Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/23/1997 05:35 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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                             MINUTES                                           
                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                          23 April 1997                                        
                            5:35 p.m.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPES                                                                        
                                                                               
  SFC-97, #125, Side 1 (000 - 599)                                             
           125, Side 2 (599 - 000)                                             
           126, Side 1 (000 - 513)                                             
                                                                               
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Senator  Bert Sharp,  Co-chairman, convened  the  meeting at                 
  approximately 5:35 p.m.                                                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  In  addition   to  Co-chairman  Sharp,   Senators  Phillips,                 
  Torgerson, Parnell and  Adams were present when  the meeting                 
  convened.   Senators Donley  and Pearce arrived respectively                 
  shortly thereafter.                                                          
                                                                               
  ALSO  ATTENDING:     Senator  Robin  Taylor;   Joe  Perkins,                 
  Commissioner,  Department  of   Transportation  and   Public                 
  Facilities;    Nancy    Slagle,   Director,    Division   of                 
  Administrative  Services,  Department of  Transportation and                 
  Public  Facilities; Bob Ward,  City Manager, Skagway; Andrea                 
  Barkley,   Alaska   Marine   Highway  System/IBU   Executive                 
  Committee;  Stephanie  Rainwater,   Alaska  Marine   Highway                 
  employee; Gerald Hope, Tribal  Council Officer as Secretary,                 
  Ketchikan Tribal Corporation;  Fred Shields, Haines  Borough                 
  and  Chamber  of  Commerce;  James  L. Van  Horn,  Ketchikan                 
  Gateway   Borough;   Representative   Brian   Porter;   Anne                 
  Carpeneti,  Assistant  Attorney General,  Criminal Division,                 
  Department of Law; Forrest Browne, Debt Manager, Division of                 
  Treasury,  Department  of  Revenue;  Greg  Hayes,  Chief  of                 
  Laboratories,  Division  of  Public  Health,  Department  of                 
  Health   and   Social  Services;   Tom   Wright,  staff   to                 
  Representative Ivan Ivan; Representative Con Bunde; aides to                 
  committee members and other legislators.                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
       CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 21(STA)                                          
                                                                               
       "An  Act  relating  to  ferries  and  ferry  terminals,                 
  establishing   the  Alaska  Marine  Highway  Authority,  and                 
  relating to    maintenance  of  state  marine  vessels;  and                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  providing for an    effective date."                                         
                                                                               
  Senator Taylor,  sponsor  of SB21  was invited  to join  the                 
  committee.  In a brief explanation of the bill he noted this                 
  bill would  be an  ongoing working  document.   He said  the                 
  creation   of  the  Marine  Highway  Authority  would  bring                 
  stability  to  the system.    At  the present  there  was an                 
  increasing level of  bureaucracy and  a decreasing level  of                 
  services.  In  answer to  a question from  Senator Adams  he                 
  said the Authority  would be an entity within the Department                 
  of Transportation.  Senator Torgerson asked if the Authority                 
  would  be  able  to  spend Federal  funds.    Senator Taylor                 
  indicated  they would.   Senator Adams  said he  would still                 
  like to look at the matter  of setting up an Authority.   He                 
  felt there had been a lack of communication.  Senator Taylor                 
  responded  that within the  entire infrastructure  there had                 
  been a lack of  communication.  He would applaud  any change                 
  to bring  expertise  to the  Marine  Highway.   The  bandaid                 
  approach up until now only fixed part of the problem.                        
                                                                               
  Senator Torgerson commented on fiscal  notes.  He noted  the                 
  chief operating officer's fancy fee.   He suggested amending                 
  the Department of  Transportation's fiscal note to  zero and                 
  send the money otherwise earmarked to the Authority.                         
                                                                               
  Senator Phillips  in a comment  to the committee  noted that                 
  Juneau  was  against the  bill  and Ketchikan  supported the                 
  bill.                                                                        
                                                                               
  In conclusion of his testimony, Senator Taylor said the best                 
  time to make the transition to the Authority would be in the                 
  winter when the ferry system was slowed down.                                
                                                                               
