Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/27/1995 10:40 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         March 27, 1995                                        
                           10:40 a.m.                                          
  SFC-95, #23, Side 1 (000-352)                                                
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
  Senator Rick  Halford, Co-chairman, convened  the meeting at                 
  approximately 10:40 a.m.                                                     
  All committee  members  (Co-chairmen Halford  and Frank  and                 
  Senators Phillips, Rieger, Sharp,  and Zharoff) were present                 
  with the exception of Senator Donley.                                        
  ALSO  ATTENDING:    Representative  Parnell;  Representative                 
  Mackie;  Del  Smith, Deputy  Commissioner,  Dept.  of Public                 
  Safety;  Nico Bus,  Acting  Director,  Division  of  Support                 
  Services, Dept. of Natural Resources; Mike Greany, Director,                 
  Legislative  Finance  Division;   Ken  Bischoff,   Director,                 
  Division of Administrative Services, Dept. of Public Safety;                 
  Juanita  Hensley, Chief,  Driver Services,  Dept. of  Public                 
  Safety;  and aides to committee members and other members of                 
  the legislature.                                                             
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
  SB  16 -  INCREASE LAND GRANT TO UNIV. OF ALASKA                             
            Amendments  1 and 2 were adopted for incorporation                 
            within CSSB 16  (Fin) which was then  REPORTED OUT                 
            of  committee  with a  zero  fiscal note  from the                 
            Dept. of Revenue, 24.0 note  from Dept. of Natural                 
            Resources (Information Services),  71.0 note  from                 
            Dept.  of  Natural  Resources (Land  Development),                 
            34.0  note from  the Dept. of  Fish and  Game, and                 
            100.0 note from the University.                                    
  HB  26  - DEPOSITIONS IN CRIMINAL CASES                                      
            Brief  testimony  was presented  by Representative                 
            Parnell.   CSHB 26 (Jud)  was then REPORTED OUT of                 
            committee with zero fiscal notes from the Dept. of                 
            Public Safety, Dept. of Law, and Court System.                     
  HB  79 -  MUNICIPAL LAND ERROR CORRECTIONS                                   
            Discussion was had with  Representative Mackie and                 
            Nico Bus.  An amendment  proposed by Senator Frank                 
            was adopted  but then  held pending  receipt of  a                 
            legal opinion                                                      
            regarding impact of the change on the title.                       
  SENATE BILL NO. 16                                                           
       An  Act  relating  to  the  University  of  Alaska  and                 
       university land,  authorizing the University  of Alaska                 
       to  select additional  state  public  domain land,  and                 
       defining  net income  from  the University  of Alaska's                 
       endowment trust  fund as 'university  receipts' subject                 
       to prior legislative appropriation.                                     
  Co-chairman Halford  directed that SB  16 be brought  on for                 
  consideration.  Co-chairman Frank  referenced two amendments                 
  and explained that Senator Sharp  worked with the University                 
  to develop  an amendment  (amendment no. 2)  to address  his                 
  concerns.  Amendment no. 1 is a technical amendment deleting                 
  the word "displaying" at  page 10, line 8, and  replacing it                 
  with "disposing."  Co-chairman Frank than MOVED for adoption                 
  of CSSB 16 (CRA) as a working document.  No objection having                 
  been raised, IT WAS SO ORDERED.                                              
  Senator Sharp MOVED  for adoption of  amendment no. 2.   Co-                 
  chairman  Halford announced  that  there  was OBJECTION  for                 
  purposes  of an explanation.  Senator Sharp advised that the                 
  amendment  addresses  earlier concerns  by members  that the                 
  state not get  into a  "Catch 22" situation  similar to  the                 
  mental  health lands.   The committee  seeks to  ensure that                 
  entry would still be allowed under current Dept. of  Natural                 
  Resource  regulations for  filings,  leases, mining  claims,                 
  etc. on  lands nominated  for selection  by the  University.                 
  Proposed language allows  for that  under existing Dept.  of                 
  Natural Resource authority.  Provisions within amendment no.                 
