Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/30/1997 08:07 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
MINUTES SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE April 30, 1997 8:07 A.M. TAPES SFC-97, # 133, Sides 1 & 2 (000-590, 590-000) SFC-97, # 134, Sides 1 & 2 (000-590, 590-261) CALL TO ORDER Senator Bert Sharp, Cochair, Senate Finance Committee, convened the meeting at approximately 8:07 A.M. PRESENT In addition to COCHAIR SHARP, SENATORS PHILLIPS, TORGERSON and ADAMS were present when the meeting was convened. COCHAIR PEARCE, SENATORS DONLEY and PARNELL arrived as the meeting was in progress. Also Attending: REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY; TIM BENINTENDI, Legislative Staff to Senator Kelly; DIANE WORLEY, Director, Division of Family and Youth Services, Department of Health and Social Services; RUSSELL HUFFMAN, M.D., Forensic Psychiatrist, Bethel; MIKE CORKILL, 1st Sergeant, President, Alaska Peace Officers Association; ANGELA SALERNO, Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers - Alaska; BOB PARKS, President, TRF Pacific, Inc.; DOUGLAS EXWORTHY, Executive Vice-President, TRF Pacific, Inc.; DUGAN PETTY, Director, Division of General Services, Department of Administration; FORREST BROWNE, Debt Manager, Treasury Division, Department of Revenue; KEITH GERKEN, Gerken and Associates, Juneau; MITCH GRAVO, Lobbyist, Frontier Building Limited Partnership; fiscal analysts and aides to committee members. SUMMARY INFORMATION HB 66 APPROVE CENTRALIZED PUBLIC HEALTH LAB TIM BENINTENDI testified on behalf of the bill. SENATOR TORGERSON MOVED the bill from committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, CSHB 66(HES) was REPORTED OUT with a previous zero fiscal note from the Department of Public Safety and previous fiscal notes from the Department of Administration, the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Revenue (2378.3). HB 152 REGULATION OF HOSPICE CARE There was discussion on the bill. SENATOR DONLEY MOVED for adoption of the SCS, version P. SENATOR ADAMS objected, then withdrew his objection, and SCSCSHB 152(FIN) was ADOPTED. SENATOR PARNELL MOVED the bill from committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, SCSCSHB 152(FIN) was REPORTED OUT with a previous fiscal note from the Department of Health and Social Services (7.5). HB 6 RELEASE OF INFORMATION ABOUT MINORS REPRESENTATIVE KELLY, Sponsor, was present at the table. Testifying were DIANE WORLEY, RUSSELL HUFFMAN, MIKE CORKILL and ANGELA SALERNO. SENATOR DONLEY MOVED the bill from committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ADAMS objected. By a vote of 6 to 1, SCSCSHB 6(FIN) was REPORTED OUT with a previous zero fiscal note from the Department of Public Safety, a zero fiscal note from the Department of Administration, and fiscal notes from the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Law (22.9). HCR 4 DHSS RECORDS FOR DELINQUENTS & CINA REPRESENTATIVE KELLY testified on behalf of the resolution. COCHAIR PEARCE MOVED the resolution from committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, CSHCR 4(JUD) was REPORTED OUT with a previous zero fiscal note from the Department of Administration, and six previous fiscal notes from the Department of Health and Social Services. SB 178 ANCHORAGE OFFICE BUILDING Testimony was heard from DUGAN PETTY, FORREST BROWNE, BOB PARKS, DOUGLAS EXWORTHY, KEITH GERKEN and MITCH GRAVO. SENATOR DONLEY MOVED Amendment #1. COCHAIR PEARCE objected. Amendment #1 FAILED by a vote of 3 to 3. SENATOR DONLEY MOVED Amendment #2. COCHAIR SHARP objected, then withdrew his objection. Without further objection, Amendment #2 was ADOPTED. SENATOR DONLEY MOVED Amendment #2. COCHAIR SHARP objected. Amendment Amendment #4. Without objection, Amendment #4 was ADOPTED. SENATOR PHILLIPS MOVED the bill from committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, CSSB 178(FIN) was REPORTED OUT with fiscal notes from the Department of Revenue and the Department of Administration (1823.0) and (<914.6>). SB 42 ALASKA RR BUDGET AND LAND This bill was scheduled but not heard. CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 66(HES) "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." TIM BENINTENDI, Legislative Staff to Senator Kelly, testified that the bill was identical to SB 51, which the committee had heard and reported out last week. He was available for questions and noted representatives from the Department of Health and Social Services were present. COCHAIR SHARP acknowledged that it appeared identical and the amounts that were changed on SB 51 matched up with the latest figures. MR. BENINTENDI confirmed. SENATOR TORGERSON MOVED the bill from committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, CSHB 66(HES) was REPORTED OUT with a previous zero fiscal note from the Department of Public Safety and previous fiscal notes from the Department of Administration, the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Revenue (2378.3). CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 152(HES) "An Act regulating hospice care." COCHAIR SHARP pointed out that the bill was comparable to SB 96 which also had been heard and reported out by the committee. There