  Commissioner  Joseph  Perkins, Department  of Transportation                 
  and Public Facilities was invited to join the committee.  He                 
  said the Administration  did not support SB 21.   Reductions                 
  to  the  operating   budget  year  after  year   had  caused                 
  operational  problems and  reductions in  services.   Stable                 
  funding  must be addressed  and there should  be an adequate                 
  stable funding source.  He said due to maintenance for ships                 
  having been  cut there would  be some difficulty  in getting                 
  Coast  Guard  certification.   The  majority  of  the marine                 
  routes  were  a  part of  the  federally  designated highway                 
  system.    This  tied  the  system  into  the road  network.                 
  Further, he noted the Authority was not in the Department of                 
  Transportation  and it  would  operate independently.    The                 
  creation of the Authority would only cause more competition.                 
  Two points he brought  up for the committee to  consider for                 
  the creation of the  Authority were:  1.   the project  must                 
  get on  STIP for federal  funds; and  2.  they  must receive                 
  legislative authority.   He felt the Authority  at this time                 
  was moving in the wrong direction.  There would be  the same                 
  isolation for the Marine Highway as for the  Alaska Railroad                 
  system.  The needs of the travelling public have drastically                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  changed.  There should be changes made within the Department                 
  of Transportation to address these needs.                                    
                                                                               
  Senator Adams  voiced a concern for Federal  funding for the                 
  Authority.   Commissioner  Perkins  explained  that  Federal                 
  funds were given  to the Department of  Transportation.  The                 
  Marine Highway Authority  would have to compete  for federal                 
  funds based on how projects were graded and scored.                          
                                                                               
  Bob Ward, City  Manager, Skagway, Alaska was invited to join                 
  the committee.   He said the City of Skagway  opposed SB 21.                 
  If there was  enough money there  would be enough ships  and                 
  therefore no problems.  He felt there were many  significant                 
  points that needed  to be addressed.   A continued trend  of                 
  decreased funding had led to a decrease in service levels to                 
  community residents in the winter.                                           
                                                                               
  Andrea Barkley,  Alaska Marine Highway  System/IBU Executive                 
  Committee was invited to join the committee.  She was  a 19-                 
  year Marine  Highway employee and  supported the bill.   She                 
  said there were many problems that  needed to be changed and                 
  the creation of the Authority offered potential improvement.                 
                                                                               
  Stephanie Rainwater, Alaska  Marine Highway System, Chairman                 
  of Management Labor Advisory  Board was invited to  join the                 
  committee.   She was a  10-year Marine Highway  employee and                 
  also supported the bill.  She explained the last three years                 
  there had been  a decrease in services and poor reservations                 
  system.   There had  been too much cutting  back and now not                 
  enough money left to keep the  system running.  There needed                 
  to be a  change and she  said that Marine Highway  employees                 
  supported SB 21.   They were good employees, wanted  to give                 
  good service; and therefore the Marine Highway System should                 
  keep people employed and let them provide good service.  She                 
  also noted that  many times the  ships are not always  full.                 
  Senator Adams concurred  and said that everything  was going                 
  down because of budget cuts.                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator Torgerson responded by saying that there  had been a                 
  cut in Administration but that $1  million had been put back                 
  into the  Marine  Highway  budget  specifically  for  vessel                 
  operation.   Ms. Rainwater said  perhaps one should  look at                 
  the Administration employees.                                                
                                                                               
  Gerald Hope, Tribal Council  Officer as Secretary, Ketchikan                 
  Indian Corporation was  invited to join  the committee.   He                 
  spoke on  behalf of the  Southeast Alaska families  and said                 
  the Alaska Marine Highway System provided transportation for                 
  these  families to keep in close touch  with each other.  He                 
  said the Corporation supported SB 21.                                        
                                                                               
  Fred Shield,  representative, Haines Borough and  Chamber of                 
  Commerce was invited to join the  committee.  He said Haines                 
  supported SB 21.                                                             
                                                                               
                                                                               
  James L.  Van Horn,  member, Ketchikan  Gateway Borough  was                 
  invited to join  the committee.   He said  the death  spiral                 
  system of the Alaska Marine  Highway had to be changed.   He                 
  supported SB 21.                                                             
                                                                               
  Senator Taylor in response to the given testimony noted that                 
  three  years ago the captains for  the Alaska Marine Highway                 
  sent  in  a  letter  to  their  superiors  asking  only  for                 
  competent management.                                                        
                                                                               
  Co-chair Sharp set the bill aside.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
       SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 9(JUD)                              
                                                                               
