Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/28/1996 12:35 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                             MINUTES                                           
                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                          28 April 1996                                        
                           12:35 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  TAPES                                                                        
                                                                               
  SFC-96, #98, Sides 1 and 2                                                   
  SFC-96, #99, Side 1                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Senator Rick Halford, Co-chairman,  convened the meeting  at                 
  approximately 12:35 P.M.                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  In  addition  to  co-chairman  Halford,  co-chairman  Frank,                 
  Senators Phillips,  Sharp, Rieger  and Zharoff were  present                 
  when the  meeting was convened.   Senator Donley  arrived at                 
  approximately 1:00 P.M.                                                      
                                                                               
  Also Attending:  Representative  Scott  Ogan;  Hans  Neidig,                 
  staff aide to  Rep. Ogan; Tom Boutin, Director,  Division of                 
  Forestry, Department of Natural Resources;  Nico Bus, Acting                 
  Director,  Division  of  Support  Services,  Department   of                 
  Natural  Resources;  Representative  Terry Martin;  Daniella                 
  Loper, staff aide to Rep.  Porter; Arthur Snowden, Director,                 
  Alaska Court  System; Tom Wright,  staff aide to  Rep. Ivan;                 
  Loren Jones, Director, Division of  Alcoholism & Drug Abuse,                 
  Department  of Health  & Social Services;  Donald Dapcevich,                 
  Executive Director, Governor's Advisory Board on  Alcoholism                 
  &  Drug  Abuse,  Department  of  Health &  Social  Services;                 
  Barbara Craver,  City &  Borough of  Juneau Attorney;  Carol                 
  Carroll, Special  Assistant to the  Commissioner, Department                 
  of Natural  Resources; Bob Bartholomew,  Director, Income  &                 
  Excise  Audit   Division,  Department   of  Revenue;   Jetta                 
  Whittaker, Fiscal Analyst, Division of Legislative  Finance;                 
  and aides to committee members.                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 341(JUD)                                               
  "An Act relating to administrative adjudication and judicial                 
  appeals and to  the informal  resolution of certain  factual                 
  disputes  between taxpayers and  the Department  of Revenue;                 
  establishing the office  of tax appeals as  a quasi-judicial                 
  agency  in the  Department  of Administration;  revising the                 
  procedures  for  hearing   certain  tax  appeals,  including                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  appeals regarding seafood marketing assessments; relating to                 
  consideration and  determination  by the  superior court  of                 
  disputes  involving certain  taxes  and  penalties due,  and                 
  amending provisions  relating to the  assessment, levy,  and                 
  collection of taxes  and penalties by  the state and to  the                 
  tax liability  of taxpayers;  providing for  the release  of                 
  agency  records  relating   to  formal  administrative   tax                 
  appeals;  relating   to  litigation  disclosure   of  public                 
  records; clarifying administrative subpoena power in certain                 
  tax matters; and providing for an effective date."                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Frank withdrew  his motion to change  effective date                 
  on  page 22, line  7.  Senator  Sharp moved amendment  E and                 
  without objection it  was adopted.  Senator  Frank moved SCS                 
  CSHB 341(FIN) and without objection it was reported out with                 
  individual recommendations and  accompanying fiscal notes of                 
  indeterminate  from the  Alaska  Court System;  $13.9 Alaska                 
  Judicial Council.   New fiscal note  from the Department  of                 
  Revenue is pending.                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL NO. 352                                                           
  "An  Act  giving notice  of  and approving  a lease-purchase                 
  agreement  with  the City  of Palmer  for a  fire management                 
  facility at the Palmer Airport."                                             
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Ogan  testified on behalf  of the bill.   Tom                 
  Boutin  said the department  supported the  bill.   Nico Bus                 
  also testified  regarding the  department's fiscal  note and                 
  that  there  would be  no change.    Senator Sharp  moved to                 
  delete  $1.3  million and  insert  $900,000  on page  1  and                 
  without objection  it was  adopted.   Senator Zharoff  moved                 
  "immediate  effective  date" and  without  objection  it was                 
  adopted.  Senator  Donley moved SCS HB 352(FIN)  and without                 
  objection   it    was   reported    out   with    individual                 
  recommendations  and zero  fiscal notes  from Department  of                 
  Natural Resources and Department of Transportation &  Public                 
  Facilities.                                                                  
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 370(JUD)                                 
  "An  Act relating  to  the provision  of  legal services  at                 
  public expense."                                                             
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Terry  Martin testified  on  behalf of  this                 
  bill.  Daniella  Loper explained the difference  between the                 
  two (JUD)  versions.   Arthur Snowden  testified  that is  a                 
  federal constitutional right  to legal  counsel.  The  Court                 
  System has no problem  with this bill.  Senator  Frank moved                 
  SCS CSHB 370(JUD) and  it was re ported out  with individual                 
  recommendations  and   zero  fiscal  notes   for  Admin/OPA;                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Admin/PDA and the Alaska Court System.                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO.  493(JUD) am                                           
  "An Act relating to treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse."                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Tom Wright, staff aide  to Rep. Ivan testified on  behalf of                 
  the bill.   Loren  Jones, Don Dapcevich  and Barbara  Craver                 
  also testified in support of the bill and answered questions                 
  by the committee  members.  Senator Zharoff  moved amendment                 
  Rieger   also   expressed   concern   over   limitation   on                 
  liabilities.  Senator Rieger will work on an amendment.  Co-                 
  chairman Halford held the bill pending in committee.                         
                                                                               
