Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/21/1996 09:20 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         March 21, 1996                                        
                            9:20 a.m.                                          
  SFC-96, #45, Sides 1 and 2                                                   
  SFC-96, #46, Side 1 (000-346)                                                
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
  Senator Rick Halford,  Co-chairman, convened the  meeting at                 
  approximately 9:20 a.m.                                                      
  In  addition   to  Co-chairman  Halford,   Senators  Donley,                 
  Phillips,  Rieger, and  Zharoff were  present.   Co-chairman                 
  Frank arrived soon  after the meeting began.   Senator Sharp                 
  did not attend.                                                              
  ALSO ATTENDING:  Representative Therriault; Robert  E. Ruby,                 
  Division  Administrator,  Alaska  Division, Federal  Highway                 
  Administration,  U.S.  Department  of   Transportation;  Jim                 
  Bryson,  Right-of-Way  Officer,  Alaska   Division,  Federal                 
  Highway Administration, U.S.  Department of  Transportation;                 
  Chris Christensen, Staff Counsel, Alaska Court System; Geron                 
  Bruce, Legislative Liaison,  Dept. of Fish and  Game; Dwight                 
  Perkins, Special Assistant,  Dept. of Labor; Sam  Kito, III,                 
  Legislative    Liaison/Special    Assistant,     Dept.    of                 
  Transportation and  Public Facilities;  Sara Hannan,  Alaska                 
  Environmental Lobby; Carol Carroll, Director, Administrative                 
  and   Support  Services  Division,  Dept.  of  Military  and                 
  Veterans Affairs; Crystal Smith, Legal Administrator,  Dept.                 
  of  Law;  Nancy  Weller, Medical  Assistance  Administrator,                 
  Division of Medical  Assistance, Dept. of Health  and Social                 
  Services; Brett Huber,  aide to Senator Green;  and aides to                 
  committee members and other members of the legislature.                      
  PARTICIPATING VIA TELECONFERENCE:  Beth Kerttula,  Assistant                 
  Attorney  General,  Dept. of  Law, Anchorage;  Janice Adair,                 
  Director,  Division  of   Environmental  Health,  Dept.   of                 
  Environmental   Conservation,   Anchorage;   Rick   Barrier,                 
  President, Alaska Campground Owners' Association, Anchorage;                 
  Daniel Strouse, R/V  Park Owner, Palmer; Red Starr, R/V Park                 
  Owner, Palmer.                                                               
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
  SB 181 -  PROHIBITED HIGHWAY ADVERTISING                                     
            Discussion was  had with Robert  Ruby; Jim Bryson;                 
            Sam Kito,  III; and  Brett Huber.   Teleconference                 
            testimony was  presented by  Rick Barrier,  Daniel                 
            Strouse, and Red Starr.  The bill was subsequently                 
            held  in  committee  for additional  work  by  Co-                 
            chairman Frank and the sponsor, Senator Green.                     
  SB 199 -  ENVIRONMENTAL & HEALTH/SAFETY AUDITS                               
            Testimony was  presented  by  Sara  Hannan,  Geron                 
            Bruce, Dwight Perkins, and Sam  Kito, III.  Janice                 
            Adair   and   Beth    Kerttula   responded,    via                 
            teleconference from Anchorage,  to questions  from                 
            members.  The bill was then held  in committee for                 
            additional  work  by  Senator   Phillips  and  the                 
            sponsor, Senator Leman.                                            
  HJR  5 -  LIMITING TERMS OF STATE LEGISLATORS                                
            Representative   Therriault    noted   differences                 
            between  CSHJR  5(Fin)am  and  SCS  CSHJR  5(Jud).                 
            Chris  Christensen  spoke  in  opposition  to  the                 
            Senate  Judiciary  version.   Following discussion                 
            with members, Co-chairman Halford advised that the                 
            resolution would be held in committee and that the                 
            House version would  be used  by committee as  the                 
            starting point for further review.                                 
  SENATE BILL NO. 199                                                          
       An Act relating to environmental  audits and health and                 
       safety  audits  to  determine compliance  with  certain                 
       laws,  permits,  and regulations;  and  amending Alaska                 
       Rules of Appellate  Procedure 202, 402, 602,  603, 610,                 
       and 611.                                                                
  Co-chairman Halford directed  that SB 199 be  brought on for                 
  continued discussion.  He noted teleconference participation                 
  by JANICE ADAIR, Director, Division of Environmental Health,                 
  Dept. of Commerce  and Economic  Development, to respond  to                 
  questions relating to the bill.  No questions were raised.                   
  SARA  HANNAN,   Alaska  Environmental  Lobby,   came  before                 
  committee  and spoke  in opposition  to  the bill  which she                 
  termed  "the  violator's  secrecy  act."    She   referenced                 
  previous  testimony indicating  that  fourteen other  states                 
  have similar legislation which grants immunity and privilege                 
  in  cases  of self-audit,  and  she advised  that thirty-six                 
  states have chosen not to pass similar laws and have instead                 
  crafted narrow language.                                                     
  Ms.  Hannan  suggested that  the  legislation deals  with an                 
  issue  that  is  not  a  problem in  Alaska.    In  hours of                 
  testimony   before Senate Resources,  not one local case was                 
  brought forward  whereby  penalties were  forced on  someone                 
  working to comply with  environmental or safety regulations.                 