  2  specify  that   90%  of  any  leases  or   proceeds  from                 
  transactions  that  occur   after  nomination,  during   the                 
  selection  process  by  the  University,  would be  held  in                 
  escrow.    If  the  land   is  indeed  transferred  to   the                 
  University,  the  funds  would also  be  transferred  to the                 
  University.   The 10% would  be withheld for  processing and                 
  Dept. of Natural Resource costs.  Co-chairman Halford called                 
  for objections or  questions concerning  the amendment.   No                 
  objection having been raised, amendment no. 2 was ADOPTED.                   
  Co-chairman Frank MOVED and requested unanimous consent  for                 
  adoption of technical  amendment no.  1, explaining that  it                 
  would  correct  a  typographical  error.    Senator  Zharoff                 
  inquired concerning the difference  between "displaying" and                 
  "disposing."  Co-chairman  Frank remarked that all  the land                 
  is on display.                                                               
  Senator Zharoff  referenced the section  entitled "CUSTOMARY                 
  AND TRADITIONAL USES  TO BE CONTINUED"  at page 10, lines  6                 
  through 11, and  asked is subsistence  and other uses  would                 
  continue.  Co-chairman Frank responded that they would occur                 
  to the extent it is compatible  with the use contemplated by                 
  the University.  That is  the intent and part of  the reason                 
  for tort  immunity provisions  in the  next  section of  the                 
  legislation.  Senator Zharoff voiced concern that much would                 
  depend upon disposal  of the land to  a third party.   As an                 
  example, he voiced  his hope  that a mining  lease or  other                 
  arrangement with the University would  continue to allow for                 
  customary and traditional uses.   He reiterated concern that                 
  disposal  to third-party,  private  ownership would  involve                 
  other restrictions.  Co-chairman Frank acknowledged that the                 
  issue depends on use  and the degree to which  use conflicts                 
  with people  using the  land for  customary and  traditional                 
  uses.   He voiced  his belief  that most of  the time  there                 
  would be no conflict, but he  acknowledged that there may be                 
  some.    It  is  difficult  to  lay  out  every  example  or                 
  circumstance and treat each differently in law.  That is why                 
  the intent is  to maintain customary and traditional uses to                 
  the maximum extent practicable.   Senator Zharoff asked that                 
  he be allowed to work with the sponsor of the legislation on                 
  a possible letter of intent.  Co-chairman Frank concurred.                   
  Co-chairman   Halford  called   for  further   questions  or                 
  objections to amendment  no. 1.   No  objection having  been                 
  raised, amendment no. 1 was ADOPTED.                                         
  Co-chairman Frank MOVED and requested  unanimous consent for                 
  passage of  CSSB 16  (Fin) with individual  recommendations.                 
  No objection having been raised, CSSB 16  (Fin) was REPORTED                 
  OUT of committee with the following fiscal notes:                            
       Dept. of Revenue                          0                             
       Dept. of Natural Resources (Land Dev.)   71.0                           
       Dept. of Natural Resources (Info.Res.)   24.0                           
       Dept. of Fish and Game                   34.0                           
       University                              100.0                           
  Co-chairman Frank and  Senators Rieger and Sharp  signed the                 
  committee  report  with  a "do  pass"  recommendation.   Co-                 
  chairman   Halford   and   Senator   Zharoff   signed    "no                 
  recommendation."  Senator Randy Phillips signed "Do not pass                 
  unless amended."                                                             
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 26(JUD)                                                
       An  Act  amending  Rule 15,  Alaska  Rules  of Criminal                 
       Procedure, relating to depositions.                                     