                                                                               
       CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 341(JUD)                                          
       "An  Act relating  to  administrative adjudication  and                 
  judicial  appeals and  to the informal resolution of certain                 
  factual   disputes between  taxpayers and the  Department of                 
  Revenue;  establishing  the  office  of  tax  appeals  as  a                 
  quasi-judicial      agency    in    the     Department    of                 
  Administration; revising the  procedures for hearing certain                 
  tax appeals, including appeals     regarding         seafood                 
  marketing assessments; relating to      consideration    and                 
  determination by the superior court of       d i s p u t e s                 
  involving certain taxes and penalties due, and    amending                   
  provisions relating to the assessment, levy, and  collection                 
  of taxes and penalties by the state and to the tax                           
  liability of taxpayers; providing for  the release of agency                 
       records relating to formal  administrative tax appeals;                 
       relating to  litigation disclosure  of public  records;                 
       clarifying administrative subpoena power in certain tax                 
       matters; and providing for an effective date."                          
                                                                               
  Senator Frank withdrew  his motion  to change the  effective                 
  date on page  22, line  7.   There was no  objection to  the                 
  withdrawal.   Senator Sharp  moved amendment  E which  would                 
  include  the  provisions  on  making  the  judicial  council                 
  process start immediately and the law take effect on July 1,                 
  1996  and   it  would  change   the  initial  term   of  the                 
  administrative  law judges from two to three years.  Without                 
  objection the amendment was adopted.                                         
                                                                               
  Co-chairman  Halford  referred  to the  10%  version  of the                 
  fiscal note from the Department of Revenue.   The Department                 
  advised they would submit a zero fiscal note that would show                 
  necessary funding changes.                                                   
                                                                               
  Senator Frank moved SCS CSHB  341(FIN) and without objection                 
  it  was reported  out  with  individual recommendations  and                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  accompanying fiscal notes of  indeterminate amount from  the                 
  Alaska Court System; $13.9 from the Alaska Judicial Council.                 
  A  new  fiscal  note  from  the  Department of  Revenue  was                 
  pending.                                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
       HOUSE BILL NO. 352                                                      
       "An Act giving notice of and approving a lease-purchase                 
       agreement with the City of Palmer for a fire management                 
       facility at the Palmer Airport."                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Scott Ogan was invited  to join the committee                 
  and testified on behalf of the bill.  This would consolidate                 
  the  Division  of  Forestry  from  four locations  into  one                 
  location.   They  are now  spread  out in  Anchorage,  Eagle                 
  River, Big Lake  and Palmer.   This proposal would save  the                 
  State money as indicated by the  positive fiscal note.  This                 
  would   be   a  lease/purchase   agreement  and   wild  land                 
  firefighting  forces  would be  more  effective.   The State                 
  would own the  facility at the  end of the lease  agreement.                 
  Palmer was chose because  it has a six thousand  foot runway                 
  at  the  airport  which is  uncongested  to  allow operation                 
  unimpeded.   It is centrally located  in the fire protection                 
  area and  can  provide  community  services  and  commercial                 
  support available.   This will allow firefighters to be more                 
  effective.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Tom  Boutin, Division  of Forestry was  invited to  join the                 
  committee.  He said the department  supported the bill.  The                 
  present facility in Eagle River  is a portable warehouse and                 
  the Division of Parks and the  Division of Geological Survey                 
  would  like  to  own the  building.    It  is possible  both                 
  divisions will  be able  to make use  of the  building.   He                 
  referred to consolidation of the four locations into Palmer.                 
  Representative  Ogan  said  the most  of  the  equipment for                 
  firefighting are stored at the Eagle River warehouse and has                 
  to be trucked to  the Palmer airport to be flown  out to the                 
  site of the fire.  The cost savings will reflect the ability                 
  to respond  to fires  more efficiently.     Mr. Boutin  also                 
  commented on the  cost of fighting  fires.  Senator  Zharoff                 
  asked how  long it would be  before the State would  own the                 
  facility and Mr.  Boutin said it  would be  up to the  state                 
  bond  committee.   In response  to a  question  from Senator                 
  Phillips,  Mr.  Boutin  said  the bulk  of  labor  for  fire                 
  suppression was the 73 sixteen person emergency firefighting                 
  crews autonomous to  each village around  the State.   There                 
  are no prisoners involved.  Each person was certified yearly                 
  to be able  to run 1-1/2 miles  with a 40  pound pack.   Co-                 
  chairman Halford asked  about the annual obligation  of $1.3                 
  million if  that was less  than the current  expenditure for                 
  the same functions.  The current fiscal note shows a savings                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  but the savings does not occur until  three years away.  Mr.                 
  Boutin said the debt service was $560,000/year.  He referred                 
  to page 7 and explained the net value savings.                               
                                                                               