  Laws  in Texas  and Louisiana and  examples of  EPA leveling                 
  punitive   damages   on   corporations   to   comply    with                 
  environmental  laws  relate to  other  states.   Referencing                 
  prior comments that penalties might be levied for failure to                 
  follow "simple  paperwork procedures," Ms.  Hannan suggested                 
  that action would most likely only be taken if the violation                 
  impacted public safety.   She stressed that  corporations do                 
  not  have  the  same  level  of  privilege  and  privacy  as                 
  individual citizens.  When corporations  seek to do business                 
  in Alaska,  they should comply  with local law.   If they do                 
  not do so, they have an  undue business advantage over those                 
  who comply.   The state  should not create  an incentive  to                 
  forego  compliance  costs.    Ms.  Hannan acknowledged  that                 
  compliance with  environmental and safety laws  costs money.                 
  Those laws, however, are put in place to protect the public.                 
  If they are unduly burdensome, they should be repealed.  The                 
  legislature should  not  grant  corporations  privilege  and                 
  immunity for violations  and non-compliance that makes  them                 
  more competitive in the marketplace.                                         
  Ms. Hannan reiterated that there is no problem with Alaska's                 
  environmental and safety laws.  No examples of problems have                 
  been presented.  She stressed need  for free, open, and easy                 
  discussion between corporations  and regulators.   The "dog"                 
  hired  by  the state  to make  sure  laws are  complied with                 
  should be  respected by both  sides.  Ms.  Hannan reiterated                 
  that the granting of privilege puts the public right to know                 
  at risk.  Much of the  problem with the proposed legislation                 
  relates to privilege  rather than  immunity.  She  suggested                 
  that the legislation  would create problems that  do not now                 
  exist and urged that the bill not pass from committee.                       
  GERON BRUCE, Legislative  Liaison, Dept.  of Fish and  Game,                 
  next came  before committee  to speak  to current  statutory                 
  protection of anadromous  fish habitat and why  the proposed                 
  bill would  require additional funds  to fulfill  department                 
  responsibilities.   Protection laws  within AS  16.05.870-80                 
  require  that  those  proposing activity  in  a  fish stream                 
  provide  notification  and  plans to  the  department.   The                 
  department reviews the  plans and  works with applicants  to                 
  develop  a  viable  project  that  protects   fish  habitat.                 
  Stipulations on the permit are used to accomplish that goal.                 
  The department has a high rate  of permit approval under the                 
  foregoing  process  (over 99%  of  those applying  receive a                 
  [Co-chairman Frank arrived at the meeting at this time.]                     
  Concern regarding the  legislation relates to the  fact that                 
  the  department has  no  post-permit inspection  capability.                 
  The  department  thus depends  upon  the public  and fishery                 
  biologists who  may be  in the  field and  notice "a  stream                 
  running  dirty"  to notify  the state  that  there may  be a                 
  problem.   The department  then contacts  the permittee  and                 
  attempts to discover the problem.  Under the proposed  bill,                 
  someone could conduct an audit, and the information would be                 
  privileged.  The department  would no longer be able  to "go                 
  to the main source of information" traditionally utilized to                 
  determine what the problem is and develop corrective action.                 
  As a consequence, the department would need staff to collect                 
  independent  information  to  determine  the  cause  of  the                 
  problem and  ascertain whether proper  corrective action  is                 
  being taken.    The department  thus  seeks funding  for  an                 
  additional staff person.                                                     
  DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant, Dept. of Labor, next came                 
  before committee.    He referenced  two department  concerns                 
  raised when the bill was before Senate Resources.  The first                 
  relates to  OSHA and  the second  to worker's  compensation.                 
  Senate  Resources  amended   the  legislation  and   removed                 
  worker's  compensation proceedings.  Issues relating to OSHA                 
  remain  and  give rise  to concern  that  the state  will no                 
  longer comply with federal  requirements.  Alaska  presently                 
  has a  "state plan"  under which  it operates  its own  OSHA                 
  program.  There are, however,  certain things the state must                 
  do to comply with federal law.                                               
  Mr. Perkins acknowledged  that the Texas plan  has privilege                 
  language similar to that in the proposed bill.  However, the                 
  federal government ignores  those statutes  and goes in  and                 
  gets the information  it needs.   If Alaska were to  proceed                 
  under the proposed  bill, the  state could potentially  lose                 
  its program.   As  in Texas,  the  federal government  would                 
  retain ability to get the information it needs.  Mr. Perkins                 
  questioned whether the legislature would want OSHA to revert                 
  to the federal program.                                                      
  Speaking  to  penalties  and  OSHA  compliance, Mr.  Perkins                 
  explained that the department has  the ability to reduce "up                 
  to  97.5%  of  the  fines"  levied  against an  employer  or                 
  individual for  "things that  they  had wrong  on their  job                 
  sites."  In most  situations, where good faith is  shown and                 
  it is  acknowledged that an  employer is attempting  to take                 
  corrective action, that  is taken into consideration.   More                 
  importantly,  the department "will  go in,  on consultation,                 
  and . . . provide and perform the audits at no charge to the                 
  employer."   That  information  is privileged.    Compliance                 
  staff does  not have  access.   Privileges are  thus already                 
  available   on   the  consultation   side   of  state   OSHA                 
  proceedings.    Provisions  in  the  proposed bill  are  not                 
  Mr. Perkins next referenced  29 U.S. Code No. 651  and noted                 
  that  Sec.  17  relates  to  penalties,  Sec.  8 relates  to                 
  inspections and  investigations, and  Sec. 18  mandates that                 
  state requirements  be "at  least" as  stringent as  federal                 
  requirements.   He then  asked that  the committee  consider                 
  removing references  to "health  and safety"  throughout the                 
  bill.   That would take care of the remaining Dept. of Labor                 
  SAM KITO, III, Legislative  Liaison/Special Assistant, Dept.                 
  of Transportation  and Public  Facilities, next came  before                 
  committee.    He  described  the  circumstances whereby  the                 
  majority of airports in Alaska are  owned and managed by the                 
  department.  Under the proposed bill, hundreds of industrial                 
  leaseholders  and  tenants  using   lands  at  airports  and                 
  elsewhere would  be subject  to  privileges and  immunities.                 
