Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/09/1996 01:50 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
MINUTES SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE April 9, 1996 1:50 p.m. TAPES SFC-96, #70, Side 1 and 2 SFC-96, #71, Side 1 (000-154) CALL TO ORDER Senator Rick Halford, Co-chairman, convened the meeting at approximately 1:50 p.m. PRESENT In addition to Co-chairmen Halford and Frank, Senators Phillips and Rieger were present. Senators Donley, Sharp, and Zharoff did not attend. ALSO ATTENDING: Senate President Drue Pearce; Senator Torgerson; Chris Christensen, Staff Counsel, Alaska Court System; Jeff Bush, Deputy Commissioner, Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development; Juanita Hensley, Chief, Driver Services, Dept. of Public Safety; Kevin Ritchie, Executive Director, Alaska Municipal League; Mark Hickey, representing the Alaska Railroad; Ted Popely, Senate Majority Staff; Kip Knudson, aide to Representative Hanley; Daniella Loper, aide to Representative Porter; and aides to committee members and other members of the legislature. SUMMARY INFORMATION SB 64 - CONVERT ALASKA RAILROAD TO PRIVATE CORPORATION Discussion was had with Senate President Pearce and Mark Hickey. A draft CSSB 64 ("R" version, 4/8/96) and two amendments were adopted. CSSB 64 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a SFC fiscal note for the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development showing $900.0 in Alaska Railroad receipts. HB 158 - CIVIL LIABILITY Review of amendments 7 through 16. Amendments 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 were adopted. Discussion of the Court System fiscal note was had with Chris Christensen. SCS CSHB 158 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with accompanying zero notes from the Dept. of Law, Dept. of Administration, and Alaska Court System, as well as a $0.8 note from the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development. HB 272 - MUNICIPAL MOTOR VEHICLE TAX Discussion was had with Juanita Hensley, Kevin Ritchie, and Kip Knudson. A conceptual amendment offered by Senator Rieger was adopted. SCS CSHB 272 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero fiscal note from the Dept. of Community and Regional Affairs and a $44.5 note from the Dept. of Public Safety. HB 335 - BIG GAME COMMERCIAL SERVICES BOARD Amendment No. 1 was adopted into SCS CSHB 335 (Fin) ("N" version, 3/27/96). SCS CSHB 335 (Fin) was then REPORTED OUT of committee with a ($49.6) fiscal note from the Dept. of Fish and Game, ($1.8) note from the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development, and zero note from the Dept. of Public Safety. SCR 29 - DISAPPROVE SETTLEMENT W/FERRY EMPLOYEES Testimony was presented by Ted Popely. A draft CSSCR 29 (Fin) (version "G," 4/9/96) was adopted and REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero SFC fiscal note for the Dept. of Law. SENATE BILL NO. 64 An Act relating to the dissolution of the Alaska Railroad Corporation and providing for a successor corporation; and providing for an effective date. Co-chairman Halford directed that SB 64 be brought on for discussion. Senator Rieger noted that a hearing on the bill, last year, revealed that CSSB 64 (TRA) provided for a change of ownership of the Alaska Railroad in the form of a stock corporation. The theory behind that was that if sale of the railroad could not be achieved as a complete one-time sale of all assets, perhaps the railroad could be sold by selling shares of stock, over time, without changing the underlying corporate structure. Since that time, at a joint Senate Finance and Senate Transportation meeting, an outside firm made a presentation indicating it was genuinely interested in purchasing all of the assets. That increased the level of confidence that a complete sale at one time could be achieved. The draft CSSB 64 (9-LS0579\R, Utermohle, 4/8/96) reflects a modified version of an amendment proposed in Senate Transportation. It calls for sale of the railroad and prescribes time tables within which that is to occur. Senator Rieger referenced scheduled identification of railroad assets (both those needed for operation and those which are not). Concern has been raised that "some of the real estate which belongs to the railroad should not be part of the sale." The first phase of identification, scheduled for August, focuses upon the real estate and will identify what is necessary for operation and what is surplus. The second date, in October, is the time by which the Governor will issue a request for proposals for purchase of the railroad. The third deadline, February 15, 1997, is the deadline for reaching agreement with the maker of the most responsive offer to the RFP. Senator Rieger next pointed to Page 2, line 10, of the draft and noted the requirement that the Governor submit the agreement to the Legislature to provide an opportunity for Legislative disapproval. It is unclear exactly when the Governor is required to make the submission. Senator Rieger suggested that the following additional language (underlined) be added to line 10 so that the sentence reads: Upon entering into an agreement to sell the Alaska Railroad, the governor shall immediately submit the agreement to the legislature for review during the regular session of the legislature. A second concern relates to preparation of a report of the fair market value of the