Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/05/2015 03:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Public Testimony --
*+ SB 19 BOUNDARIES OF ROAD SERVICE AREAS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 45 PARKS & REC SERVICE AREA BOUNDARIES TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
+= SB 43 IMMUNITY FOR FIRE DEPT. & MEMBERS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 43(CRA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                         March 5, 2015                                                                                          
                           3:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Anna MacKinnon                                                                                                          
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 19                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to road service area boundary changes."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 43                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to immunity for a fire department and employees                                                                
or members of a fire department."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 43(CRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 45                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to parks and recreation service area boundary                                                                  
changes."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 19                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: BOUNDARIES OF ROAD SERVICE AREAS                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COGHILL                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
01/21/15       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/16/15                                                                               
01/21/15       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/15       (S)       CRA                                                                                                    
03/05/15       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 43                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: IMMUNITY FOR FIRE DEPT. & MEMBERS                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COGHILL                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/06/15       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/06/15       (S)       CRA, JUD                                                                                               
02/17/15       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/17/15       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/17/15       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
03/05/15       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RYNNIEVA MOSS, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator Coghill                                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 19 for the sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JORDAN SHILLING, Staff                                                                                                          
Senator Coghill                                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained the changes to SB 43 for the                                                                   
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MITCH FLYNN, Chief                                                                                                              
Steese Volunteer Fire Department                                                                                                
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported the CS to SB 43.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DOUG SCHRAGE, Chief                                                                                                             
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Fire Department                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 43.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DAVID NEBERT, Chair                                                                                                             
Steese Volunteer Fire Department                                                                                                
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Thanked Senator Coghill for SB 43, but                                                                   
noted a problem with the H version.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN SHUTTS, Attorney                                                                                                          
Legislative Legal Services                                                                                                      
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 43.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JILL DOLAN, Attorney                                                                                                            
Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 43.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:32:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLICK  BISHOP called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs Standing Committee meeting to  order at 3:32 p.m. Present                                                               
at the  call to  order were Senators  MacKinnon, Egan,  and Chair                                                               
Bishop.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
             SB 19-BOUNDARIES OF ROAD SERVICE AREAS                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP announced the consideration of SB 19.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:34:18 PM                                                                                                                    
RYNNIEVA   MOSS,  staff  to  Senator   Coghill,  sponsor   of  SB                                                               
19,  Alaska  State  Legislature,   Juneau,   Alaska,  said  that                                                                
SB  19 was  requested   by the  Fairbanks   North  Star  Borough                                                                
to  address  boundary   issues  in  service  areas.  A  proposed                                                                
committee   substitute   (CS)  would  change  language   to more                                                                
narrowly   define  the  Borough's  powers.   It  basically  says                                                                
if  a  tax  lot  parcel   is  split   into  two  service   areas                                                                
that  the  Borough   Assembly,  with  a  public  hearing   and  a                                                               
vote,   could  consolidate    that  parcel   into   one  service                                                                
area that would have one tax bill.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
She  explained   that  AS 29.35.450(c)    addresses  boundaries                                                                 
of  road  service  areas   and there   are  now two  exceptions                                                                 
to  having  to  hold  elections   for  changing   boundaries   in                                                               
service   areas.  One  is  in subsection   (c)(3)   that  says  a                                                               
subdivision   or  parcel   for  which   the  only  access   is  a                                                               
road  maintained   by  an  adjacent   road  service   area.   The                                                               
other  exclusion   is  to  remove  a  subdivision   or a  parcel                                                                
in  an existing   road  service   area  that  does  not  rely  on                                                               
the  use  of  road   maintenance   services   for   access.   She                                                               
said this bill adds a third exception.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MOSS  said  there  seems  to  be  a disagreement    on what                                                                
(c)(3)   actually   does  and  the  legislative    attorney  was                                                                
going  to  work  with  the  borough  attorney   to  see  if this                                                                
interpretation    is  incorrect.   If  it  is,  it may  have   to                                                               
be changed before next week.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP said he would hold SB 19 for further work.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   MACKINNON   moved   to  adopt   the   CS  for  SB  19,                                                                
labeled 29-LS0326\W, as the working document.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BISHOP  objected   for  discussion   purposes  and  asked                                                                
for  public   testimony.    Finding  none,   he  closed   public                                                                
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:38:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BISHOP  announced   that  without   objection  version   W                                                               
is adopted and he would hold SB 19 in committee.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
            SB 43-IMMUNITY FOR FIRE DEPT. & MEMBERS                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:38:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP announced the consideration of SB 43.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:38:49 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:38 to 3:41 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:41:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MACKINNON moved to adopt CSSB 43 (CRA), labeled 29-                                                                     
LS0325\H, as the working document.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:41:40 PM                                                                                                                    
JORDAN  SHILLING,   staff  to   Senator  Coghill,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, explained  that the original  SB 43                                                               
extends  total   immunity  to   contract  fire   departments  and                                                               
municipal  fire   departments  and   their  members.   But  staff                                                               
suggested there  ought to be  an exception, because  some actions                                                               
by fire  departments could  be intentionally  wrong or  done with                                                               