  State  land  managers  would be  unable  to  maintain tenant                 
  environmental audit  documents pertaining  to use of  public                 
  lands.    At  the  same   time,  state  agencies,  including                 
  airports,   would  be   subject  to   and  responsible   for                 
  environmental compliance  and violations occurring  on those                 
  lands and facilities.  The bill would further reduce limited                 
  information on the condition of  state property and increase                 
  the environmental liability  of the  state.  DOTPF  airports                 
  have  an  overriding  interest  in  obtaining  environmental                 
  audits and related documents because the state is liable for                 
  environmental  damages.    Non-compliance,  cleanup,  ground                 
  water  contamination, public  health  and safety,  and costs                 
  caused  by tenant activities are also  included.  The intent                 
  of  SB  199  is  to   encourage  environmental  cleanup  and                 
  compliance without penalizing individuals.   However, as the                 
  bill is written, landowners and  tenants are placed at odds.                 
  The   department  recommends   that  Sec.   09.25.465  (non-                 
  privileged materials) be amended to add:                                     
       material  required  in  public  lease  agreements,                      
       permits, and licenses                                                   
  Co-chairman Halford  observed that testimony  indicates that                 
  under the proposed  bill existing  information would not  be                 
  available.    He  then voiced  his  understanding  that bill                 
  provisions  state that  if  audit information  is  currently                 
  required for other purposes, it  does not warrant privileges                 
  and immunities.   Mr. Kito attested  to "a little  bit of  a                 
  clarity  issue . . .  on the lease  provisions as a contract                 
  and not a matter of law  or regulation."   Clarification  of                 
  this issue would take care of concerns regarding leases.                     
  Senator Randy  Phillips remarked on  numerous statements  in                 
  opposition  to  the  bill  and asked  who,  other  than  the                 
  sponsor, was supportive.  Co-chairman Halford explained that                 
  the bill emanated from an energy council recommendation.  He                 
  advised  that  he  offered a  different  approach  in Senate                 
  Resources in terms of codifying existing  federal privileges                 
  and immunities.  He  stressed that a legitimate  question is                 
  raised in situations  where an  entity conducts an  optional                 
  audit, finds  a deficiency,  and is  working on  correction.                 
  Action to fix  the problem  should not be  used against  the                 
  entity.  The Co-chairman acknowledged problems with the fact                 
  that the proposed bill:                                                      
            sets up a  situation where both the  privilege and                 
            immunities can  be used  as  a defense,  possibly,                 
            against actions that . . . aren't being cleaned up                 
            . . . .  Instead  of being a shield, it becomes  a                 
  Senator Phillips again inquired concerning whether there was                 
  Alaskan  support   for  the   bill.     Co-chairman  Halford                 
  acknowledged much  work on the bill in  Senate Resources and                 
  remarked  on  the  complexity of  the  issue  and associated                 
  federal involvement.                                                         
  Senator  Zharoff  inquired  concerning  the  impact  of  the                 
  legislation on tariff litigation.  BETH KERTTULA,  Assistant                 
  Attorney  General, Dept.  of Law,  spoke via  teleconference                 
  from Anchorage.  She noted two impacts:                                      
       1.   The  state will  have to pay  for its  own audits.                 
  Based  on '95  TAPS tariff  litigation, it is  estimated the                 
  state would have  to pay approximately $25  million to "gain                 
  the same kind  of information  we're getting  out of  audits                 
  from the owner companies and from Alyeska."                                  
       2.   An  overall  impact on  the  tariff.   Under state                 
  royalty   and  production   tax  statutes,   the   state  is                 
  responsible for "about a quarter of the tariff."  In the '95                 
  case, which  totals approximately $330 million  overall, the                 
  state  portion  is  $82  million.     Under  privileges  and                 
  immunities  sections of  the bill,  the state  would not  be                 
  getting or using the information.                                            
  The state would thus  be at quite a loss in  tariff cases in                 
  terms of environmental and safety  audits which comprise the                 
  greater part of the information in the '95 case.                             
  In response  to a further question from Senator Zharoff, Ms.                 
  Kerttula  clarified  that  while the  case  itself  is worth                 
  approximately $82 million  to the state, under  the proposed                 
  bill  the cost associated  with obtaining needed information                 
  to bring  the case  would have  cost $25  million.   Senator                 
  Zharoff asked if there are other  tariff cases for which the                 
  proposed bill would require the  state to gather information                 
  on its own.   Ms. Kerttula  advised of ongoing tariff  cases                 
  and stressed that the state would  not have access to future                 
  Co-chairman  Halford  asked  if  privileges  and  immunities                 
  provisions attach  if the  audit is  required by  law.   Ms.                 