railroad and when the document should be made public. A provision could be added to require that the report remain confidential until after proposals are received or an agreement is reached. The reason for the fair market report is to evaluate proposals. The third issue is whether the legislative branch would want or should have input into development of the request for proposals. Senator Rieger subsequently noted Legislative Budget and Audit Committee ability to review the classification of assets necessary for operation of the railroad. Senator Rieger MOVED for adoption of the draft CSSB 64 dated 4/8/96. No objection having been raised, the "R" version was ADOPTED as CSSB 64 (Fin). Senator Rieger voiced his belief that only the first of the three issues raised requires a clarifying amendment. He then MOVED for adoption of the above-cited language. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 1 was ADOPTED. Co-chairman Halford referenced accompanying fiscal notes indicating a cost of $800.0 to $1 million for preparation of the fair market analysis. Senator Rieger acknowledged that earlier discussion indicated the cost could be as high as $2 million. He suggested it would be prudent for the committee to accept a fiscal note from the department or railroad or, in the alternative, write a committee note to provide funding for the effort. SENATE PRESIDENT DRUE PEARCE noted that an update provided last week indicated $2 million would be high. MARK HICKEY, representing the Alaska Railroad, advised that the actual figure for the 1983 valuation, conducted by the United States Railway Association when the state purchased the railroad, was $863.0. That represented a full valuation including an appraisal of the real property as well as a "going concern" assessment with a ten-year window for operation. That is where the $22 million was derived. While some baseline data may be usable, the valuation is twelve or thirteen years old. It is unknown how much data would be useful to the new valuation. Co-chairman Halford asked if $900.0 in corporate receipts would be adequate. Mr. Hickey responded that it should be adequate for the appraisal. He also noted expenses associated with "running a process." Senator Rieger expressed concurrence in the $900.0, saying that conferees could later amend the number if better information is available. Co-chairman Halford directed that a Senate Finance Committee fiscal note be prepared showing $900.0 in non-general- fund railroad receipts. Senator Randy Phillips raised a question regarding how the transfer would affect railroad employees and their retirement and benefits. Co-chairman Halford suggested that language at Page 1, subsection (2) would cover the situation. Senator Phillips termed the retirement system under federal jurisdiction "unique" and sought clarification of the status under the proposed sale. Mr. Hickey explained that, in terms of retirement, the railroad has two classes of employees: 1. Those who have been with the railroad for a period of time and fall under the federal program. 2. New employees who joined the railroad following purchase by the state. For those in the federal system, it seems clear that the definition of what constitutes a "state-owned railroad" is broad enough to include a private entity operating the railroad. Those employees will continue to participate in the federal system as long as they remain with the railroad. They are covered by the previous transfer law. Newer employees are in a different retirement system maintained by the railroad. Mr. Hickey said he was less comfortable commenting on coverage, without additional information. He voiced his belief that current bargaining agreements deal with the retirement benefit as a component of the agreement. Senator Phillips advised that he would feel more comfortable adding language relating to retirement agreements. Co- chairman Halford suggested that "and retirement obligations" be added to language at Page 1 so that the first portion of subsection (2) reads: (2) accept assignment of all contracts, including collective bargaining agreements and retirement obligations and agreements with connecting carriers, shippers . . . . Senator Phillips formally MOVED for adoption. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 2 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger then MOVED that CSSB 64 (Fin) pass from committee with individual recommendations and the Senate Finance Committee fiscal note. No objection having been raised, CSSB 64 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a Senate Finance Committee fiscal note showing $900.0 in railroad corporate receipts. All members present (Co- chairmen Halford and Frank and Senators Phillips and Rieger) signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 158(FIN) am(ct rls pfld)(efd fld) An Act relating to civil actions; amending Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 95. Co-chairman Halford directed that SCS CSHB 158 (Jud) be brought back before committee for continued review of amendments. Senator Rieger referenced Amendment No. 7, relating to apportionment of fault, and reiterated comments at a previous meeting which, he explained, led him to decide not to offer the amendment. Senator Rieger directed attention to Amendment No. 8 and explained that the issue of award of attorney fees is often raised in the offer of judgment process. He noted that if the ultimate award is less than the offer of judgment, award of attorney fees is against the plaintiff. If the award is greater than the offer, award is against the defendant. Complications occur surrounding application of interest when there is a substantial time span between the offer and final judgment. Amendment No. 8 would require comparison of the offer to the judgment "at a like time." The court would thus disregard accrual of prejudgment interest after the time the offer is made. Senator Rieger MOVED for adoption of the amendment. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 8 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger explained that Amendment No. 9 relates to situations in which there are two or more defendants, and one defendant offers to settle but the other or others do not. As written, the bill excludes ability for one defendant to settle, even if his or her offer is reasonable. The amendment would delete that provision. DANIELLA LOPER, aide to Representative Porter, came before committee. She said the sponsor did not concur in addition of problematic language by Senate Judiciary. She concurred in removal per Amendment No. 9. Senator Rieger MOVED for adoption. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 9 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger explained that language at Page 7, line 10, allows parties to enter into a written agreement to submit to arbitration. Present wording speaks to agreement "before the action." He said he saw no reason why agreement could not be entered "after" commencing the action. Amendment No. 10 adds that option. Senator Rieger MOVED for adoption. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 10 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger noted that Amendment No. 11 also relates to arbitration. Under the proposed bill a list of attorneys with at least five years of civil practice experience would be eligible to serve as arbitrators. It is not clear whether attorneys with that experience might, for other reasons, not be qualified. Language in the proposed amendment would allow the court to flesh out the qualifications for those who agree to serve as arbitrators. Co-chairman Halford called for objections. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 11 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger questioned the sentence at Page 8, line 7. It refers to documents that would be "presumptively admissible." Amendment No. 12 says that the foregoing language may not be construed to require that the arbitrator use or rely on documents when there is reason to doubt the authenticity or accuracy of the documents. Co-chairman Halford called for objections. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 12 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger said that while Amendment No. 13 appears lengthy, it is not. He directed attention to Page 18, lines 26 and 27, and noted language specifying that a claim subject to arbitration is not subject to offer of judgment provisions. He suggested that while it should not be subject to the portion of those provisions within AS 09.30.065(b), other portions of the provisions could apply. Amendment No. 13 thus divides 09.30.065 into part (a) and part (b). Daniella Loper directed attention to the last sentence of subsection (b) and suggested that language relating to two or more defendants be deleted. Senator Rieger concurred, saying the language was incorporated within an earlier adopted amendment. Co-chairman Halford advised that deletion would be considered a technical amendment to Amendment No. 13 and would be adopted without objection. Senator Rieger MOVED for adoption of Amendment No. 13, as amended. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 13 was ADOPTED as amended. Senator Rieger next directed attention to Amendment No. 14. He pointed to Page 9, line 22, as well as several instances on Page 10 and noted reference to "non-employees." Language within the bill speaks to "staff" and does not read well. Amendment No. 14 deletes language that makes a contractor a member of the hospital staff. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 14 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger directed attention to Amendment No. 15. He further referenced language at Page 12, lines 12 through 18, requiring that rates decrease by 10 percent by December 31, 1999. The amendment would delete that provision. Co- chairman Halford called for objections. Co-chairman Frank OBJECTED and asked if the rationale was a reluctance to dictate pricing in a piece of legislation. Senator Rieger acknowledged that to be the case, saying the provision was contrary to free market principles. Co-chairman Frank removed his objection. In the absence of further objection, Amendment No. 15 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger directed attention to Page 7, line 8, and referenced testimony from court system counsel that language relating to mandatory arbitration might eliminate ability to "go to small claims court." The Senator suggested that the following language be added at Page 7, line 8 (after $100,000 and before the semicolon): or is eligible for small claims court CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, General Counsel, Alaska Court System, came before committee voicing his belief that the proposed language "would work." As an alternative, a new subsection (H) could be added at Page 7, line 19, to say: "is a small claim under AS 22.15.040." Senator Rieger MOVED for adoption of the language he proposed, above, as Amendment No. 16. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 16 was ADOPTED. Co-chairman Frank referenced a $867.0 fiscal note associated with arbitration provisions within the bill and asked if there would be an offsetting reduction in litigation. Mr. Christensen said that the bulk of the fiscal note reflects the cost of providing arbitration services for litigants who are legally indigent. At the present time, 95 percent of all tort cases settle without going to trial. These cases are not costly to the system. Mr. Christensen further commented on effective use of arbitration in contract and family law cases. The court system does not believe it is effective in a typical tort case. Parties can presently engage in arbitration if they wish to. Virtually none of them do. END: SFC-96, #70, Side 1 BEGIN: SFC-96, #70, Side 2 In response to a question from Co-chairman Halford asking if the state is required to provide counsel to indigent individuals in both criminal and civil cases, Mr. Christensen explained that if the law says an individual cannot exercise his or her right to bring a case before a judge and a jury until "they go to arbitration," the state would have the duty to pay for arbitration if a person could not afford it. Co-chairman Halford questioned whether mandatory arbitration was worth the $867.0. Co-chairman Frank noted that Senator Taylor included the provision when the bill was before Senate Judiciary. Senator Rieger voiced his understanding that when the court system is budgetarily squeezed, the civil liability system suffers. Part of the fiscal note probably represents "allowing people to get their cases heard that, right now, are languishing without ever getting to court," because of time delays in getting them on the docket. Discussion of alternatives to mandatory arbitration followed among the Co-chairmen and Mr. Christensen. Additional comments followed by Mr. Christensen concerning how fiscal note numbers were developed and the share of arbitration costs to be paid by the state on behalf of indigent individuals. Senator Rieger noted that fiscal note funding would make the court system more accessible. He suggested that is a different issue than paying for free counsel. Co-chairman Halford directed attention to mandatory arbitration language at page 7, line 5, and suggested that addition of "if requested by one of the parties" following the word "arbitration" would lessen impact. Mr. Christensen advised that he could not say what percentage of plaintiffs or defendants would request arbitration. If the judge were given the discretion to decide whether or not arbitration would be valuable, the impact on the state would be relatively minimal compared to the proposed bill. Judges would likely not order it in cases where the parties could not afford the process. Mr. Christensen told members that arbitrators in Anchorage have indicated that the form of arbitration contained within the bill is "about as expensive as arbitration can get." A retired judge or attorney is needed to draft discovery orders and findings of fact and statements of law at the end of the process. Co-chairman Halford voiced a preference for removing mandatory arbitration from the bill. Co-chairman Frank concurred. Senator Rieger expressed a preference for retaining the provision but preventing the most expensive form. Senator Rieger MOVED for passage of SCS CSHB 158 (Fin) with individual recommendation and accompanying fiscal notes. No objection having been raised, SCS CSHB 158 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a $0.8 fiscal note from the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development; and zero notes from the Dept. of Law, Dept. of Administration, and the Court System. (The Court System note indicated a $862.0 cost commencing in 2001.) All members present signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 335(RES)(title am) An Act extending the termination date of the Big Game Commercial Services Board; eliminating the requirement for a commercial use permit and for payment of commercial use permit fees; amending the membership of the Big Game Commercial Services Board; relating to the qualifications for an assistant guide-outfitter license; eliminating the requirement for testing of assistant guide-outfitters; providing for additional licensing requirements for transporters; eliminating the requirement for prior approval to enter or remain on state and federal land; eliminating the requirement to register base camps; amending the definition of 'big game commercial services'; and providing for an effective date. Co-chairman Halford directed that CSHB 335 (Res)(title am) be brought on for discussion and referenced correspondence from the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development, Amendment No. 1, and a draft SCS CSHB 335 (Fin) (9-LS1156\N, Utermohle, 3/27/96). Senator Rieger MOVED for adoption of Amendment No. 1 to the "N" version of SCS CSHB 335 (Fin) dated 3/27/96. Co- chairman Halford provided a review of provisions contained within the amendment: Page 6, line 16: Eighteen years of age is changed to 21 for the class-A assistant guide license. This individual would actually be in charge of a camp. The license is the level below a completely independent registered