  Nico  Bus  was  invited  to  join  the  committee  and  also                 
  testified on behalf of the bill.  He said there would  be no                 
  change in the department's fiscal note.                                      
                                                                               
  Mr. Boutin said when  the bill was introduced last  year the                 
  state bond committee members  were recommending a seven-year                 
  debt service.  That  would have required a much  larger debt                 
  service payment than a twenty-year debt service to maturity.                 
  Since then the  financial advisor  said the rating  agencies                 
  would expect leases of this size  to be ongoing whatever the                 
  long-range capital projects of the state  might be.  A short                 
  debt  service  would not  seem critical  at  this time.   In                 
  response to  a comment by  co-chairman Halford he  said they                 
  would  not  object to  a reduction  in  the $1.3  million to                 
  $900,000.  Senator  Sharp moved to  delete $1.3 million  and                 
  insert  $900,000 on  page  1 and  without  objection it  was                 
  adopted.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Senator Zharoff noted that the bill needed an effective date                 
  and co-chairman  Halford concurred.   Senator  Zharoff moved                 
  "immediate  effective date"  and  without objection  it  was                 
  adopted.   Senator Donley moved SCS  HB 352(FIN) and without                 
  objection    it   was    reported   out    with   individual                 
  recommendations  and  zero fiscal  notes from  Department of                 
  Natural Resources  and Department of Transportation & Public                 
  Facilities.                                                                  
                                                                               
                                                                               
       SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 370(JUD)                            
       "An  Act relating to the provision of legal services at                 
  public    expense."                                                          
                                                                               
  Representative  Terry   Martin  was  invited   to  join  the                 
  committee  and testified on  behalf of the bill.    The bill                 
  was  initiated  last  fall  that  indicated a  problem  with                 
  individuals  who  were financially  able  to  secure private                 
  counsel making use of counsel at public expense.  There were                 
  some ambiguities as to when and  at what time public counsel                 
  could defend an individual.   This legislation was suggested                 
  to clear up this confusion.  A person would be classified as                 
  indigent through the  Court System  rather than through  the                 
  Public Defender  Agency and  it will  be done  at the  first                 
  Court appearance.  He  referred to the zero fiscal  note and                 
  said outside  the public  defender's office everyone  seemed                 
  happy with the bill.                                                         
                                                                               
  Daniella  Loper was  invited  to join  the  committee.   She                 
  explained  the difference  between the  two (JUD)  versions.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  This regarded the  definition of "indigency" and said it was                 
  removed so it would not cost the Court System a fiscal note.                 
  Co-chairman Halford  said the  Court System  was working  on                 
  this bill also.  Senator Rieger referred to page 2, line 4.                  
                                                                               