  Kerttula voiced her  belief that  that would be  a point  of                 
  contention.    The  joint pipeline  office  conducts certain                 
  audits, and there would be no  problem obtaining those.  The                 
  audits in question are owner audits not directly required by                 
  the state or federal government.                                             
  In response to a question  from Senator Zharoff, Co-chairman                 
  Halford advised  of his  understanding that  the bill  would                 
  apply to the entity  reporting to the state rather  than the                 
  state itself.  Ms. Kerttula concurred.                                       
  Co-chairman Halford queried members regarding disposition of                 
  the bill.  Senator Randy Phillips expressed  his belief that                 
  the  bill  should  be  returned   to  Senate  Resources  for                 
  additional substantive  work.    Co-chairman  Frank  agreed,                 
  saying that while  it could  be placed in  a Senate  Finance                 
  subcommittee, it  might  be more  appropriately returned  to                 
  Resources.  As an alternative, he suggested that the sponsor                 
  be asked to develop a committee substitute.                                  
  Co-chairman  Halford  directed  that  the  bill be  held  in                 
  committee  and  asked that  Senator  Phillips work  with the                 
  sponsor, Senator Leman.                                                      
  SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 181                                   
       An Act relating  to the promotion of  Alaska businesses                 
       through signs, displays, and devices within or adjacent                 
       to  highway rights-of-way,  to municipal  regulation of                 
       directional  signs,  displays,  and   devices,  and  to                 
       penalties   for   violations    related   to    outdoor                 
  BRETT HUBER, aide  to Senator Green, came  before committee.                 
  Directing attention to  CSSSSB 181 (STA), he  explained that                 
  the bill  would establish  the Dept.  of Transportation  and                 
  Public Facilities tourist oriented directional signs  (TODS)                 
  program in statute and allow  placement of signs on  private                 
  property outside of  the right-of-way.  Codification  of the                 
  program will provide for a well-planned and regulated system                 
  of directional signs to benefit visitors and businesses that                 
  serve them.                                                                  
  The department presently administers TODS as an experimental                 
  program consistent with standards established by FHA and the                 
  manual of uniform  traffic control devices.   The absence of                 
  statutory authorization for the program  has left the public                 
  out of the  regulatory process.   Statutory enactment  would                 
  provide  firm  legal footing  for  the program  to continue.                 
  Opinion  from  legislative  counsel  suggests  that  without                 
  statutory  standing   the  program  would  be   unlikely  to                 
  withstand judicial challenge.                                                
  Private   property  placement   of  uniform   (18"   x  90")                 
  directional signs  would  allow  establishments  a  limited,                 
  strictly   controlled   opportunity  to   direct  clientele.                 
  Stringent guidelines  (more strict than  federal law allows)                 
  and  requirements for  individual  application and  approval                 
  offer ample opportunity  for the  state to maintain  roadway                 
  view sheds.  As evidenced by signatures of visitors gathered                 
  by  campground   owners,   tourists   seek   more   adequate                 
  directional signs.                                                           
  Mr. Huber directed attention to additional material from the                 
  Federal Highway Administration and  noted that it highlights                 
  concerns  regarding language  within the bill.   Referencing                 
  FHA indications that  TODS signs may  only be placed in  the                 
  right-of-way, Mr. Huber  advised of the sponsor's  intent to                 
  develop a uniform program allowed by Dept. of Transportation                 
  and Public Facilities  and approved on a  case-by-case basis                 
  to  give businesses  an  opportunity to  provide directional                 
  signs while maintaining state control of roadway appearance.                 
  Mr. Huber  then voiced  his  understanding that  directional                 
  signs  outlined in the  bill would be  allowed under federal                 
  guidelines but would be under a different program than TODS.                 
  The second concern raised by FHA relates to sign dimensions.                 
  Mr. Huber  referenced information stating that  signs should                 
  not  exceed seventy-two inches  in width.   The current TODS                 
  program allows for ninety-inch signs.                                        
  Mr.  Huber  asked that  the  committee assist  in developing                 
  language to remedy federal concerns  and to satisfy business                 
  BOB RUBY, Division  Administrator, Alaska Division,  Federal                 
  Highway Administration, came before committee accompanied by                 
  JIM BRYSON,  Division Right-of-Way Officer,  Federal Highway                 
  Administration.  Mr.  Ruby directed  attention to a  handout                 
  (copy on file  in the  Senate Finance file  for SB 181)  and                 
  advised that it contains:                                                    
       1.   An overview relating to outdoor advertising                        
       2.   Umbrella law (outdoor advertising)                                 
       3.   Information on "on-premise" signs                                  
       4.   Requirements for the TODS program.                                 
       5.   General comments on SB 181                                         
  In response to questions by  Co-chairman Halford relating to                 
  sign   dimensions,  Mr.  Ruby  acknowledged  that  TODS  was                 
  established as an experimental program.  In an attempt to be                 
  as flexible  as possible, "the ninety inches was accepted at                 
  that time."  That is not  considered a significant issue and                 
  would not be  considered a fatal  flaw.  Federal law  covers                 
  all  fifty states.  The administration  has authority at the                 
  state  level  to  make  reasonable  adjustments  for  unique                 
  Brief discussion  occurred between  Co-chairman Halford  and                 
  Co-chairman Frank regarding prior billboard legislation that                 
  failed to become  law.  Further comments  followed regarding                 
  sign requirements for commercial/industrial areas.                           
