Legislature(2005 - 2006)

03/21/2005 02:42 PM CRA

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02:42:38 PM Start
02:42:56 PM SB128
02:58:11 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                         March 21, 2005                                                                                         
                           2:42 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Thomas Wagoner                                                                                                          
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 128                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to consideration by the Local Boundary                                                                         
Commission of a requested borough incorporation."                                                                               
     MOVED SB 128 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 128                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BOROUGH INCORPORATION                                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) THERRIAULT                                                                                               
03/03/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/03/05       (S)       CRA, JUD                                                                                               
03/21/05       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 128                                                                                        
Dave Stancliff                                                                                                                  
Staff to Senator Therriault                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained reasoning behind SB 128                                                                        
Dr. Michael Dickens                                                                                                             
P.O. Box 497                                                                                                                    
Skagway, AK 99840                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 128                                                                           
Sally Saddler, Legislative Liaison                                                                                              
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified that the  department supports the                                                             
concept of SB 128, but has taken no position on the bill itself                                                                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting  to  order  at  2:42:38  PM                                                             
Present were  Senators Stedman, Wagoner,  Kookesh and  Chair Gary                                                               
                  SB 128-BOROUGH INCORPORATION                                                                              
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced SB 128 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
Due  to  teleconference  and associated  technical  difficulties,                                                               
there is no recording of the meeting.                                                                                           
2:42:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT, sponsor,  explained that  SB 128  is an                                                               
effort  to increase  local public  participation  with regard  to                                                               
creating  new boroughs  and to  clarify that  the Local  Boundary                                                               
Commission (LBC)  has the authority to  consider local government                                                               
boundary changes but  it doesn't have the authority  to create an                                                               
entirely new government.                                                                                                        
The City of  Whittier passed a resolution asking the  LBC to have                                                               
the  state  act  as  the petitioner  to  incorporate  the  Prince                                                               
William  Sound Borough  through the  legislative review  process.                                                               
Thereafter  the   LBC  directed  the  Department   of  Community,                                                               
Commerce and Economic Development  (DCCED) to originate a borough                                                               
petition.   To  no   avail   Valdez   residents  have   expressed                                                               
overwhelming  objection to  the  proposed  boundaries that  would                                                               
completely surround  the community  of Valdez. With  good reason,                                                               
the residents of Valdez feel completely disenfranchised.                                                                        
Senator Therriault said  he introduced the bill  because he views                                                               
the  recent  LBC  action  as  a misuse  of  power  with  possible                                                               
constitutional conflict.  The Alaska Constitution  clearly states                                                               
that,  "All government  is to  originate with  the people  and is                                                               
founded  upon their  will only."  Borough formation  should be  a                                                               
citizen  driven process  rather  than an  LBC  driven process.  A                                                               
government by  the people means  that change begins at  the local                                                               
level and works up rather than the other way around.                                                                            
2:46:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  asked whether Valdez residents  would be able                                                               
to vote on the Whittier proposal.                                                                                               
DAVE STANCLIFF, staff to Senator  Therriault, explained that just                                                               
a  small percentage  of the  people in  the area  would have  the                                                               
opportunity to vote  on the proposal. Furthermore  he pointed out                                                               
that although Title  29 procedures are typically  followed when a                                                               
new  borough  is formed  this  is  a  first  attempt to  use  the                                                               
legislative review process, authorized  in Title 44, to influence                                                               
borough formation.                                                                                                              
2:49:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THOMAS  WAGONER said he understood  resolutions came from                                                               
Whittier and Cordova.                                                                                                           
MR. STANCLIFF replied they were council resolutions.                                                                            
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked Dr. Dickens to come forward.                                                                           
DR.  MICHAEL DICKENS,  superintendent,  Skagway School  District,                                                               
testified that  the city  is on  record for  wanting to  become a                                                               
borough. This  is another opportunity  for local autonomy  and we                                                               
thank you Senator Therriault, he said.                                                                                          
SENATOR ALBERT KOOKESH noted that  it is interesting that Skagway                                                               
has worked very  hard to become a borough yet  the LBC denied its                                                               
2:53:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER  asked if it  is because the proposed  borough is                                                               
the  same size  as  the  land that's  currently  within the  city                                                               
DR.  DICKENS said  he is  aware of  the borough  requirements but                                                               
when  you  consider  the  isolated   condition  of  Skagway  some                                                               
latitude should be given.                                                                                                       
2:54:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SALLY  SADDLER, legislative  liaison, Department  of Community  &                                                               
Economic  Development (DCED),  said that  the department  and the                                                               
administration  support  the  concept  of the  bill  in  that  it                                                               
provides for  people/local governments  to take control  of local                                                               
issues affecting them,  but that they HAVE YET TO  TAKE A POSTION                                                               
and  are  consulting  with  the   Department  of  Law  to  better                                                               
understand the  complexities of  the bill to  be sure  it doesn't                                                               
have any  unintended consequences. She noted  that the department                                                               
is working with the sponsor's office.                                                                                           
Ms.  Saddler noted  the problem  with the  teleconference network                                                               
and mentioned  that the committee has  received comments directly                                                               
from the Local  Boundary Commission and that she  was speaking on                                                               
behalf of the department.                                                                                                       
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  noted that there was no one  else to speak to                                                               
the issue because  the phone lines were down.  Because the public                                                               
hadn't had  an opportunity to  weigh in he questioned  moving the                                                               
SENATOR KOOKESH asked which committee would hear the bill next.                                                                 
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  replied it  also has  a Judiciary  Committee                                                               
referral then asked Senator Therriault to comment.                                                                              
SENATOR THERRIAULT  aired the opinion  that the public  and those                                                               
who were unable to testify due  to the phone outage would support                                                               
the  bill  overwhelmingly. Nonetheless  he  would  make sure  the                                                               
public  has  an  opportunity  to  comment  during  the  Judiciary                                                               
Committee hearing.                                                                                                              
SENATOR  KOOKESH stated  that he  wouldn't object  to moving  the                                                               
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a motion.                                                                                          
2:57:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER  motioned to  report SB  128 and  attached fiscal                                                               
note from committee with  individual recommendations. There being                                                               
no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Gary Stevens adjourned the meeting at 2:58:11 PM.                                                                       

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