  Co-chairman Halford directed  that CSHB 26 (Jud)  be brought                 
  on for discussion.   Representative Parnell, sponsor  of the                 
  legislation, came before  committee.  He explained  that the                 
  bill would amend  Rule 15  of the Alaska  Rules of  Criminal                 
  Procedure, governing depositions in criminal  cases.  At the                 
  present time, Rule 15 allows a deposition to be taken upon a                 
  showing  of good  cause.  The  problem is that  the rule has                 
  become  a  tool  for  aggressive  harassment  of  witnesses,                 
  particularly victims of sexual assault.   In federal courts,                 
  instead of showing good  cause, a party is required  to show                 
  exceptional circumstances for taking  the deposition.   That                 
  makes  sense.   The  proposed  bill  attempts  to raise  the                 
  current state standard for the deposition to "an exceptional                 
  circumstances standard."   In the  typical case, the  victim                 
  has already given a recorded statement to the police and the                 
  grand jury.  Those statements are available to the  defense.                 
  The bill has broad-based support and  is accompanied by zero                 
  fiscal notes.                                                                
  Senator  Randy  Phillips  inquired  concerning  the  impetus                 
  behind the  legislation.   Representative Parnell  explained                 
  that Mr. McNally, Chief of  the Criminal Division, Dept.  of                 
  Law, highlighted ten changes to existing criminal rules that                 
  would be of benefit.  This  is one of those recommendations.                 
  The Representative advised that he worked closely with staff                 
  at the Dept. of Law to develop the proposed legislation.  He                 
  further advised that  department staff was present  to speak                 
  to the bill.                                                                 
  Senator Phillips  MOVED for  passage of  CSHB 26  (Jud) with                 
  individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                 
  notes.  No objection  having been raised, CSHB 26  (Jud) was                 
  REPORTED OUT  of committee with  zero notes from  the Alaska                 
  Court System, Dept. of Law, and Dept. of Public Safety.  Co-                 
  chairmen  Halford and  Frank and Senators  Phillips, Rieger,                 
  and  Sharp signed  the  committee report  with  a "do  pass"                 
  recommendation.  Senator Zharoff signed "no recommendation."                 
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 79(FIN)                                                
       An Act allowing the Department  of Natural Resources to                 
       quitclaim  land   or  interests   in  land,   including                 
       submerged or shore  land, to a municipality  to correct                 
       errors   or   omissions   of   the  municipality   when                 
       inequitable detriment would  result to a person  due to                 
       that person's reliance upon the  errors or omissions of                 
       the municipality.                                                       
  Co-chairman Halford directed  that CSHB 79 (Fin)  be brought                 
  on for  discussion.   Representative Jerry  Mackie, sponsor,                 
  came  before committee.  He explained  that the bill relates                 
  to   a  50-year-old   problem  that   occurred  at   Skagway                 
  immediately after World War  II.  The river was  eroding the                 
  front portion of the  city, and the Army Corps  of Engineers                 
  constructed a dike.  The city subsequently backfilled behind                 
  the dike and  subdivided and sold  the property.  Owners  of                 
  the lots now have  clouded title which raises problems  when                 
  one attempts to sell or transfer  a lot.  The community high                 
  school  is  also located  on  the  property.   The  Dept. of                 
  Natural Resources has been unable to rectify the problem.  A                 
  statutory fix is thus  necessary.  The bill contains  an 18-                 
  month sunset provision  which allows  a window within  which                 
  the Dept.  of Natural  Resources could  fix the  problem for                 
  Skagway.  That window would then cease to exist.                             
  Representative Mackie referenced  a map of the  area showing                 
  the 10 to 12 lots impacted by the bill.  He  reiterated that                 
  the mistake                                                                  
  was  made by the community prior  to statehood, zoning laws,                 
  etc.   Skagway has  had perpetual problems  with the  issue.                 
  Both the Dept. of Natural Resources  and the city of Skagway                 
  requested the proposed bill.                                                 
  Senator  Randy  Phillips  asked that  the  Dept.  of Natural                 
  Resources contact communities  to ensure that no  others are                 
  experiencing  a   problem  similar   to  that   at  Skagway.                 