       "An Act  relating to  the rights of  crime victims  and                 
  victims   of juvenile offenses;  relating to the  collection                 
  by victims     of  restitution  from prisoners;  relating to                 
  the definition of   `incapacitated'  for   sexual  offenses;                 
  creating the crime of    interfering  with  a  report  of  a                 
  crime involving domestic      violence;   relating  to   the                 
  safety of victims, other persons,  and   the  community   in                 
  setting bail or conditions of release;  relating  to  access                 
  to certain records of the Violent Crimes     Compensation                    
  Board; amending Rules 6 and 43(d), Alaska Rules   o        f                 
  Criminal  Procedure,  Rules  404 and  615,  Alaska  Rules of                 
       Evidence,  and Rule  3, Alaska  Delinquency  Rules; and                 
  providing      for an effective date."                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Brian Porter, sponsor of the bill was invited                 
  to join the committee.  He noted specifically that al fiscal                 
  notes  were  zero.   He explained  sections 3,  4, 5  and 6.                 
  Section 7 would  redefine "incapacitated".  He  referred the                 
  members to the section analysis provided.                                    
                                                                               
  Anne   Carpeneti,   Assistant  Attorney   General,  Criminal                 
  Division,  Department  of  Law  was   invited  to  join  the                 
  committee.   At this point Senator Adams  and Senator Pearce                 
  conferred briefly agreeing that Senator Adams' amendment was                 
  the same  as Senator Pearce's  amendment #2.   Ms. Carpeneti                 
  said that the  department opposed amendment #2  and referred                 
  to the 1994  victims' rights  law.  She  briefly outlined  a                 
  present Fairbanks case.  A mental  examination  for a victim                 
  should be very limited.                                                      
                                                                               
  Senator Pearce moved  amendment #1 and without  objection it                 
  was adopted.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator Torgerson  moved  SCS CSHB  9(FIN)  with  individual                 
  recommendations and  accompanying fiscal  notes and  without                 
  objection it was reported out.                                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
       SENATE BILL NO. 51                                                      
                                                                               
       "An Act  giving notice of and approving the entry into,                 
  and the   issuance  of certificates  of participation  in, a                 
  lease-purchase      agreement  for   a  centralized   public                 
  health laboratory   facility."                                               
                                                                               
  Co-chair Sharp introduced SB 51.  Forrest Browne, Department                 
  of  Revenue  was invited  to  join  the committee.    Senate                 
  Finance Committee members,  staff and members of  the public                 
  sang "Happy Birthday" to Mr. Browne.                                         
                                                                               
  Senator Adams asked the cost of the building per square foot                 
  and  Senator  Pearce  said  the  cost was  high  because  of                 
  specialized equipment.                                                       
                                                                               
  Co-chair Sharp  moved amendment #1 for  discussion purposes.                 
  Mr. Browne briefly  explained the  amendment.  Amendment  #1                 
  was adopted without objection.                                               
                                                                               
  Greg Hayes,  Chief of Laboratories  was invited to  join the                 
  committee.   He briefly  explained their  fiscal note.   Mr.                 
  Browne indicated that it was a  gross number.  Senator Adams                 
  asked if the  title was wrong  and Mr. Hayes indicated  that                 
  "consolidated" would perhaps be better.                                      
                                                                               
  Senator  Donley   moved   CSSB   51(FIN)   with   individual                 
  recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.  By a vote of                 
  4 - 2 (Adams, Sharp) it was reported out of committee.                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
       CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 34(TRA)                                          
                                                                               
       "An Act giving notice of and approving a lease-purchase                 
       agreement with the  City of Soldotna for  a maintenance                 
  facility  of  the Department  of  Transportation and  Public                 
  Facilities."                                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator Torgerson introduced CSSB 34(TRA).   He specifically                 
  noted  page  1, line 11, amendment #1.  He briefly discussed                 
  with Senator Pearce regarding the City of Soldotna being the                 
  seller of the bond.                                                          
                                                                               
  (Tape change to #126.)                                                       
                                                                               
  He  said  there  was no  high  priority  to  move the  bill.                 
  Senator Pearce said  she did not  feel the City of  Soldotna                 
  should have the bond.                                                        
                                                                               
