Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/21/1997 09:10 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                          21 April 1997                                        
                            9:10 a.m.                                          
  SFC-97, #117, Side 1 (000 - 591)                                             
           117, Side 2 (591 - 000)                                             
           118, Side 1 (000 - 166)                                             
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
  Senator  Bert  Sharp,  Co-chair,  convened  the  meeting  at                 
  approximately 9:10 a.m.                                                      
  In  addition  to Co-chair  Sharp,  Senators  Pearce, Donley,                 
  Torgerson and Adams were present  when the meeting convened.                 
   Senator Parnell  arrived  shortly  thereafter  and  Senator                 
  Phillips arrived at 10:35 a.m.                                               
  ALSO  ATTENDING:   Representative  Con  Bunde; Nancy  Buell,                 
  Director,  Teaching  and  Learning  Support,  Department  of                 
  Education;  Marilyn  Wilson, staff  to  Senator  Bert Sharp;                 
  Marianne  K.   Burke,  Director,   Division  of   Insurance,                 
  Department  of Commerce and  Economic Development; and aides                 
  to committee members and other legislators.                                  
  via  Teleconference:    Randy Simmons,  Executive  Director,                 
  AIDEA; Tom Stahr, Municipal Light and Power, Anchorage; Norm                 
  Story, Homer Electric; and Don Edwards, Chugach Electric.                    
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
       CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 145(HES)                                          
       "An Act relating to certification of teachers."                         
  Representative Con Bunde was invited  to join the committee.                 
  He  said  this  bill  would  provide  quality  control  over                 
  (There was a malfunction of  the recording equipment between                 
  log numbers 000 - 062.)                                                      
  Senator  Adams  asked  who  would  administer  the necessary                 
  testing  that  would  be  required.    Representative  Bunde                 
  indicated that  the Department of Education would administer                 
  the testing and it would be paid for by the applicant.                       
  Senator Torgerson  asked if  this  would apply  only to  new                 
  hires and Representative Bunde indicated this was correct.                   
  Nancy  Buell,  Director,  Teaching   and  Learning  Support,                 
  Department of Education  was invited to join  the committee.                 
  She said all  teachers would  need teacher certificates  and                 
  they must meet current requirements.  Senator Donley said he                 
  did not want any more restrictions  to be applied other than                 
  what the department was already applying.  He asked what the                 
  cost of the license would be  and Ms. Buell responded saying                 
  that the department did  not know the cost to  the applicant                 
  at this point.   Senator  Pearce said she  thought for  most                 
  programs in the State  the licensee covered their  own costs                 
  and why should  the State bear this burden.   Ms. Buell said                 
  the cost of certification  in Alaska was the highest  in the                 
  nation.  It  would need  a long  term plan to  be defined.                   
  Senator  Pearce asked  if  the State  was  subsidizing to  a                 
  lesser degree than others and Ms. Buell  indicated that some                 
  states were not charging at all.  Representative Bunde  said                 
  it was  the sponsor's  intent for  this program  to be  self                 
  Senator  Parnell  inquired  if   any  certificate  had  been                 
  suspended  for  incompetency and  Ms.  Buell said  that most                 
  likely there had  been some suspended  but she did not  have                 
  any details.                                                                 
  Senator  Pearce  requested  the bill  be  held  in committee                 
  pending further discussion with the department and it was so                 
  ordered by co-chair Sharp.                                                   
       SENATE BILL NO. 175                                                     
       "An Act relating to revenue bonds issued  by the Alaska                 
       Industrial   Development   and  Export   Authority  for                 
  interties      between  Healy  and  Fairbanks   and  between                 
  Anchorage and the   Kenai  Peninsula;  and providing  for an                 
  effective date."                                                             
  Co-chair  Sharp introduced SB 175.  Marilyn Wilson, staff to                 
  Senator Sharp was invited to join the committee and read the                 
  sponsor statement into the record.                                           
  Randy  Simmons,  Executive  Director,  AIDEA, Department  of                 
  Commerce    and    Economic   Development    testified   via                 
  teleconference from Anchorage.  He  said AIDEA supported the                 
  Tom  Stahr,  general  manager, municipal  light  and  power,                 
  Anchorage;  Norm  Story,  Homer  Electric,  Homer;  and  Don                 
  Edwards, general counsel for Chugach Electric  testified via                 
  teleconference  from  Anchorage.   All  three  voiced  their                 
  support for the bill.                                                        
  Senator  Pearce moved SB 175 with individual recommendations                 
  and zero  fiscal note.   Without  objection, Co-chair  Sharp                 
  reported out SB 175 with individual recommendations and zero                 
  fiscal  note  from  Department  of  Commerce   and  Economic                 
       CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 104(L&C)                                         
       "An  Act  relating  to  regulation  and examination  of                 
  insurers and   insurance  agents;  relating   to  kinds   of                 
  insurance; relating to   payment of insurance  taxes and  to                 
  required insurance reserves;  relating      to     insurance                 
  policies; relating to regulation of     capital,    surplus,                 
  and investments by insurers; relating to     hospital    and                 
  medical service corporations; and providing for   a        n                 
  effective date."                                                             
  Senator Pearce introduced  SB 104 and  referred to the  work                 
  draft  version  O-LS0407\H  dated 4/14/97.    She  moved the                 
  version be adopted for discussion  purposes.  Senator Donley                 
  objected and  said he wanted to  know what was in  the bill.                 