extreme disregard and should not  be protected. Legislative Legal                                                               
Service  suggested copying  language in  another statute  dealing                                                               
with Emergency Medical Services  (EMS) immunity from 911 systems.                                                               
It  makes an  exception for  intentional acts  of misconduct  and                                                               
gross negligence.  This language  can be  found in  the committee                                                               
substitute (CS) on page 1, line 11.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The second change is in section 2  on page 2 that conforms to say                                                               
the  exceptions  made in  subsection  (c)  do  not apply  to  the                                                               
immunities found in subsection (d).                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:43:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP removed  his objection and version H  was before the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:43:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   MACKINNON  said   she  appreciated   incorporating  the                                                               
exception and that  all of the fire fighters she  knows would not                                                               
intentionally harm  another person, but  this is just  to protect                                                               
all  sides  of   the  issue:  a  home  owner   or  some  possible                                                               
interpretation that there was misconduct or gross negligence.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:44:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MITCH FLYNN, Chief, Steese  Volunteer Fire Department, Fairbanks,                                                               
Alaska,  supported the  CS to  SB  43. It  reduces liability  and                                                               
exposure to  the fire department  and its members  and ultimately                                                               
the taxpayer  that may end  up having to pay  out on a  claim. It                                                               
helps reduce insurance premiums,  because exposure is reduced. He                                                               
said he highly supported the new CS.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:45:40 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG SCHRAGE,  Chief, University  of Alaska Fairbanks  (UAF) Fire                                                               
Department, Fairbanks, Alaska,  supported SB 43. He  is a current                                                               
board  member  and past  president  of  the Alaska  Fire  Chief's                                                               
Association which  represents fire and emergency  service leaders                                                               
throughout the State  of Alaska. He said the  UAF fire department                                                               
is student-based and  provides fire protection to  the North Star                                                               
Borough  on  a  contractual  basis.  As  such,  they  are  not  a                                                               
municipal  fire department  and would  benefit from  the immunity                                                               
that this bill affords. He said  they are staffed and equipped to                                                               
handle  one incident  at a  time and  any concern  over liability                                                               
could be a factor in the future of their program.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DAVID   NEBERT,   Chair,   Steese  Volunteer   Fire   Department,                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska, thanked  Senator Coghill for SB  43, but noted                                                               
a problem  with H version.  He asked why  lines 5-8 in  section 1                                                               
are repeated in lines 8-11.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:48:58 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:48 to 3:51 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:51:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MACKINNON  explained that  the  sentences  appear to  be                                                               
identical,  but the  first sentence  refers to  an employee  or a                                                               
member of  the fire department  and the second sentence  on lines                                                               
8-11 refer to an action  against the fire department, itself. She                                                               
asked  Suzan Shutts,  Legislative  Legal, if  "unless the  action                                                               
alleges  intentional misconduct  or gross  negligence" should  be                                                               
included on line 8 after the words "of a fire department."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:52:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN SHUTTS,  Attorney, Legislative Legal  Services, Legislative                                                               
Affairs   Agency,  Alaska   State  Legislature,   Juneau,  Alaska                                                               
answered that would  be a policy decision.  As currently drafted,                                                               
two  sentences  are  drafted  there instead  of  just  the  first                                                               
sentence that states the fire  department as well as employee and                                                               
the  "intentional misconduct  or gross  negligence" exception  in                                                               
the  second  sentence only  applies  to  a  suit against  a  fire                                                               
department. So, if an intentional  misconduct or gross negligence                                                               
suit  were desired  to  be permitted  against  an employee,  that                                                               
would need to be added to the first sentence.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHILLING said  he thought  Senator Coghill  would find  that                                                               
change appropriate.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:53:05 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:53:05 to 3:53:43 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:53:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP invited Mr. Nebert to conclude his testimony.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEBERT said  the wording  is  a bit  clumsy but  he saw  the                                                               
distinction. He noted his support,  because basically it protects                                                               
those who protect us and it costs nothing.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   BISHOP,  finding   no  other   comments,  closed   public                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:54:45 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:54 to 3:56 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:56:07 PM                                                                                                                    
JILL DOLAN,  Attorney, Fairbanks  North Star  Borough, Fairbanks,                                                               
Alaska, suggested leaving  the full immunity in  for employees or                                                               
members of fire  departments, because it is  an existing immunity                                                               
in law for municipal employees. This  would just extend it to the                                                               
contracted fire  departments with the municipalities.  They would                                                               
not  want to  impact that  and have  personal liability  on their                                                               
part.  Of  course, if  there  was  still  an act  of  intentional                                                               
misconduct or gross  negligence by them that could  be imputed to                                                               
the fire department and a suit  could be brought against the fire                                                               
department as drafted. She suggested  not putting that additional                                                               
language at the end of line 8.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MACKINNON asked  her if a fire  fighter intentionally had                                                               
misconduct or gross negligence is immune right now.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. DOLAN answered that they  are immune from personal liability;                                                               
the fire  department could still  be liable for their  conduct if                                                               
they are in the course and scope of their employment.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:57:50 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:57 to 3:58 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:58:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MACKINNON  moved to  report  CSSB  43(CRA), version  29-                                                               
LS0325\H,  from  committee  with individual  recommendations  and                                                               
attached zero  fiscal note. There  were no objections and  it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:59:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP, finding being no  further business to come before                                                               
the  committee,  adjourned  the  Senate  Community  and  Regional                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee hearing at 3:59 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 19 - Example of the Problem.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 19 - Sponsor Statement 2 23 2015.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 19 - Version A.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 43 Letter of Support.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 43
SB 19 Explanation.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 19 - Fiscal Note.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
CSSB 43 version H.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 43
SB 19 CRA CS Version W.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19