statement is located,"                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
SENATOR  THOMAS  WAGONER  asked  for  expanded  discussion  about                                                               
multiple lines into a residence and how would be handled.                                                                       
MR.  MICHEL said,  "The  multiple  phone lines  now  will be  per                                                               
billing address  per statement.  It won't  be if  you have  a fax                                                               
line, you're children  have a line. All those go  to whatever the                                                               
one  statement  is  per  billing   address.  There  will  be  one                                                               
surcharge placed on  that." He clarified that  businesses are not                                                               
SENATOR WAGONER questioned what would  happen if he had two lines                                                               
into his house from ACS and one line from GCI.                                                                                  
MR. MICHEL  replied, "If  you had  two different  phone companies                                                               
coming into one  address, I would say you would  probably get the                                                               
surcharge twice because the  individual companies are responsible                                                               
for collecting the surcharge on the phone bill."                                                                                
SENATOR  WAGONER commented  that it's  not really  true that  one                                                               
resident gets one surcharge.                                                                                                    
MR. MICHEL agreed.                                                                                                              
SENATOR WAGONER asked what he said about cell phones.                                                                           
MR. MICHEL repeated that they're charged per billing statement.                                                                 
SENATOR WAGONER  remarked that he  could receive two  billings at                                                               
his residence for the service  from two companies and one billing                                                               
for his cell phone.                                                                                                             
MR. MICHEL agreed.                                                                                                              
SENATOR KIM  ELTON asked  for a discussion  on the  rationale for                                                               
doing away with the caps.                                                                                                       
MR.  MICHEL said  it's the  result of  discussion on  a companion                                                               
House   bill.  The   limits  were   lifted  so   that  individual                                                               
municipalities  could do  what  they  saw fit  to  run their  911                                                               
SENATOR  ELTON asked  if the  state  would be  exempted from  the                                                               
MR. MICHEL didn't know the answer, but said he'd find out.                                                                      
SENATOR  ELTON asked  if there  was discussion  about how  market                                                               
dynamics could change so there  was shifting from one provider to                                                               
another to consolidate billings.                                                                                                
MR.  MICHEL said  there  was discussion  and  opined that  market                                                               
dynamics might be affected in  an effort to avoid surcharges, but                                                               
he didn't  think it  would amount to  much. "People  would either                                                               
accept the phone  charge or move on and try  to consolidate their                                                               
companies," he said.                                                                                                            
SENATOR ELTON remarked that cell  phones are the tethers by which                                                               
families stay  in contact  with their  teenagers. If  cell phones                                                               
are billed by  the number, then some families will  pay the fee a                                                               
number of times.                                                                                                                
MR. MICHEL thought the surcharge  was per billing address, but if                                                               
different companies  provided service  to the same  address, then                                                               
the fee  would be paid more  than once. The main  rationale is to                                                               
assess a  user fee for  911 service and  not place the  burden on                                                               
property tax owners.                                                                                                            
SENATOR  GARY   STEVENS  asked  about   municipalities  receiving                                                               
reimbursement  for  providing  911  service to  people  that  are                                                               
living outside the city borders but inside the service district.                                                                
MR.  MICHEL said  that areas  get billed  wherever the  emergency                                                               
services are provided.                                                                                                          
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS noted that  someone was shaking  their head                                                               
so the question needs further exploration.                                                                                      
SENATOR THOMAS WAGONER  remarked that in years past  when PTI had                                                               
the phone system on the Kenai  Peninsula, he was billed for local                                                               
service  by  PTI and  then  AT&T  billed  him for  long  distance                                                               
service.  That would  be two  billings  for 911  service for  one                                                               
MR.  MICHEL pointed  to Section  5 and  said it  speaks to  local                                                               
exchanges  so the  long distance  providers wouldn't  collect the                                                               
service charge.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR STEDMAN  asked for verification  that there is no  longer a                                                               
cap and that businesses would be charged per line.                                                                              
MR. MICHEL said that is correct.                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON asked  if the  bill  has any  provisions to  allow                                                               
municipalities to  make local accommodations  so that  they could                                                               
configure local 911 charges to their liking.                                                                                    
MR.  MICHEL   said  the   purpose  of  the   bill  is   to  allow                                                               
municipalities local control over funding their 911 systems.                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON   narrowed  his  question  and   asked  whether  a                                                               
municipality would  have the ability  to charge a  residence just                                                               
one service  fee regardless  of the fact  that the  residence may                                                               