  Referencing  the  above-noted information  regarding outdoor                 
  advertising, Mr. Ruby  acknowledged that Alaska law  is more                 
  severe  than federal  law  in that  federal  law allows  for                 
  commercial/industrial areas.   Aside  from that,  one cannot                 
  have signs in rural  areas or beyond the right-of-way.   The                 
  problem  with  the  proposed bill  is  the  private property                 
  allowance.  TODS  signs and  motorist information signs  are                 
  considered  official signs and  formatted in accordance with                 
  MUTCD.   All directional and official  signs must be located                 
  within  the  highway right-of-way  so  that there  is proper                 
  control over the signs.                                                      
  Senator  Randy Phillips asked  if there is  an official size                 
  for such signs.   Mr.  Ruby responded affirmatively,  saying                 
  that  all  official  signs  for  the  traveler  (gas,  food,                 
  lodging)   or  tourist   oriented  destination   signs  have                 
  restrictions  as far  as  size, placement,  number, location                 
  within the highway right-of-way, etc.  There is little state                 
  control of signs  on private property outside of  the right-                 
  Senator  Rieger  directed  attention  to  language   in  his                 
  proposed amendment:                                                          
       The program must allow  the department to maintain                      
       control  over  the  location  of  signs,  and  the                      
       department must control the location of signs in a                      
       manner  which  maintains  the  quality  of  scenic                      
  He  advised  that the  language  should be  inserted  in the                 
  "heart of the bill" which describes the sign program.                        
  Co-chairman Halford  asked if  the foregoing language  meets                 
  control requirements.  Mr. Ruby stressed that official signs                 
  must be located  within physical  right-of-way limits.   Co-                 
  chairman Frank  attested  to  the fact  that  the  Dept.  of                 
  Transportation  and  Public  Facilities   maintains  control                 
  outside of the right-of-way.  He  advised that he had placed                 
  a sign outside of the right-of-way, on private property, and                 
  was told to take it down.                                                    
  In response to a suggestion from  Co-chairman Frank that two                 
  parallel programs be  developed, Mr. Ruby said  that federal                 
  regulations  do not  apply  to zoned,  commercial/industrial                 
  areas.  The  Co-chairman then suggested that the state could                 
  have a  program, existing  outside of  the right-of-way  but                 
  limited to size  restrictions, which  would mirror the  TODS                 
  program in zoned, commercial/industrial areas.                               
  END:      SFC-96, #45, Side 1                                                
  BEGIN:    SFC-96, #45, Side 2                                                
  Discussion occurred  between  Senator Zharoff  and Mr.  Ruby                 
  regarding civic  organization signs.   Mr.  Bryson explained                 
  that  they are  considered  official and  directional  signs                 
  under outdoor advertising  laws and  regulations.  They  are                 
  legitimately  erected  off-right-of-way  signs  relating  to                 
  public-interest, nonprofit groups.                                           
  Mr. Ruby acknowledged that  one problem relates to  the fact                 
  that state law is much more  restrictive than federal law in                 
  commercial/industrial areas where signs are expected.   That                 
  has generated some of the controversy.                                       
  Discussion followed between Senator Rieger  and Mr. Ruby and                 
  Mr.  Bryson regarding  signs along the  Glenn Highway.   Mr.                 
  Bryson said  that if state  legislation enabled signs  to be                 
  erected in  unzoned commercial/industrial zones,  a specific                 
  definition  would  have to  be developed.   The  erection of                 
  signs  would then  have  to comply  with  the definition  of                 
  "unzoned commercial" within  the state of Alaska.   Mr. Ruby                 
  acknowledged  that,  because  of  the wide  right-of-way  in                 
  Alaska, when a sign is placed on private property outside of                 
  the highway right-of-way,  it is  too far from  the line  of                 
  sight  to be seen.  Many property owners thus place signs in                 
  the right-of-way and are subsequently  asked to remove them.                 
  To address  the issue,  the federal  government developed  a                 
  program  unique  to Alaska.   It  allows property  owners to                 
  lease highway right-of-way  from the  state and place  signs                 
  immediately adjacent  to property  in areas  where they  are                 
  visible and safe  from collisions.   The federal  government                 
  has tried  to address  individual issues  in rural  areas of                 
  Alaska.  Mr. Ruby voiced his understanding that the approach                 
  is  working   satisfactorily  but   acknowledged  room   for                 
  improvements and suggestions.                                                
  Senator  Rieger  referenced the  handout  from Mr.  Ruby and                 
  requested   a  definition  of   "an  unzoned  commercial  or                 
  industrial zone."   Mr. Ruby explained that a  single entity                 
  does  not  constitute a  commercial area.    It is  merely a                 
  business located  along the  road.   A series  of businesses                 
  along  a  strip  creates a  commercial  or  industrial area.                 
  Senator Rieger cited an  example of a number of  road houses                 
  located in close proximity.  Mr. Ruby said that, on request,                 
  the FHA  could make a  site-specific evaluation and  a clear                 
  Co-chairman  Frank   voiced  need  to   accommodate  federal                 
  restrictions within the  proposed bill.   He then  suggested                 
  that the sponsor be asked  to develop a committee substitute                 
  that  allows   for  directional  signs  in   commercial  and                 
  industrial  areas.   While those signs  would be  limited to                 
  specific  size,  they would  not  be restricted  to location                 
  within the right-of-way.   For  areas other than  commercial                 
  and industrial, the existing TODS  program would prevail and                 
  location of signs would be within the right-of-way.                          
  Further  discussion  followed  among   members  citing  sign                 
  situations  at  Tok,  the  Glenn  Highway,  and  the  Seward                 
  Senator Zharoff inquired regarding the federal definition of                 
  a rural road.   Mr. Ruby  answered, "Something outside of  a                 
  built-up city, town, village."   Unincorporated villages and                 
  small communities  are considered commercial  areas for sign                 
  purposes.  He advised that he would produce a definition for                 
  SAM KITO III,  Legislative Liaison/Special Assistant,  Dept.                 
  of  Transportation   and  Public  Facilities,   came  before                 
  committee  in  opposition  to  SSSB  181.    He  pointed  to                 
  difficulties   associated   with    enforcement   of    sign                 
  restrictions for signs located  outside of the right-of-way.                 
