Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/27/1995 10:40 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
MINUTES SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE March 27, 1995 10:40 a.m. TAPES SFC-95, #23, Side 1 (000-352) CALL TO ORDER Senator Rick Halford, Co-chairman, convened the meeting at approximately 10:40 a.m. PRESENT 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 municipalities." 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 Substitute. 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. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:05 a.m.