guide. The age remains at 18 for assistant guide entry into the profession. Page 6, line 21: A technical change relating to assistant guiding deletes "for at least three seasons" and substitutes "during at least three calendar years." There was need for clarity concerning whether the three seasons could occur in a calendar year. Language thus reverted to original statutory language. Page 10, lines 10, 19, 22, and 23-25: The first change at line 10 relates to financial responsibility. It is unclear whether a licensed guide working for another guide would have to carry insurance himself. The amendment clarifies that the person who is required to carry insurance and proof of financial responsibility is the guide who has contracted the hunt. The change at line 19 relates to need for timely action on the part of the department when violations occur. Changes at lines 22 through 25 break up areas in which administrative sanctions apply. Language limits administrative action to minor infractions while court action applies to significant infractions. Page 11, line 12: A provision is inserted saying that if the court takes action on a license, the department cannot take action on the same license for the same infraction. Page 14, line 27: A technical change in citation is made. Page 16, after line 30: New language allows the department to charge nonresidents two times the amount of the resident license fee. Co-chairman Halford noted that licensing of guides is funded from program receipts. The additional cost assessed against nonresident guides reflects costs nonresidents are not paying for the management of lands and resources as well as other management costs associated with the process. The two-to-one ratio does not nearly cover management expenditures by Alaska residents in which nonresidents do not participate. That is the reason for the difference in licensing fees. Brief discussion followed between Co-chairman Halford and Senator Randy Phillips regarding the age change from 18 to 21. Co-chairman Halford called for objections to the amendment. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 1 was ADOPTED. Co-chairman Frank MOVED for passage of SCS CSHB 335 (Fin) with accompanying fiscal notes. No objection having been raised, SCS CSHB 335 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a ($49.6) fiscal note from the Dept. of Fish and Game, a ($24.8) note from the Dept. of Public Safety, and a ($1.8) note from the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development. Co-chairmen Halford and Frank signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. Senators Rieger and Phillips signed "no recommendation." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 272(FIN) An Act relating to municipal taxation of motor vehicles; and providing for an effective date. Co-chairman Halford directed that CSHB 272 (Fin) be brought on for discussion. KIP KNUDSON, aide to Representative Hanley, came before committee. He reference a proposed amendment and noted that interested parties would speak to two issues therein: 1. Ability to dedicate funds 2. The bureaucratic challenge of dedicating the funds The bill is intended to provide flexibility to municipalities with regard to taxing ability. At the present time, only the legislature can establish taxation rates on motor vehicles. The bill would allow municipalities to raise rates internally. It is a top priority of the municipal league. Municipalities that contacted Representative Hanley's office are intending to use the measure as a "net zero" issue; if motor vehicle taxes are raised, the municipality will lower another tax. Mr. Knudson acknowledged the cooperation of the Dept. of Public Safety in developing the bill. KEVIN RITCHIE next came before committee on behalf of the Alaska Municipal League and Alaska Conference of Mayors. He directed attention to a letter of support from the league and stressed that the propose bill is an important tool for municipalities for the future. Municipalities do not plan large increases in the tax rate. In the case of the Municipality of Anchorage, "This is within their tax cap." JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles, Dept. of Public Safety, came before committee to respond to questions. Senator Rieger MOVED for adoption of Amendment No. 1 and requested unanimous consent. Both Senator Phillips and Co- chairman Halford noted questions and asked that the sponsor speak to the amendment. Senator Rieger remarked that roads in his area are paid for by a property tax assessment applied to road servicing. He then referenced correspondence from the Mayor of Anchorage saying that passage of the proposed bill would "help communities solve a nagging problem--which is road maintenance costs." Senator Rieger voiced his understanding that the bill would allow municipalities to raise taxes on residents residing in road service areas, but there is no mechanism for ensuring that the money being raised would go to road service areas in which taxpayers reside. Instead, it represents one more example of a tax imposed on outlying parts of a municipality to support the core. The legislature must ensure equitable distribution of revenues raised for a particular purpose. The proposed amendment would help ensure that the purpose is fulfilled. Co-chairman Halford advised of those who would prefer that moneys be allocated back against property taxes "that pay all the bills for everyone