  At  the present time,  these signs are  easily identified as                 
  illegal signs.  A specific category of such signs would make                 
  enforcement against illegal signs difficult.                                 
  Further, proposed decrease of the penalty from a misdemeanor                 
  to a violation will leave the state no recourse in instances                 
  of  repeat  offenders.   Co-chairman  Halford  asked  if the                 
  department was opposed to all signs outside of the right-of-                 
  way.   Mr. Kito attested  to concern regarding  placement of                 
  signs   from  both   a  legal   enforcement   and  aesthetic                 
  standpoint.    Co-chairman   Frank  questioned  concern   in                 
  commercial and  industrial areas,  given size  restrictions.                 
  Mr.  Kito cited Wasilla  and Soldotna  as examples  of local                 
  control of signage  outside of the  right-of-way.  He  noted                 
  the proliferation of signs and  spoke to resulting confusion                 
  for  motorists.    Both Co-chairmen  took  exception  to Mr.                 
  Kito's  comments.   They  said  that feedback  from visitors                 
  indicates Alaska lacks sufficient directional signs.                         
  RICK   BARRIER,   President,   Alaska  Campgrounds   Owners'                 
  Association, next  spoke via teleconference  from Anchorage.                 
  He  advised  that  the  association  consists  of  70  to 80                 
  campground owners  and "over 100 other associate members . .                 
  . primarily along  the highway system."   Mr. Barrier voiced                 
  association  support for  the legislation  and cited  safety                 
  issues  relating  to  proper  advance  notice of  sites  for                 
  visitors  driving  large  campers.   The  bill  would enable                 
  business owners to do  a better job of informing  the public                 
  of their locations without deteriorating "the public image."                 
  DANIEL  STROUSE,  R/V  park   owner,  Palmer,  Alaska,  next                 
  testified from Palmer.   He observed that  after eight years                 
  in the business, the number one visitor complaint is lack of                 
  tourist-related signs.  The second most often asked question                 
  is "Where  are  your  route  sign  numbers."    Mr.  Strouse                 
  stressed that many of Alaska's tourists are elderly visitors                 
  driving large "eighteen wheelers."  It is difficult for them                 
  to anticipate need to  stop when a business is  only allowed                 
  an entrance sign.  Visitors have constantly remarked on need                 
  to improve signage.                                                          
  Mr.  Strouse further  attested to  complaints from  visitors                 
  that when they see a viewpoint sign and  pull over, they are                 
  confronted   with   "nothing   but   cottonwood  trees   and                 
  overflowing trash cans."                                                     
  Further, Mr. Strouse noted that his campground is across the                 
  road from  a state  recreation area.   There  are two,  huge                 
  signs announcing  the entrance to  the state park  while Mr.                 
  Strouse is denied opportunity to give  advance notice of his                 
  private park.                                                                
  Referencing Mr. Strouse's  comment regarding  lack of  route                 
  numbers, Co-chairman Halford  noted that  Alaska has so  few                 
  highways that it names rather than numbers them.  Mr. Stouse                 
  stressed  that while that is known by Alaskans, it is new to                 
  visitors  who are  "nervous  when they  can't  find a  route                 
  sign."    The Milepost  is  "almost useless  anymore because                 
  there are relatively few mileposts left on the highway."                     
  RED STARR, R/V park  owner, next testified from Palmer.   He                 
  attested  to  the  two-and-a-half-year  effort  involved  in                 
  procuring TODS  along the  Old Glenn  Highway.   While those                 
  signs  are  working,  there  is  still need  for  additional                 
  signage.    TODS  are small  and  located  at intersections.                 
  There is no effective advance sign.                                          
  Mr. Starr referenced  his prior  conversation with Mr.  Ruby                 
  regarding placement of signs on  commercial property as well                 
  as comments by the state that such  signs would lead to loss                 
  of  federal  highway  funding.    It  appears  obvious  from                 
  discussion with FHA personnel that  the state has been using                 
  federal  requirements  and  loss of  federal  funding  as "a                 
  scapegoat" to  allow DOTPF to do "whatever  they wanted to."                 
  Mr. Starr stressed need  for a cooperative effort.   He then                 
  commented  further on size  restriction on signs, suggesting                 
  that  even  larger signs  than  presently allowed  would not                 
  obstruct most views.                                                         
  Co-chairman Halford asked that  Co-chairman Frank work  with                 
  the sponsor in development of a committee substitute for the                 
  bill.  He then directed that it be held in committee pending                 
  receipt of a new draft.                                                      
  CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 5(FIN) am                                  
       Proposing amendments  to the  Constitution of  the                      
       State of Alaska relating to terms of legislators.                       
  Co-chairman  Halford  directed  that  CSHJR  5 (Fin)  am  be                 
  brought on for discussion.   He then referenced SCS  CSHJR 5                 
  (Jud)  and  a  proposed  amendment  by Senate  Judiciary  to                 
  correct an overreach relating to magistrates.                                
  CHRIS  CHRISTENSEN, General  Counsel,  Alaska Court  System,                 
  came before committee.   He explained that the supreme court                 
  has taken no  position on sections applying  to non-judicial                 
  officers.  However,  it opposes  sections that would  create                 
  fifteen-year  term  limits   for  judges  and   magistrates.                 