have more than one cell phone and more than one land line                                                                       
MR.  MICHEL   said,  "Yes  sir,   the  whole  goal  is   for  the                                                               
municipality to run their show as  they see fit. We used the word                                                               
may many times  just to provide them with plenty  of wiggle room,                                                               
depending  on what  they feel  their municipality  needs to  fund                                                               
this service."                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  GEORGIANNA   LINCOLN  noted  that  the   committee  aide                                                               
distributed an amendment that she wanted to offer.                                                                              
CHAIR STEDMAN asked  whether she wanted to  discuss it informally                                                               
or make a formal motion.                                                                                                        
SENATOR LINCOLN made a motion to  adopt amendment 1, which adds a                                                               
new section on page 8.                                                                                                          
SENATOR WAGONER objected for discussion purposes.                                                                               
SENATOR LINCOLN continued to explain  that the new section is the                                                               
exact verbage that was offered on  a companion bill in the House.                                                               
It reads:                                                                                                                       
     AS 42.05 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                       
     Sec. 42.05.295.  Routing 911 calls.  Notwithstanding AS                                                                  
     42.05.711, to ensure statewide  access by all residents                                                                    
     to 911 wireline services,  traditional or enhanced, for                                                                    
     areas  where  there  is no  local  or  regional  public                                                                    
     safety  answering  point,  the state  shall  provide  a                                                                    
     toll-free,  statewide default  public safety  answering                                                                    
     point to  which each  local exchange  telephone company                                                                    
     must route  all 911  calls originating from  within its                                                                    
     customer service base.                                                                                                     
She noted that  AT&T supports the amendment  fully. The amendment                                                               
would  allow the  rural areas  of Alaska  to have  access to  911                                                               
service.  Currently the  rural areas  aren't able  to access  911                                                               
service and  with the decrease  in public safety officers  in the                                                               
small communities, this access can be critically important.                                                                     
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS said  he  wasn't  familiar with  the  term                                                               
"wireline services"  and mused that  it might be the  opposite of                                                               
"wireless services."                                                                                                            
SENATOR LINCOLN  wasn't altogether sure,  but took the  lead from                                                               
some nodding heads and agreed that was probably correct.                                                                        
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS said  he understood  the reasoning,  but he                                                               
wasn't  sure   how  that  would   work  because   there  wouldn't                                                               
necessarily be any anyone close enough to respond.                                                                              
SENATOR LINCOLN said:                                                                                                           
     There  was an  example used  when a  village member  in                                                                    
     Aniak was able to get a hold  of a person to be able to                                                                    
     call  the dispatcher  - has  to call  Bethel to  get an                                                                    
     okay to  respond. In  this manner  they would  have the                                                                    
     hubs and  the hubs  would be able  to respond  to those                                                                    
     911  calls  without  having  to  go  through  different                                                                    
     phases of getting to the next larger community.                                                                            
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  if  that  meant  that  she  wasn't                                                               
suggesting a  trooper dispatch service, but  that every community                                                               
would have a hub for calls to come into.                                                                                        
SENATOR  LINCOLN said  that's  correct and  she  didn't think  it                                                               
would cost the state.                                                                                                           
SENATOR WAGONER asked who would pay for the service.                                                                            
SENATOR LINCOLN said  she didn't want to put anyone  on the spot,                                                               
but  she  hoped  that  someone   from  AT&T  could  answer  those                                                               
questions.  She understood  that it  isn't a  cost to  the state.                                                               
It's an  option for  the communities so  the villages  would have                                                               
access. She said,  "I would imagine that it would  be through the                                                               
communities if there's any expense."                                                                                            
SENATOR WAGONER questioned, "If you're  in Nightmute and you want                                                               
to call in  a 911 call -  it originates in a residence  - and the                                                               
state then has a line that calls it into a 911 center?"                                                                         
SENATOR LINCOLN understood  that the 911 call would go  in to the                                                               
closest  hub  and  that  person would  then  contact  the  needed                                                               
SENATOR WAGONER  asked if the  people in the hub  community would                                                               
pay  for  all  the  911  calls and  the  individuals  making  the                                                               
emergency calls  from the  remote areas  would pay  nothing under                                                               
the proposed amendment.                                                                                                         
SENATOR LINCOLN said  it was her understanding that  there was no                                                               
charge  to the  state and  she didn't  know how  the rest  of the                                                               
costs would be distributed.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  WAGONER  understood  that  the state  wouldn't  get  the                                                               