else." Senator Rieger acknowledged the validity of that preference. The Co- chairman voiced his understanding that every dollar increase, as a result of the proposed bill, would have "to come off of property taxes" in the Municipality of Anchorage. Mr. Knudson concurred in that understanding. Discussion followed concerning allocation of taxes, using the Municipality of Anchorage as an example. Senator Rieger reiterated that the bill could result in taxation of outlying areas for the purpose of tax relief for the core. Mr. Knudson acknowledged that while that could happen, it is up to each municipality to "fix that inequity." Senator Rieger noted that Amendment No. 1 provides a degree of comfort. He voiced a lack of confidence in application of the bill by the Anchorage municipality. He referenced a clear division on the assembly between Eagle River and South Anchorage and the "rest of the town." He suggested that a Chugach, Eagle River, or South Anchorage legislator could not in good conscience allow the proposed bill to go forward. Mrs. Hensley described the present system of department collection of motor vehicle taxes on behalf of municipalities. She stressed that the department does not track road service areas in which vehicle are registered. That would be a new function not previously performed by the department, and additional computer programming would be required. Senator Rieger voiced his understanding that the department's responsibility is simply to remit moneys to the municipality rather than to allocate it service area by service area. Passage of the proposed bill should not impact the department. Mr. Knudson advised of indication that the municipality would be saddled with the computer work associated with allocation. Municipalities have advised that it would be difficult and "quite a challenge." Co-chairman Halford suggested that Amendment No. 1 be reworded to say that "money received shall be allocated to area-wide services or tax relief." Moneys would thus flow to the base and reduce property taxes rather than apply to the downtown service area or other service areas. That approach might protect against negative application. Senator Rieger concurred in the approach but voiced need to use appropriate terminology for area-wide, so that outer perimeters of municipalities would be included. He then MOVED for adoption of a conceptual amendment providing that: money received by an increase under this section shall be used to reduce the tax mill rate equally across the entire borough Mr. Knudson expressed concern that the foregoing language might not provide the flexibility sought by municipalities. Co-chairman Halford called for objections to the conceptual amendment. No objection having been raised, the conceptual amendment was ADOPTED in lieu of Amendment No. 1. END: SFC-96, #70, Side 2 BEGIN: SFC-96, #71, Side 1 Discussion of biennial licensing followed between members and Juanita Hensley. Both Co-chairman Halford and Senator Phillips expressed concern that doubling the annual cost in addition to increased motor vehicle taxes that might be levied by a municipality would result in a "hefty" registration fee. Co-chairman Frank stressed the convenience associated with biennial licensing. Mrs. Hensley voiced department support for both HB 272 and Co- chairman Frank's biennial licensing bill. Co-chairman Frank MOVED for passage of SCS CSHB 272 (Fin) with individual recommendations. No objection having been raised, SCS CSHB 272 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a $44.5 fiscal note from the Dept. of Public Safety and a zero note from the Dept. of Community and Regional Affairs. Co-chairman Frank signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. Co-chairman Halford and Senators Phillips and Rieger signed "no recommendation." SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 29 Objecting to the Department of Administration's settlement with certain employees of the Alaska marine highway system. Co-chairman Halford directed that SCR 29 be brought on for discussion and referenced a draft committee substitute (9- LS1829\G, Cramer, 4/9/96). TED POPELY, Senate Majority Aide, came before committee. He explained that the resolution registers general objection to the settlement agreement entered between employee members of the Alaska Marine Highway System and the Dept. of Administration. It calls for the attorney general to appoint a special investigator to investigate the actions of the Dept. of Administration with respect to the settlement, especially with regard to potential ethical violations under AS 39.52.120. The resolution objects to the settlement on the grounds that it was entered into inappropriately by the Dept. of Administration because AS 23.40.215(a) and (b) require legislative approval of collective bargaining agreements. Co-chairman Halford termed the resolution "self- explanatory." Senator Randy Phillips MOVED for adoption of CSSCR 29 (Finance). No objection having been raised, CSSCR 29 (Finance) was ADOPTED. Senator Phillips then MOVED that CSSCR 29 (Finance) pass from committee with individual recommendations. No objection having been raised, CSSCR 27 (Finance) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero Senate Finance fiscal note for the Dept. of Law. Co-chairmen Halford and Frank and Senators Phillips and Rieger signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at approximately 3:35 p.m.