  Alaska's system  of  judicial appointment  and retention  is                 
  considered a  model and  has been  adopted by  other states.                 
  The system will  not be  improved by the  proposed bill  but                 
  will, instead, be severely compromised.   Judicial office is                 
  fundamentally  different than  political  office.   Alaska's                 
  constitution  recognizes  that  difference.    Justices  and                 
  judges are appointed by the  Governor rather than elected by                 
  voters.  After assuming office,  they do not face  contested                 
  election.  They stand for retention on a vote by the public.                 
  Magistrates  are  not  constitutional  officers.    They are                 
  merely  employees  of the  court  system  who serve  at  the                 
  pleasure of the presiding judge.                                             
  Mr.  Christensen  noted  that  supporters  of  the  original                 
  version of HJR 5 made several  arguments in support of their                 
  views.   He then said that  none of the arguments  "have any                 
  applicability, whatsoever, to  the judiciary."  While  it is                 
  argued  that  public  opinion polls  show  support  for term                 
  limits,  most  polling  data  relates   to  Congress.    Mr.                 
  Christensen  said  he had  seen  none that  relates  to term                 
  limits  for  judicial  officers.    No such  initiatives  or                 
  statutes have  been passed  elsewhere in the  nation in  the                 
  last few years.  Mr. Christensen further advised,                            
       Second, it's argued that term limits will bring in                      
       people with new  ideas.  Mr.  Chairman, I think  I                      
       don't have to tell you,  judges aren't supposed to                      
       have ideas, new or otherwise.  Judges are supposed                      
       to take your laws and apply them to individuals.                        
  The third  argument is  that term limits  level the  playing                 
  field for challengers.  There are no challengers in judicial                 
  retention elections.   The voting public has  an opportunity                 
  to approve or disapprove  the action of each judge.   Judges                 
  have been rejected by the voters in the past.  The retention                 
  election is the appropriate form of judicial term limit.                     
  Mr.  Christensen  stressed  that  the  practical  effect  of                 
  imposing a  fifteen-year term limit  on judges  would be  to                 
  deter  "anyone under  the age  of 45 from  applying to  be a                 
  judge."  Those under that age  would be forced to leave  the                 
  bench before  retirement age  and begin  a second  career at                 
  that time.  The  term limitation would also have  a negative                 
  impact  on  the retirement  system.   Most  judges presently                 
  serve  longer  than  fifteen  years  before retiring.    The                 
  actuarial basis  of the  judicial retirement system  assumes                 
  that  judges  will  continue to  make  contributions  to the                 
  system after  they have  fully vested.   If  all judges  are                 
  required  to  retire   at  fifteen  years,  there   will  be                 
  substantially more judges drawing retirement  pay at any one                 
  time,  and  the  state  will   be  forced  to  increase  its                 
  contributions to the retirement system.                                      
  As   evidence  of  further   negative  fiscal   impact,  Mr.                 
  Christensen noted  that court  system fiscal  notes for  new                 
  criminal law do not reflect the cost of a sitting judge  but                 
  use of  a recently retired  judge on a  pro-tem appointment.                 
  Because such judges  draw retirement  pay, the court  system                 
  pays only the difference between their retirement and what a                 
  sitting  judge receives.   Legislation  is  thus implemented                 
  based on a cost of approximately  fifty cents on the dollar.                 
   Under the proposed  bill, judges  would be prohibited  from                 
  serving for  three years after retirement.  The court system                 
  will thus have difficulty getting pro-tem judges.  That will                 
  substantially slow the  process, and  the court system  will                 
  probably have to pay more to obtain judicial services.                       
  In his closing remarks, Mr. Christensen stressed the supreme                 
  court's belief that the state judicial system will work best                 
  if members "come from the  widest possible demographic pool,                 
  and if the  voters are  allowed to decide  which judges  are                 
  doing a good job and deserve to be retained."                                
  Co-chairman Frank inquired concerning changes made in Senate                 
  Judiciary.   Mr.  Christensen explained  that the  Judiciary                 
  version adds municipal  officers to term limits.   The House                 
  resolution bill applies only to the legislature.                             
  REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT,  sponsor of the  resolution, next                 
  came before committee.  He explained that the House  version                 
  required  an  individual   to  "sit   out  for  two,   full,                 
  consecutive  terms."    Changes  in  Senate Judiciary  would                 
  require  a  former legislator  to  "sit out  for  four years                 
  unless you were appointed to fill somebody's seat,"  if they                 
  left office.                                                                 
  Senator  Randy Phillips  inquired  concerning the  rationale                 
  behind the  resolution.  Representative Therriault  spoke to                 
  the  "power  of   incumbency"  that  is  not   available  to                 
  challengers.   He voiced his  belief that, "after  a certain                 
  amount of time, you should break that incumbency."                           