fiscal note, but it would cost whoever was supporting the hub.                                                                  
CHAIR  STEDMAN  asked if  the  state  currently has  any  calling                                                               
SENATOR LINCOLN  couldn't put her  finger on one in  her district                                                               
of 127 communities.                                                                                                             
CHAIR  STEDMAN pointed  out that  the verbage  is that  the state                                                               
shall provide.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  said he  wouldn't feel  comfortable voting                                                               
for the amendment until he  heard from the communities that would                                                               
subsidize the service to areas outside their boundaries.                                                                        
CHAIR  STEDMAN  asked  if  anyone  would like  to  speak  to  the                                                               
amendment and received no response.                                                                                             
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  asked to  hear from  the Alaska  Municipal                                                               
KEVIN RICHIE, Alaska Municipal League,  noted that Tim Rogers was                                                               
on-line  to  help, but  his  quick  answer  is that:  "Given  the                                                               
ability  to  adjust  your  calling  area,  I  believe  that  this                                                               
provision  would  allow  PSAP, Public  Safety  Answering  Points,                                                               
which is  a calling center  - whatever calling center  was taking                                                               
the calls would have the ability  to collect the surcharge on the                                                               
telephones within that area." He  understands that, "by expanding                                                               
those calling areas  it would be possible - if  this bill were to                                                               
go  though  as  it  is allowing  a  municipality  to  essentially                                                               
recover the  costs that it  actually expends  - to not  have some                                                               
area subsidizing  others because  you would be  collecting enough                                                               
to run the system potentially within the larger calling area."                                                                  
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  if it's  his  feeling  that  these                                                               
centers could be  funded at no cost to the  local community. They                                                               
would  receive  the  money  needed to  run  the  centers  without                                                               
subsidizing them from the local tax base.                                                                                       
MR. RICHIE replied that is  his understanding, but he would defer                                                               
to Mr. Rogers to make sure that's the case.                                                                                     
TIM ROGERS, Alaska Municipal League,  spoke via teleconference to                                                               
say that the  intent of the amendment is to  establish an ability                                                               
for  the rural  areas that  currently don't  have 911  service to                                                               
have the  local phone  companies be  able to  switch back  into a                                                               
statewide  1-800  number  that  would  allow  them  to  reach  an                                                               
emergency services  dispatcher. Currently  there are a  number of                                                               
areas in  the state that  don't have  911 service and  this would                                                               
provide that access.                                                                                                            
SEANTOR  WAGONER said  the question  was  who would  pay for  the                                                               
MR. ROGERS  opined the state  would have to  pay for the  cost of                                                               
the 800  service and  there would  have to  be an  agreement made                                                               
with each dispatch center.                                                                                                      
SENATOR GARY STEVENS asked if  it's his understanding that if the                                                               
system were developed with the  regional service areas that local                                                               
cities wouldn't have to subsidize a larger area.                                                                                
MR. ROGERS  replied that  his understanding  of the  amendment is                                                               
that it  would require  the local telephone  companies to  have a                                                               
switching mechanism  so that any time  a 911 call came  in and it                                                               
was not  a local PSAP  [Public Safety Answering Point],  it would                                                               
automatically  switch to  an 800  number  that would  go to  some                                                               
dispatch center within the state.                                                                                               
SENATOR LINCOLN asked him to  verify that the state wouldn't have                                                               
to pay  for this and  that there  had been some  discussion about                                                               
placing a  5-cent surcharge on  all billings to ensure  that this                                                               
service was available statewide.                                                                                                
MR. ROGERS told  her he knew nothing about a  5-cent surcharge or                                                               
any  type of  statewide surcharge.  When  he spoke  with an  AT&T                                                               
representative he  was told  that the state  could have  a simple                                                               
switch to an  800 number then to a dispatch  center for little or                                                               
no expense.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR WAGONER  disputed the previous comment  saying that there                                                               
is an  expense. It  comes from  operating the  911 system  and if                                                               
individuals outside a service area  use the system without paying                                                               
a  fair  portion  then  that's   an  expense  to  the  cities  or                                                               
TAPE 04-12, SIDE B                                                                                                            
2:23 pm                                                                                                                       
SENATOR  ELTON said  he  could  see an  additional  cost, but  he                                                               
viewed it  as a good  neighbor policy  for larger areas  to offer                                                               
access to 911  service to outlying areas. For instance,  if a 911                                                               
call  was made  to the  Juneau  center from  Tenakee Springs,  it                                                               
would be  a good neighbor  policy to call  the Coast Guard  for a                                                               