  Arthur Snowden, Alaska Court System  was invited to join the                 
  committee.  He said in the House (JUD) version the indigency                 
  determination would have  to be  made on the  record at  the                 
  time of  arraignment.   The problem  arose due  to the  fact                 
  there are approximately 22,000 arraignments in Anchorage and                 
  9,000 arraignments in Fairbanks, and four or five new judges                 
  would have  been needed  to take  care of  arraignments.   A                 
  committee  has  been  created  to  come  up  with  a tighter                 
  indigency definition.  Senator Frank  asked if the committee                 
  was also looking  at an individual  risking jail time had  a                 
  right to  court appointed  attorney if  they were  indigent.                 
  Mr.  Snowden  said  yes because  this  was  a constitutional                 
  right.  Under  a federal ruling  the U.S. Supreme Court  has                 
  ruled than any indigent  defendant facing imprisonment, loss                 
  of  a valuable  license  or heavy  enough  fine to  indicate                 
  criminality has a right to counsel.   Senator Frank asked if                 
  a defendant facing three days in jail was also covered under                 
  this ruling and Mr. Snowden said it did not matter what case                 
  the U.S.  Supreme Court  had looked  at because  this was  a                 
  blanket ruling.                                                              
                                                                               
  Ms. Loper referred to the definition  of a serious crime and                 
  said this falls  under representation by a  public defender.                 
  There  was  further  discussion  between  members  regarding                 
  retention of a public defender.                                              
                                                                               
  (tape switch to side 2)                                                      
                                                                               
  Mr. Snowden said this bill would stop pre-appointment of the                 
  public defender as now an individual  would have to wait for                 
  Court appointment.   The  Court System has  no problem  with                 
  this bill.                                                                   
  Senator Frank  moved SCS CSHB  370(JUD) and it  was reported                 
  out with  individual recommendations and  zero fiscal  notes                 
  for   Department   of   Administration/OPA;  Department   of                 
  Administration/PDA and the Alaska Court System.                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
       CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO.  493(JUD) am                                      
       "An Act relating  to treatment  for alcoholism or  drug                 
  abuse."                                                                      
                                                                               
  Tom Wright, staff aide to Representative Ivan was invited to                 
  join the committee.   He said  under current statutes  there                 
  were  provisions   allowing  for  voluntary   commitment  of                 
  alcoholics  which  allow  for  30-day  commitment  with  re-                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  commitment up to 90  days.  The current law was  found to be                 
  unwieldy,  expensive and treatment  options were not readily                 
  available according to a City and Borough  of Juneau survey.                 
  It also said the current commitment program was not working.                 
  He  said  this  bill  would  correlate  to  the  involuntary                 
  commitment for  mental health.   The bill also  would change                 
  the definition of  intoxication to include drugs  as defined                 
  under the controlled substance  statutes.  Senator  Phillips                 
  asked how this  would affect other communities.   Mr. Wright                 
  said the study  was done in Juneau because other communities                 
  were not using this process.  This bill is modeled after the                 
  mental  health commitments and  it would  be easier  now for                 
  other communities to use the laws.                                           
                                                                               
  Loren Jones, Division of Alcohol  and Drug Abuse was invited                 
  to join  the committee.   He  referred to  the statutes  for                 
  private commitment done by  doctors, physicians or relatives                 
  and involves  no representation from  the Attorney General's                 
  office.  The City of Juneau does have a municipal attorney's                 
  office and they have accepted the policy of representing the                 
  city program for that purpose.  This bill would help educate                 
  and make it  easier for  the local communities  to use  this                 
  program at  less expense  and it  would  be more  clinically                 
  appropriate.  There was support from the treatment providers                 
  but no comments from the different  municipalities.  Most of                 
  them would not be involved because those who  offer services                 
  are private, non-profit  organizations.  Co-chairman Halford                 
  said  he has had constituent  concern over the way treatment                 
  is provided  for alcohol  but not  provided for  drug abuse.                 
  Mr.  Jones  said  this  would  not  be a  mandate  on  local                 
  municipalities but would  rather rest  with the relative  or                 
  program attempting the involuntary commitment.   Co-chairman                 
  Halford said  this was  not a  local government  issue other                 
  than the fact that  Juneau has gotten interested  and gotten                 
  involved.   Senator  Rieger  referred to  page  4, line  7-9                 
  regarding commitment for  emergency care  and asked if  this                 
  was covered elsewhere in  the statutes and not part  of this                 
  bill.    Mr.  Jones  said the  emergency  care  was  covered                 
  elsewhere and was for 48 hours.  It would not be affected by                 
  this bill.  By the end of  the 48 hours the individual would                 
  have to be in Court.                                                         
                                                                               