  Co-chair  Sharp said  he would  hold it  pending before  the                 
  committee  and would take  testimony at this  time.  Senator                 
  Pearce noted for  the committee that  there was a  sectional                 
  analysis in each file.                                                       
  Marianne  K.   Burke,  Director,   Division  of   Insurance,                 
  Department of Commerce and Economic  Development was invited                 
  to  join the committee.   She gave  a brief overview  of the                 
  bill  and  then answered  questions  posed by  the committee                 
  members.   She said this bill would  make sure the rules for                 
  all insurance companies would be the  same.  It was proposed                 
  that the  requirements for  the certificate  of solvency  be                 
  removed.  She referred briefly to the Kassebaum-Kennedy bill                 
  passed in  U.S. Congress.   She  said wherever  there was  a                 
  conflict the federal  regulations were  adopted.    Consumer                 
  groups were in  favour of this  bill.  Senator Donley  asked                 
  which sections dealt specifically with Kassebaum-Kennedy and                 
  she noted they  were sections 3, 11,  12, 31 - 34,  and 43 -                 
  57.  These would adopt  the minimum standards required under                 
  federal law.  She further said  people did not buy insurance                 
  and pay premiums in anticipation of illness.  Senator Donley                 
  asked  if   there  were  specific  conditions  for  specific                 
  coverages.    Ms.  Burke  indicated  that section  59  would                 
  eliminate  barriers to  compliance.   She further  explained                 
  that if an individual changed their  job or terminated a new                 
  insurance company  could not  start individual  coverage all                 
  over again.  A grace period of 90 days was allowed between a                 
  break  and  reinstatement.    Senator  Donley   asked  about                 
  individual  health  insurance  and  Ms.  Burke said  it  was                 
  decided  by age  and  deductible  not  health.   He  further                 
  referred  to section  92  and  she  said  this  section  was                 
  requested by title insurance.  She explained the elements of                 
  title insurance that made  it unique.  Co-chair  Sharp asked                 
  what about those who chose not to live a healthy  life style                 
  (tobacco, alcohol, drugs, etc.) and Ms. Burke said there was                 
  not a concern  for life style.   Unfortunately the costs  of                 
  unhealthy life styles were passed on to others.  But she did                 
  note that  high risk  groups were  not cheap.   She  further                 
  noted that  alcohol and drugs were covered  under the mental                 
  health provision.   Alaska companies can set limits for drug                 
  and  alcohol  at  approximately $9,500  per  year.   Senator                 
  Donley asked how the  state viewed rates and Ms.  Burke said                 
  there was  no influence and  they adopted  only the  minimum                 
  requirements.    There  was  one  section  concerning  small                 
  employers  and  it was  proposed  not to  sunset  next year.                 
  Senator Donley requested this bill be held over.  He removed                 
  his objection to  the work draft and said he would have some                 
  amendments drafted.                                                          
  Michael Lessmeier, Esq.  was invited to join  the committee.                 
  He testified on behalf of State Farm insurance co.  He asked                 
  the 10 year record requirement on page 4, line 29 be lowered                 
  to 5 years of record keeping.                                                
  Co-chair Sharp asked that any amendments be handed in to the                 
  Senate  Finance Committee Secretary  within the next twenty-                 
  four hours and  held the bill  in committee.  Senator  Adams                 
  noted the title was open.                                                    
       SENATE BILL NO. 177                                                     
       "An  Act  relating  to   the  international  trade  and                 
  business  endowment; and providing for an effective date."                   
  Senator Pearce commented on  behalf of this bill.   She said                 
  there was no  hidden agenda.   The balance of the  endowment                 
  was at about $7 million and they would transfer the original                 
  $4.5  million,  leaving  the  interest  and balance  in  the                 
  University foundation.  She noted there would be forthcoming                 
  fiscal  notes  from the  University  and Commerce.   Senator                 
  Pearce moved SB 177 contingent  upon receipt of fiscal notes                 
  and letters from the University  and Department of Commerce.                 
  Without  objection  it  was  reported  out  with  individual                 
  recommendations and  contingent upon receipt of fiscal notes                 
  and letters.                                                                 
  Co-chair  Sharp  outlined  the  evening  meeting  saying the                 
  committee would take up HB 51.                                               
  Co-chair Sharp recessed  the committee until 6:00  p.m. this                 

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