MediVac or  whatever service  was needed. He  said, "I  think the                                                               
argument may be  a good argument if in  fact additional resources                                                               
are needed, but I suspect that  you're probably not going to need                                                               
additional resources. You're just going  to be using the existing                                                               
SENATOR WAGONER  said his  point is that  when these  systems are                                                               
established you  figure out the costs  to run the system.  "So if                                                               
they  want to  participate  at  that level,  I'll  buy into  that                                                               
argument, but  if they  want to participate  at that  level after                                                               
the system is  set up, manned and put in  place and the equipment                                                               
purchased, I don't  buy that." He questioned  whether that 5-cent                                                               
surcharge  would be  for everyone  statewide or  just those  that                                                               
don't currently participate in a 911 system. If it                                                                              
SENATOR LINCOLN said it's statewide.                                                                                            
SENATOR WAGONER said that's inequitable.                                                                                        
SENATOR GARY STEVENS agreed with Senator Wagoner's comments.                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON said those same  types of subsidies are provided in                                                               
public protection as  well. "Those kind of  subsidies are natural                                                               
kind  of subsidies.  They're using  our roads  when they  come to                                                               
visit town and we're not trying to recapture those costs."                                                                      
SENATOR WAGONER  said those who  have been involved  in municipal                                                               
government  clearly understand  the  burden  that's created  when                                                               
areas outside the city or  municipality borders use and don't pay                                                               
for  city  services.  He  told   an  anecdotal  story  about  the                                                               
communities  of Kenai  and Soldotna  that  used to  pay for  fire                                                               
protection services  to areas beyond  their borders and  how that                                                               
impacted  property owners.  "This  911 system  looks  to me  like                                                               
we're going  down that same road  and I don't think  we should go                                                               
there  and  I   think  we  should  have  a  lot   of  input  from                                                               
municipalities  before we  go this  way  because I  know what  my                                                               
municipality would say I'm sure," he said.                                                                                      
SENATOR LINCOLN asked who was on line to testify.                                                                               
CHAIR  STEDMAN  told her  Mayor  Thompson  from Fairbanks,  Linda                                                               
Freed  from  the  City  of Kodiak,  Lieutenant  Storey  with  the                                                               
troopers, and someone from the Department of Law were available.                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN apologized  for not  having the  answers to  the                                                               
questions  that  were  raised  and  then  pointed  out  that  the                                                               
municipalities would  have the option  to charge the  phone users                                                               
through  a surcharge.  The amendment  was intended  to allow  911                                                               
access  to  all   areas  in  the  state  and  not   just  in  the                                                               
municipalities or boundaries of a borough.                                                                                      
Rather  than have  the amendment  go  down in  flames, she  asked                                                               
whether she  could withdraw her  amendment to provide  the people                                                               
waiting on line the opportunity to comment.                                                                                     
CHAIR STEDMAN  was agreeable and  stated that testimony  would be                                                               
taken on the  \D version and anyone who wanted  to comment on the                                                               
amendment was free to do so. He called on Lieutenant Storey.                                                                    
LIEUTENANT AL STOREY, Alaska State  Trooper, Department of Public                                                               
Safety, said  he had several  comments. First, Section  1 relates                                                               
to actionable claims  against the state and  the department likes                                                               
the provision, he said.                                                                                                         
He  expressed concern  with  the proposed  amendment  that had  a                                                               
friendly  withdrawal.  The  fiscal note  would  be  indeterminate                                                               
rather than zero.  "Common sense would dictate  that the troopers                                                               
and Public Safety  would probably be the primary  call takers for                                                               
any regional call centers that  were set up." Currently they have                                                               
a system  for networking  with local  emergency services,  but it                                                               
isn't a 911  system. They recognize that a 911  system is needed,                                                               
but  they don't  want  to  jump in  without  a comprehensive  and                                                               
organized plan  with identified funding sources  and distribution                                                               
of  responsibility.  It's  important  to  provide  the  best  911                                                               
service  possible,  but  routing  an  emergency  call  through  a                                                               
dispatch  center in  Anchorage when  the emergency  originates in                                                               
Shaktoolik might  not satisfy the  caller's needs as  quickly and                                                               
efficiently as you might like.                                                                                                  
The  bill does  allow municipalities  to collect  surcharges, but                                                               
there  is  no  provision  where  the  state  could  benefit  from                                                               
collection of  any surcharge so  any cost incurred would  have to                                                               
be covered by the state.                                                                                                        
SENATOR WAGONER asked  for verification that more  time is needed                                                               
to study the impacts of proposed amendment 1.                                                                                   
LIEUTENANT  STOREY replied  that is  correct. He  knew that  AT&T                                                               