  Representative  Mackie  advised  that  Skagway  has  not yet                 
  reached its entitlement.  Land impacted by the proposed bill                 
  would apply toward that cap.                                                 
  Senator Zharoff  acknowledged that  similar legislation  had                 
  been before  the legislature  for a  number of  years.   The                 
  issue was discussed in Senate Resources, and an amendment to                 
  resolve the problem was included in another bill.                            
  Co-chairman  Halford  asked if  the  bill would  cover other                 
  municipalities.  Representative Mackie responded negatively.                 
  Co-chairman  Frank noted that his concern at the time Senate                 
  Resources  amended  Senator  Leman's  bill  was  "the  broad                 
  application  of  the  opportunity to  control  submerged  or                 
  tidelands."    He  then voiced  his  understanding  that the                 
  proposed   bill   reflects   a   "limited  application   for                 
  tidelands."  Representative Mackie concurred.                                
  In  response to  an  additional  question  from  Co-chairman                 
  Halford, Representative  Mackie  advised that  Skagway is  a                 
  first class city which has not received its full entitlement                 
  from the state.  Co-chairman Halford said he would feel more                 
  comfortable  had  Senate Resources  reviewed  the bill.   He                 
  again sought assurance  that the  legislation would have  no                 
  other application than to Skagway.                                           
  NICO  BUS, Legislative Liaison,  Dept. of Natural Resources,                 
  came before committee.   He said  that the department  would                 
  contact  the various municipalities.  He  added that, to the                 
  best of his knowledge, no other municipality qualifies under                 
  the terms of the bill.  Co-chairman Frank asked what feature                 
  of the  bill limits  it to  Skagway.   Representative Mackie                 
  voiced his understanding that as  the bill is drafted,  with                 
  the criteria laid out, no  other municipalities have brought                 
  similar  problems  to  the   department's  attention.    The                 
  department  has  attempted to  resolve  the problem  for ten                 
  years.  It was determined that the only way to do so was per                 
  the wording in the present bill.  Co-chairman Halford voiced                 
  concern that language  within the bill would lead  people to                 
  believe that if they relied on an error by any municipality,                 
  the Dept. of  Natural Resources is authorized  to "give them                 
  the  state  land to  make up  the problem."   The  bill only                 
  applies to  the entitlement, if an entitlement  remains.  If                 
  the  municipality  has no  remaining  entitlement,  the bill                 
  still works. Co-chairman Frank  suggested limiting the  bill                 
  to first class cities.                                                       
  Senator Phillips asked  how the  Dept. of Natural  Resources                 
  determined no other  communities would be involved.  Mr. Bus                 
  explained that the Dept. of  Community and Regional Affairs,                 
  Alaska Municipal League, and Dept. of Natural Resources have                 
  all been involved in both the issue and numerous legislative                 
  hearings over a number of years.   There has been sufficient                 
  public   process   but   no   feedback   from   "any   other                 
  Co-chairman  Frank MOVED  to delete the  word "municipality"                 
  and insert  "first class  city" in  lieu thereof  throughout                 
  subsection (11) on pages 3 and 4.   Other members raised the                 
  issue of a possible title  change to the House  legislation.                 
  Co-chairman Frank voiced his belief  that the wording change                 
  would  be  consistent  with title  language  referring  to a                 
  municipality. Co-chairman  Halford called for  objections to                 
  the amendment.  None were forthcoming, and the amendment was                 
  ADOPTED for incorporation within a  Senate Finance Committee                 
  Senator Randy  Phillips MOVED  that SCS  CSHB 79  (Fin) pass                 
  from   committee   with   individual   recommendations   and                 
  accompanying  zero  fiscal  notes.   Several  scenarios  for                 
  changing  the   wording  within   subsection  (11)   without                 
  impacting the title were suggested  by Co-chairman Frank and                 
  Senator Rieger.  Co-chairman  Halford subsequently suggested                 
  that a legal opinion be obtained.  Senator Phillips withdrew                 
  his motion for passage,  and the bill was HELD  in committee                 
  pending receipt of the above-noted opinion.                                  
  The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:05 a.m.                        

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