  Senator  Phillips remarked  that  cumulative averages  since                 
  statehood indicate that  "every two years 35 percent  of the                 
  Senate is gone, and every two years 45 percent" of the House                 
  is gone.  He suggested that being an incumbent puts one in a                 
  negative  rather  than  positive position.    Representative                 
  Therriault  acknowledged  a healthy  turnover  in the  state                 
  legislature.  He explained  that the bill is aimed  at those                 
  in  office  for 25  to 30  years.   Senator  Phillips raised                 
  concern that the resolution  would deny voters the  right to                 
  vote for whomever  they wish.   He stressed that voters  can                 
  rid themselves of legislators  they do not want.   They have                 
  utilized that opportunity  numerous times.  The facts do not                 
  support  the theory  behind the resolution.   Representative                 
  Therriault   pointed  to   prohibitions  denying   both  the                 
  President  and  Alaska's  Governor  third  terms.    Senator                 
  Phillips  noted  that much  power  is concentrated  in those                 
  positions  while  it  is  shared among  60  members  of  the                 
  Co-chairman Halford told  members that the  National Council                 
  on State Legislatures  views Alaska's legislature as  one of                 
  the  weakest in the  country, in terms of  power held by the                 
  Governor.   He  added that while he generally  supports term                 
  limits, there  is need for institutional  legislative memory                 
  in  the  balance  of  power   between  the  legislative  and                 
  executive branches.  He further observed that things done in                 
  response to public interest have weakened the legislature in                 
  several areas.   Nothing  since statehood  has weakened  the                 
  Governor.  Questions are thus  raised concerning the balance                 
  of  power.  Representative  Therriault acknowledged need for                 
  an adequate learning curve for legislative proficiency.                      
  END:      SFC-96, #45, Side 2                                                
  BEGIN:    SFC-96, #46, Side 1                                                
  Senator Donley concurred in comments by Co-chairman Halford,                 
  advising of the following limitations on the legislature:                    
       1.   120-day session                                                    
       2.   stringent ethics law applied to the legislature                    
                 while  the  executive  branch operates  under                 
                 much less burdensome law                                      
       3.   requirement for  a three-quarter vote  on override                 
  of the Governor's veto on appropriation items.                               
  Alaska   is   the  only   state   where  the   Governor  has                 
  reapportionment  power.   Further,  few  states provide  the                 
  line-item veto power enjoyed by Alaska's Governor.  The need                 
  for centralized  power  has lessened  rather than  increased                 
  since statehood, yet the power of centralized government has                 
  increased over that period of  time.  Philosophically, "it's                 
  gone the opposite  of what  it should have  gone."   Senator                 
  Donley said he  could support  the resolution if  provisions                 
  are packaged with  other reforms  such as legislative  power                 
  over state-created public corporations.                                      
  Senator Rieger concurred  in need to  maintain a balance  of                 
  power.    He  expressed  additional  concern  over   placing                 
  multiple proposals before the voters that "make it look more                 
  and more like  a constitutional convention."   He questioned                 
  the kind of precedent that would set.                                        
  Co-chairman  Halford noted that  the upcoming election would                 
  provide a test  for voters  confronted with complex,  multi-                 
  page  initiatives dealing  with  topics that  are  generally                 
  supported.    He attested to the  time required to read full                 
  ballot provisions  and  suggested  that  voters  may  reject                 
  "things that they would otherwise  like, because they're too                 
  complex  and presented  with  too  many  facets."   The  Co-                 
  chairman specifically cited issues relating to both fish and                 
  game and campaign reform.                                                    
  Representative Therriault voiced his  belief that the Senate                 
  Judiciary  version  confuses   the  issue  and   asked  that                 
  committee deliberations revert to the House resolution.  Co-                 
  chairman Halford  concurred in regard to Judiciary inclusion                 
  of magistrates.  He said  that magistrates would be  removed                 
  from   the   resolution   since   they  were   inadvertently                 
  Comments followed by Co-chairmen Frank and Halford regarding                 
  the regulatory powers of the executive branch.                               
  In   response   to   a   question   from  Senator   Zharoff,                 
  Representative Therriault advised that the House  resolution                 
  speaks specifically  to House  and Senate  legislators.   It                 
  does not include municipal officials.                                        
  Further brief discussion  followed regarding voter rejection                 
  of judges.  Senator  Rieger voiced concern that  mandating a                 
  greater degree of  turnover in  the judiciary further  tilts                 
  the balance of  power toward the executive branch  since the                 
  Governor has the power to appoint judges.  Co-chairman Frank                 
  concurred  and   indicated  a   preference  for   the  House                 
  resolution.    He  remarked  that  judicial retention  is  a                 
  separate issue.   Senator Donley suggested that  requirement                 
  of a  super majority (60 to  65 percent) for retention  of a                 
  judge might be a better  approach.  Additional discussion of                 
  an  elected   judiciary  followed.     Co-chairman   Halford                 
  concurred that the balance of power question was  made worse                 
  by inclusion of the judiciary within the resolution.                         
  Senator  Zharoff   suggested   that  term   limits  on   the                 
  legislature should do away with the prohibition of having to                 
  wait   a  year   prior   to  pursuing   certain   employment                 
  Further  discussion  of  the balance  of  power  between the                 
  legislature and  executive branch  followed.   As a  counter                 
  argument  to  need  for  institutional  memory   within  the                 
  legislature,  Co-chairman  Frank  cited   the  institutional                 
  tendency toward  the status  quo that  occurs the  longer an                 
  individual serves.  He noted  that freshmen legislators "are                 
  willing to come in and change things more aggressively  than                 
  are those that have been here for twelve years plus . . . ."                 
  The  viewpoint of  those who  know they  will serve  limited                 
  terms may be valuable to the process.                                        
  Co-chairman  Halford voiced  his  belief that  the  greatest                 
  abuse  of   legislative  incumbency   in  other   states  is                 
  leadership  incumbency.    Alaska  has  a tradition  of  not                 
  repeating presiding officers.  Abuses occur when individuals                 
  retain the position  of senate president  or speaker of  the                 
  house for twenty years.                                                      
  Co-chairman  Halford  directed  that  the  bill be  held  in                 
  committee and noted consensus to "go  back to the House bill                 
  as a starting point and work from there."                                    
  The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:15 a.m.                        

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