association  members have  expressed  concerns  on the  liability                                                               
that might  be extended to them  in not being able  to send calls                                                               
to a PSAP.                                                                                                                      
LINDA FREED, city  manager for the City of  Kodiak, testified via                                                               
teleconference in  support of  the committee  substitute, version                                                               
\D. The  City of Kodiak  is the PSAP  for the Kodiak  road system                                                               
representing  about  15,000  people  and  they  spend  about  $.5                                                               
million per  year to  operate their E  911 and  dispatch systems.                                                               
They   take  in   about  $45,000   under  the   system  that   is                                                               
legislatively  capped. It's  important  to  pass the  legislation                                                               
this session  so they  can find  a local  funding source  to help                                                               
defray  the large  subsidy they  now provide  for their  dispatch                                                               
The E 911 and dispatch systems  cover an area that stretches well                                                               
beyond the  city limits. They  are very happy with  language that                                                               
would  allow them  to extend  a  levy to  support their  dispatch                                                               
system, which  is more costly than  the E 911 portion.  The E 911                                                               
part  handles the  emergency  calls coming  in  and the  dispatch                                                               
system is  the response  calls out and  the way  they communicate                                                               
when they have a disaster  or an emergency response. That's where                                                               
a lot of staff time is consumed.                                                                                                
With  regard  to  proposed  Amendment   1,  she  said  the  House                                                               
companion  bill   removed  that  portion  because   of  the  many                                                               
unanswered  questions. The  House  suggested a  letter of  intent                                                               
speaking  of the  need  to establish  a  coordinator position  to                                                               
review and  come up with  a workable system for  communities that                                                               
don't currently have  E 911 service without  burdening those that                                                               
are already subsidizing the system with local tax dollars.                                                                      
STEVE THOMPSON,  mayor of  the City  of Fairbanks,  testified via                                                               
teleconference  in  support  of   the  committee  substitute.  He                                                               
complimented Ms. Freed for covering  most of the points they feel                                                               
are important. The mayors of  North Pole and Fairbanks North Star                                                               
Borough also support the \D version CS for SB 335.                                                                              
He noted  that utility providers  want the cap, but  the question                                                               
arises  over  whether  the cost  to  provide  emergency  dispatch                                                               
services to  Barrow compared to  Fairbanks compared  to Anchorage                                                               
is the same. "With new technologies  coming on line would both be                                                               
going back  to Juneau trying to  get the cap changed  in the next                                                               
year or the year after  because it doesn't provide enough money?"                                                               
Having  the dispatch  area authority  set the  rate to  cover the                                                               
cost of the services is a good way to do it, he said.                                                                           
SENATOR  WAGONER  asked if  the  city  or  borough runs  the  911                                                               
service in Fairbanks.                                                                                                           
MR.  THOMPSON said  they currently  have five  different dispatch                                                               
answering services in the valley.  They're trying to combine them                                                               
into one. The  borough operates the technical 911  switch that is                                                               
used by  the local  phone exchange  and that's  the only  way the                                                               
borough is involved for dispatching.                                                                                            
The combined  cost for  the five dispatch  centers is  about $4.7                                                               
million  per year.  They  look for  a  considerable reduction  in                                                               
operating costs when they consolidate.                                                                                          
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  whether he  had  any  comments  on                                                               
proposed  Amendment   1  that  would   probably  make   the  city                                                               
responsible for a number of  communities outside of the ones they                                                               
currently deal with.                                                                                                            
MR. THOMPSON  called it a good  concept, but he couldn't  see how                                                               
they  could foresee  the cost  or any  of the  other particulars.                                                               
When they answer an E 911  call now they know exactly the address                                                               
the call  is coming  from. If  they were to  receive out  of area                                                               
calls they  would have no  location data whatsoever. It's  a good                                                               
idea  for sometime  in the  future after  more study.  "We're not                                                               
really in favor of that at this  time. In the future I can see it                                                               
happening though," he said.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  LINCOLN thanked  him  for saying  the  concept was  good                                                               
rather than saying it was a rotten idea.                                                                                        
CHAIR STEDMAN noted there was no one else to give testimony.                                                                    
SENATOR LINCOLN said  she heard the concerns  expressed about the                                                               
proposed amendment and she would  like to withdraw Amendment 1 at                                                               
that time.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR STEDMAN announced Amendment 1 was withdrawn.                                                                              
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  said he appreciated what he  was doing, but                                                               
it's an important  principle and he wondered if he  would favor a                                                               
letter  of   intent  to  work   toward  developing   a  statewide                                                               