  Don Dapcevich, State  Advisory Board on Alcoholism  and Drug                 
  Abuse was invited to join the  committee.  He said this bill                 
  was top  priority for  the citizen's advisory  board.   This                 
  bill  reflected   the  necessary  strategy   to  deal   with                 
  inebriation.  Treatment providers  around the state strongly                 
  supported the bill.  The cities of Ketchikan, Dillingham and                 
  Bethel  have  expressed  interest  learning more  about  the                 
  mechanics of doing commitments  and training individuals  to                 
  provide earlier help.   This would  be a viable strategy  to                 
  use  in the State, a way  to save lives and   would help get                 
  people into treatment.                                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
  (tape change to SFC-96, #99, side 1)                                         
                                                                               
  Senator  Phillips asked why  the City and  Borough of Juneau                 
  was involved  and other communities are not.   Mr. Dapcevich                 
  said the  other municipalities  do not  run their  treatment                 
  programs  and  therefore  do  not   become  involved.    The                 
  municipality here  operated the  hospital, treatment  center                 
  and emergency  services patrol and  they felt the  impact of                 
  public inebriation more strongly.                                            
                                                                               
  Co-chairman  Halford  referred to  amendment  #1 and  it was                 
  moved by Senator Zharoff.                                                    
                                                                               
  Barbara  Craver,  assistant City  and  Borough  attorney was                 
  invited  to  join the  committee.    She said  she  has been                 
  involved   in  the  filing   of  petitions  for  involuntary                 
  commitments  on  behalf of  the  administrator of  the local                 
  treatment center,  Juneau Recovery Hospital.   She addressed                 
  amendment #1 as moved by Senator  Zharoff.  It would address                 
  the situation encountered  in Juneau  and would clarify  the                 
  law that would  provide a better  continuum of care for  the                 
  treatment of alcoholics.  She explained the routine from the                 
  emergency  services patrol  to  Bartlett Hospital  emergency                 
  room and the transfer  to a treatment center if  the patient                 
  is found to  be medically stable.  If  the individual is not                 
  found medically stable  they are held at  Bartlett Hospital.                 
  The individual  may  be  held  for  up to  48  hours  on  an                 
  emergency alcohol commitment.   A public treatment  facility                 
  may hold an individual up to  five days with Court approval.                 
  The clinical staff would  at this time make the  decision to                 
  contact the attorney's  office in order  to file a  petition                 
  for  involuntary commitment.    Under current  statute  this                 
  continuum is  not clearly  authorized.   The problem  arises                 
  that a person admitted  to a public treatment  facility must                 
  both be incapacitated by alcohol and intoxicated.   After an                 
  individual has been  in the hospital for 12  - 24 hours they                 
  are no longer  intoxicated.  The  hospital must let them  go                 
  and wait  for them  to enter  the cycle  again another  way.                 
  This amendment  would clearly authorize  a public  treatment                 
  facility to place  a hold  on an individual  located at  the                 
  hospital  due  to medical  issues  and the  individual would                 
  transferred to the treatment facility  upon release from the                 
  health facility.    Senator Rieger questioned  the liability                 
  matter and  specifically referred  to page  7, line  3.   He                 
  suggested to cover this the word "shall provide adequate and                 
  appropriate treatment".  What  if a mistake were made?   Ms.                 
  Craver referred  to section (d)  AS 47.37.200 and  said this                 
  placed the burden  on the  petitioner to prove  there is  an                 
  appropriate treatment facility for  the individual's alcohol                 
  problem.   The  concern is  based on  if there  is a  viable                 
  treatment  option  available in  the  State.   The liability                 
  issue would occur earlier.                                                   
                                                                               
  Mr. Jones  said  the  definition  of  a  public  or  private                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  facility  was a treatment facility that was grant funded and                 
  approved by the division.    Co-chairman Halford and Senator                 
  Rieger expressed concern over limitation on liabilities.  He                 
  asked Senator Rieger  to work  on an appropriate  amendment.                 
  Senator Rieger was also concerned about "good cause".                        
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford said  he would  hold  Senator  Zharoff's                 
  amendment  #1  pending  and  he  further  held  the bill  in                 
  committee.                                                                   
                                                                               
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford recessed the meeting  at 2:10 P.M. until                 
  5:00 P.M.  if the  Senator Floor  session recessed  in time.                 
  Otherwise calendar would  be carried over until  tomorrow at                 
  9:00 A.M.                                                                    
                                                                               

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