  Nancy Slagle, Director, Division of Administrative Services,                 
  Department  of  Transportation  and  Public  Facilities  was                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  invited to join the  committee.  She said this matter  was a                 
  high priority with the department.   It had been three years                 
  since the environmental clean-up had  been requested.  Money                 
  was available  for working  on design  and road  to the  new                 
  site.  In  1996 money was  appropriated for the clean-up  in                 
  the amount of  $600,000.  She did not know  the total amount                 
  of  the  cleanup  but would  provide  exactly  how much  the                 
  department received and how much they expended.                              
                                                                               
  Senator Torgerson  said that  $600,000 was  appropriated and                 
  reviewed the  amounts left.   Approximately  $1 million  was                 
  left.    (pause  while Senator  Pearce  reviewed  the spread                 
  sheet.)   In  response  to  a  question by  Senator  Pearce,                 
  Senator Torgerson said  he had no  objection to the City  or                 
  the State  holding the bonds.   The City had  been trying to                 
  get the State to  do the bond but for some  reason the State                 
  had been holding  off.  The City said they would not pay the                 
  bond,   however,   for   clean-up.      The   Department  of                 
  Transportation said with another  $250,000 the project could                 
  be finished.   It was  noted the State  owned the  property.                 
  Co-chair Sharp said he never heard  of the State bonding for                 
  cleanup.   He asked  Senator  Torgerson to  review the  bill                 
  tonight and to pin down whether the  City of Soldotna or the                 
  State would do the bonding.  Senator Torgerson said the City                 
  felt  if they did  the bonding they  could move on  with the                 
  project.  Mr. Browne  said that whoever does the  bonding it                 
  would be a 90-day process.   Senator Torgerson said he would                 
  review  the  bill  and  have  it  redrafted  and  ready  for                 
  tomorrow.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Co-chair Sharp concurred and held SB 34 over until tomorrow.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
       CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 20(FIN)                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to dog mushers' contests."                             
                                                                               
  Tom Wright, staff to Representative Ivan Ivan was invited to                 
  join  the  committee.   He  briefly explained  CSHB 20(FIN).                 
  Senator Adams moved  CSHB 20(FIN)  and without objection  it                 
  was reported out.                                                            
                                                                               
                                                                               
       SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 145(FIN)                            
                                                                               
       "An  Act  relating to  certification  of teachers;  and                 
  providing      for an effective date."                                       
                                                                               
  Senator  Pearce moved  the work  draft version  of SCS  CSHB
  145(FIN) for discussion purposes.  She explained the changes                 
  incorporated  into  the  work  draft.     She  said  teacher                 
  certifications would be  paid for by teachers same  as other                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  licenses  and  certifications.    There  would be  no  title                 
  change.  Senator Adams said the change of fees would need an                 
  updated fiscal note.  Senator  Pearce responded and said  it                 
  would not change the budget.                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Con Bunde was invited  to join the committee.                 
  He was available to  answer any questions by  the committee.                 
  Senator   Pearce  acknowledged   the   uniqueness  of   this                 
  situation.  She re-iterated that teachers should pay for the                 
  whole cost of their  certification the same as others.   She                 
  said  there would  be no  new general  funds nor  positions.                 
  Senator Phillips asked if this bill would test all teachers.                 
  Representative Bunde said only new teachers would be tested.                 
  In response to a  question by Senator Phillips he  said that                 
  it was  a basic screen test.  It  has been proven that there                 
  were  college  graduates not  literate.   Other  states have                 
  screened  out incompetent  applicants  using the  procedure.                 
  This test was a basic literacy and competency test.                          
                                                                               
  Senator Adams asked how bilingual teachers would be affected                 
  and Representative Bunde said they would be required to pass                 
  not only the basic screen test but also a bilingual exam.                    
                                                                               
  Senator Pearce suggested the committee  adopt a title change                 
  but Senator Adams  objected.  He said he  would like a legal                 
  opinion on  the matter.   Senator Pearce removed  her motion                 
  and said she would  have legal services draft  a new CS  for                 
  tomorrow.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Co-chair  Sharp  concurred  and held  SCS  CSHB  145(FIN) in                 
  committee  pending receipt  of  a  new  draft.   He  further                 
  reviewed the calendar for tomorrow.   Senator Torgerson said                 
  his draft for SB 21 would also be ready for tomorrow.                        
                                                                               
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  Co-chair Sharp adjourned  the committee  at 8:00 p.m.  until                 
  tomorrow.                                                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               

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