coordinated system.                                                                                                             
SENATOR LINCOLN seconded the idea.                                                                                              
CHAIR STEDMAN asked for a motion.                                                                                               
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS made a motion  to draft a letter  of intent                                                               
stating support  for a coordinated statewide  system. There being                                                               
no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER  made a  motion to move  CSSB 335  from committee                                                               
with individual  recommendations. He  added "and  hopefully there                                                               
will be a resolution to this in the near future."                                                                               
There being no objection, CSSB 335 \D moved from committee.                                                                     
TAPE 04-13, SIDE A                                                                                                            
2:53 pm                                                                                                                       
CHAIR STEDMAN called a short at ease.                                                                                           
             SB 396-INTERIOR RIVERS PORT AUTHORITY                                                                          
CHAIR STEDMAN announced SB 396 to be up for consideration. He                                                                   
didn't intend to move the bill that day and there would likely                                                                  
be a committee substitute offered at the next hearing.                                                                          
PAUL FUHS introduced himself and said:                                                                                          
     At the request of  Representative Morgan I helped draft                                                                    
     this legislation and helped him  work on it. It was his                                                                    
     idea  to  provide  a  regional  approach  to  providing                                                                    
     economic development and provision  of some services in                                                                    
     the Interior rivers area.                                                                                                  
     I'll hold  up a  map for  you to  see. It's  all pretty                                                                    
     much small  communities. They're all 80  to 300 people.                                                                    
     They all face a lot of  the same issues of high cost of                                                                    
     energy,   limited   transportation,  limited   economic                                                                    
     development  opportunities  although   there  are  some                                                                    
     pretty good mineral developments in the area.                                                                              
     In studies  on the  area for its  municipal government,                                                                    
     there  isn't  enough  there to  really  justify  it  so                                                                    
     they've really been  looking for the ways  how can they                                                                    
     do some  of the things  that local government  would do                                                                    
     especially  in the  economic development  area. They're                                                                    
     looking  for transportation  -  with  the Donlin  Creek                                                                    
     Mine going in  - to help facilitate that -  some of the                                                                    
     other  mines.  Transportation  in the  area,  the  bill                                                                    
     would allow  them to do  bulk fuel purchases.  It would                                                                    
     allow  them to  look at  inter-ties if  that made  more                                                                    
     sense  and could  provide power  cheaper or  could help                                                                    
     develop  some of  the mining  properties. Also  look at                                                                    
     tourism development in the area.                                                                                           
     In  your   packet  you'll  see   that  all   the  major                                                                    
     landholders  and agencies  in the  area have  supported                                                                    
     this and  are looking  for a  way to  try and  lift the                                                                    
     whole region up.                                                                                                           
     Port  authorities  have  been  used  around  the  world                                                                    
     because they really provide a  clear focus for economic                                                                    
     development  or whatever  purpose they're  put up  for.                                                                    
     We've  seen a  couple of  others. The  Prince of  Wales                                                                    
     Island   Port   Authority   that's  doing   the   ferry                                                                    
     transportation  down  here  has  been  real  successful                                                                    
     [and]  we've got  the Knik  Arm Crossing.  There's also                                                                    
     been   a  proposal   for  airport   authority  at   the                                                                    
     international airports.                                                                                                    
     It provides  a legal framework for  providing financing                                                                    
     for economic  development projects  and I think  one of                                                                    
     the most important provisions that  you want to look at                                                                    
     in the legislation is on page  15. And if I was sitting                                                                    
     in  your  seat,  this  is  one of  the  things  I'd  be                                                                    
     concerned about.  You're setting  up an  authority that                                                                    
     has the  ability to  issue bonds and  go into  debt and                                                                    
     yet  it's set  up  as a  state  corporation and  that's                                                                    
     necessary because there is no local government there.                                                                      
     Alaska's port  authority legislation,  which authorizes                                                                    
     municipalities to  form it -  which I worked on  in '93                                                                    
     with Drew Pearce  - you have to  have municipalities to                                                                    
     do it. The  reason state legislation is  needed here is                                                                    
     because this  is an unorganized  section of  the state.                                                                    
     And I would say that this  is probably one of the first                                                                    
     times  that the  Legislature  is really  acting as  the                                                                    
     borough assembly for the  unorganized borough, which is                                                                    
     one of your  mandates under the constitution.  So it is                                                                    
     one of those steps.                                                                                                        
     The question  would be  if they take  on debt,  is that                                                                    
     something  that the  state  is going  to  end up  being                                                                    
     responsible for? And under this  section, the credit of                                                                    
     the  state is  not pledged.  If they  go out  and issue                                                                    
     revenue bonds, they are dependant  upon the revenues of                                                                    
     the  project. They  have to  pass an  independent third                                                                    
     party   independent  evaluation   by  both   investment                                                                    
     banking firm to  take the deal to Wall  Street and then                                                                    
     for Wall  Street to buy the  bonds so it would  have to                                                                    
     be pretty  strong. If the  project failed, it  would be                                                                    
     the  bondholders  who  would be  responsible,  not  the                                                                    
     State of Alaska. So we gave that protection.                                                                               
     Other than that, the authority  has pretty broad powers                                                                    
     to  act  in  the  interests of  its  residents.  It  is                                                                    
     permissive legislation.  The only thing that  they have                                                                    
     to do  is on  page 23.  They really  have to  come back                                                                    
     with   a  development   plan  and   say:  'Here's   the                                                                    
     transportation  under   regional  development   plan  -                                                                    
     energy and tourism related.'                                                                                               
     The Department  of Environmental Conservation  has been                                                                    
     very  interested in  is regional  landfills and  things                                                                    
     like this where  it can be more efficient.  We've got a                                                                    
     lot of uncovered landfills out  there that are creating                                                                    
     some serious  health issues and  they'd really  like to                                                                    
     have  a  regional entity  to  look  at  to do  it  more                                                                    
     efficiently and to do it better.                                                                                           
     So I  would leave it at  that Mr. Chairman. I  would be                                                                    
     glad  to answer  any  questions that  you  may have.  I                                                                    
     would   just  say   that  part   of  the   reason  that                                                                    
     Representative Morgan asked me to  do this is I've been                                                                    
     involved in  the writing of  almost every  authority in                                                                    
     the state so  far and I also served as  chairman of the                                                                    
     AIDA Board,  the Energy Authority,  and the  State Bond                                                                    
     Committee  so  I   could  answer  questions  concerning                                                                    
     financing also.                                                                                                            
SENATOR GARY STEVENS remarked that  the governor appoints a board                                                               
of directors, but  that board could be  making communities liable                                                               
for bonds. He  asked how the communities buy into  what the board                                                               
has decided to do.                                                                                                              
MR. FUHS told him that  because the communities aren't organized,                                                               
this would be the  debt of the authority as a  whole not of those                                                               
communities.  The entire  region would  take on  the debt  as the                                                               
authority  and  go  out  with revenue  bonds  or  whatever  else.                                                               
There's  no  municipal  tax base  or  general  obligation  taxing                                                               
authority in the area.                                                                                                          
CHAIR STEDMAN questioned whether it would be just revenue bonds.                                                                
MR. FUHS said yes and it  also has the authority to receive funds                                                               
from federal,  state and private  sources. It could  receive land                                                               
or  enter   into  contracts  with  other   entities.  The  Denali                                                               
Commission is  also interested because  they're looking  for ways                                                               
to  do deliver  services more  efficiently in  that area  so they                                                               
would  welcome this  and  perhaps be  able  to provide  technical                                                               
assistance grants  or funding for  projects. Also quite a  lot of                                                               
federal  money has  been identified  for the  Donlin Creek  Road,                                                               
which would connect the two rivers with a port on each side.                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN remarked  it's a good concept.  It creates economic                                                               
development   in  the   area  and   some   inter-tie  among   the                                                               
communities,  which  might  raise  the  standard  of  living  for                                                               
everyone in the area.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  GARY   STEVENS  asked  if   this  would  ever   have  an                                                               
opportunity of  moving outside that  specific geographic  area or                                                               
would it be limited to the one area.                                                                                            
MR. FUHS replied  that it's limited to the  described area unless                                                               
the state  changes the  statute to include  other areas.  "But it                                                               
could  just by  contract, memorandum  of agreement  or any  other                                                               
mechanism have  joint ventures or  do things with other  parts of                                                               
the state," he said.                                                                                                            
CHAIR STEDMAN asked him to speak to the board structure.                                                                        
MR.  FUHS  explained that  it's  a  nine-member board.  All  land                                                               
owners  and organizations  in the  area would  propose a  list of                                                               
people to  the governor  who would freely  choose and  then there                                                               
would also be  a couple of public members  chosen. They're trying                                                               
to get everyone in the area that  has a stake in the authority to                                                               
be involved.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN said everyone should be represented.                                                                              
MR. FUHS agreed.                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked whether  the administration  supported the                                                               
MR.  FUHS said  he  didn't know  whether  the administration  had                                                               
taken  a  formal   position,  but  he  knew  that   some  of  the                                                               
departments were interested in the regional approach.                                                                           
SENATOR LINCOLN said perhaps Representative  Morgan had an answer                                                               
and that  she would like  to hear  from the departments  that had                                                               
expressed support.                                                                                                              
MR. FUHS  told her the  Department of  Commerce, DOT and  DEC had                                                               
expressed interest.                                                                                                             
SALLY  SADDLER  with the  Department  of  Community and  Economic                                                               
Development  stated, "the  concept has  merit particularly  as we                                                               
talk about putting  an economic development entity  in place that                                                               
can help  this region take  control and charge of  their economic                                                               
destiny."  Currently they  are  evaluating the  bill  and if  any                                                               
questions arise they pledge to work toward a resolution.                                                                        
CHAIR STEDMAN asked Ms. Saddler to  be at the next hearing of the                                                               
MS. SADDLER agreed to be at the next hearing.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE CARL  MORGAN, bill sponsor, first  noted that some                                                               
were  concerned  that  there  was  too  much  Native  corporation                                                               
representation  in  the  original   board  composition.  He  then                                                               
explained  that  the board  has  nine  members; three  seats  are                                                               
public  members  appointed  by  the  governor,  one  seat  is  an                                                               
industry member  who is  working in  the area,  and the  rest are                                                               
Native corporation members.                                                                                                     
CHAIR STEDMAN asked him to speak to the fiscal note.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE MORGAN said the fiscal note is indeterminate.                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN asked  him to talk about the  economic benefit this                                                               
would bring to the region.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE MORGAN  explained that this area  has been studied                                                               
extensively  and   the  conclusion  is  always   the  same.  It's                                                               
difficult to  do business in  the region, it's  impoverished, and                                                               
it's mineral rich. The Donlin  Creek Mine holds much promise, but                                                               
it's held back because of a lack of infrastructure.                                                                             
SENATOR WAGONER asked what kind  of commercial enterprises are in                                                               
the area currently.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE MORGAN  told him  that it's largely  barge service                                                               
and air  transportation freight  currently. With  the possibility                                                               
of the road corridor tying  the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, it'll                                                               
basically be railroad to rivers to roads to resources.                                                                          
SENATOR   LINCOLN  asked   whether  the   public  members   would                                                               
specifically not be Native.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MORGAN said it would be up to the governor.                                                                      
CHAIR  STEDMAN  stated that  neither  nationality  nor ethnic  or                                                               
religious backgrounds  should preclude anyone from  having access                                                               
into and benefit of the economic system.                                                                                        
SENATOR  LINCOLN said  she  appreciates that  very  much and  she                                                               
commended Representative Morgan for  having put the bill together                                                               
at such a late date.                                                                                                            
SENATOR WAGONER  stated that, "just because  they're Natives from                                                               
the Native corporations  and the Native association  sets out the                                                               
representation of those  groups, it doesn't mean they  have to be                                                               
a Native. ...  It doesn't matter. I think if  this thing happens,                                                               
I think it should be controlled by the people in that district."                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MORGAN added  that this is the first  of its kind.                                                               
It has taken considerable time trying  to get all the entities to                                                               
agree. The  25 villages and communities  are scattered throughout                                                               
the region with  populations that average 225  people. They can't                                                               
support a municipality,  but getting them to work  together was a                                                               
major step.                                                                                                                     
There were no further questions asked of Representative Morgan.                                                                 
BOB  CHARLES, the  Calista Corporation  president, testified  via                                                               
teleconference in  support of SB  396. The measure has  a focused                                                               
approach to  economic development  and they  look forward  to its                                                               
passage so they can get to work.                                                                                                
There were no questions.                                                                                                        
CHAIR STEDMAN  announced he  would hold SB  396 in  committee and                                                               
adjourned the meeting at 3:15 pm.                                                                                               

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