was a slight change in the title of the house bill, that being "regulating hospice care" as compared to "relating to hospice care" in the senate bill. He asked the committee's pleasure regarding the title. COCHAIR SHARP noted there was a proposed SCS before the committee for consideration that would conform the house bill verbatim to the senate bill and that the SCS would require a title change resolution. SENATOR DONLEY was supportive of the legislation and MOVED for adoption of the SCS, version P. SENATOR ADAMS objected, then withdrew his objection, and SCSCSHB 152(FIN) was ADOPTED. SENATOR PARNELL MOVED the bill from committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, SCSCSHB 152(FIN) was REPORTED OUT with a previous fiscal note from the Department of Health and Social Services (7.5). CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 6(FIN) am "An Act relating to minors and amending laws relating to the disclosure of information relating to certain minors." REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY, Sponsor, joined the committee at the table. DIANE WORLEY, Director, Division of Family and Youth Services, Department of Health and Social Services, testified that the division continued to have concerns about the bill. They recognized the need for some level of disclosure, the need to protect the public, and levels of information regarding youths and criminal acts they may be committing. The conflicts had to do with how far the bill went related to the mission of the agency to protect and rehabilitate juvenile offenders while still providing community protection. She noted the bill was not intended to deter crime, but to provide public safety. She gave examples of cases to illustrate the concerns and dynamics involved with perpetrators who were also victims. Guarantees needed to be in place to protect those that needed treatment and services. She also expressed concern about impeding cooperation with a family when an adjustment would have to be disclosed. There was also the issue of petition versus adjudication and whether they would be disclosing on kids who would later be found innocent of charges. SENATOR PHILLIPS commented to MS. WORLEY on the responsibility of families and what sounded like "social engineering" on her part. He stated he could barely contain his emotion on the issue and that his constituency supported the bill and would "rip" her apart. He thought the public had a right to know. SENATOR DONLEY asked what the administration's position was. MS. WORLEY stated she was speaking for the Department of Health and Social Services. She noted that previous testimony from Margot Knuth, of the Department of Law, reflected the broader administration. MS. WORLEY had limited her discussion to her department because they felt it would affect them more broadly and they wanted to bring up specific points they dealt with on a day to day basis. SENATOR DONLEY commented that Section 4 related to the authorized areas for information and development of a clear protocol. He asked how MS. WORLEY read the language "as may be necessary." It caused him concern because it gave the department reason not to do what they didn't like to do. MS. WORLEY responded that there was a need to make sure there was reason for sharing information with those that needed to know. SENATOR DONLEY asked if there would be a problem with deleting that language in Section 4. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said there would not be a problem and he was in agreement. He noted it was also in Section 5 and other parts of existing statute. RUSSELL HUFFMAN, M.D., Forensic Psychiatrist, Bethel, testified that he advised the court system regarding juvenile behavior and treated victims of crime. He had worked with Representative Kelly to improve the bill. He believed there needed to be more protection for children. Children and the mentally ill receive statutory protection. He felt the bill made it easy for those under the age of 18 to be criminally stigmatized for immature judgment. He stated that justice was due process and the bill eroded the steps of due process to protect children. Releasing information about people and victims hurts people. He referred to a recent tragedy of February 19 in Bethel as an example of the ripple effect. No disclosures had been made, yet everyone knew. Information about other students had affected families, grandparents, and siblings to the extent that some would have to leave the community. He had a petition signed by over a hundred Bethel residents opposing the release of information about children. He urged the protection of children by waiting for a conviction before releasing names. He encouraged the committee to be careful and go slowly. SENATOR PHILLIPS gave an example of a simple juvenile theft and asked how DR. HUFFMAN would handle the situation. There was brief discussion. SENATOR ADAMS referred to a proposed Amendment #3 that would take care of some of DR. HUFFMAN'S concerns by removing mandatory disclosure on adjusted cases. He referred to page 6, lines 30-31, regarding disclosure by electronic means that could be recovered from a computer database and asked if the public would have access to that information via the internet. He noted that it would be in the database for five years after authorization, even though someone could have completed a sentence and restitution in a shorter period. He believed it was damaging. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY responded that it would make it easy for the department to give constructive notice on criminal activities through an easily accessible and relatively inexpensive home page on the internet. There was language in the bill providing that if a minor stayed clean, the record could be removed from the internet page. It created an incentive for people not to commit further crimes, regardless of whether they had completed restitution or not. SENATOR ADAMS stated that it could greatly affect a child's ability to go to college, join the military or even get a job. He suggested holding the bill to work on that and other issues. MIKE CORKILL, 1st Sergeant, President, Alaska Peace Officers Association, testified in support of the bill for several reasons. He believed the system was broken with regard to juvenile issues. There were frustrated victims and parents that needed to protect themselves from further victimization. He explained that the bill related to those well entrenched in the system and involved in recidivism. It was no one individual's fault as to the reason the system was not working. Juveniles needed to be held accountable and people needed to know who the criminals were. End SFC-97 #133, Side 1, Begin Side 2 SGT. CORKILL continued. He had been involved in youth issues for over twenty years. In reference to a letter in committee files, he stated the Peace Officers Association wanted to be able to disclose a juvenile's name at the time of arrest, just as they did with adults. He had no objection to a change to a petition process. He noted the DFYS would have a chance to screen. He had concern with how and when the disclosure information would be released. Another concern was with Section 1 regarding controlled substances, which basically had to do with the sale of marijuana. He was appalled that it would be added to that section because he believed any violation of AS 11.71 should be part of the disclosure information. It was a terrible message to send out. He believed people had a right to know if someone was selling any kind of controlled substance. With regard to rehabilitation and stigmatization, he stated that the child had "placed themself in the position they have by their own action" rather than by the actions of others, and there was still a need for the public to know what was going on. To illustrate his position, he gave an example of a Fairbanks youth who had shot a police officer. COCHAIR PEARCE asked SGT. CORKILL to elaborate on the issue of disclosure before adjudication. SGT. CORKILL explained that conviction was way down the road in the course of a several month process. He believed disclosure should be made at the time of petition. The initial position was for the time of arrest, but the compromise was okay. There was a brief question and answer session regarding various crimes defined in law. In response to the same hypothetical theft question from SENATOR PHILLIPS, SGT. CORKILL offered his philosophical viewpoint based on personal experience. COCHAIR SHARP asked when information was available to an officer with regard to someone criminally entrenched but not convicted. SGT. CORKILL replied that they had some capability through the Alaska Public Safety Network. There was brief discussion on this topic. ANGELA SALERNO, Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers - Alaska, testified in opposition to HB 6. She supported the mission of the juvenile court, that being rehabilitation and reintegration of a youth into society. She believed the bill was a serious and radical measure. She noted that forty percent of the population of the state was under the age of twenty. The bill would overturn the mission of the juvenile court. Disclosure compromised rehabilitation and it was a punishment with far-reaching effects. She supported Amendment #3 and didn't believe anyone would be safer after passage of the bill. She believed the bill may have an unintended outcome by stigmatizing youth, narrowing options, and that it could promote crime. MS. SALERNO stated that there was a misperception that kids were not held accountable for their crimes, noting there were a variety of dispositions available for kids who commit crime. COCHAIR PEARCE introduced members of the Saukhalin Duma from Russia, escorted and interpreted by former Senator Victor Fischer. COCHAIR PEARCE offered a "what if" scenario. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY responded, noting that many scenarios had come up and they could not create public policy to cover all the "what ifs." He explained that second chances had been built into the bill. He added that serious and dangerous crimes were addressed by the bill. SENATOR DONLEY asked if there were any changes the sponsor wanted in the bill. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY replied that many changes had already been made to address various scenarios. He opposed large amendments at this time. SENATOR DONLEY had concern with existing language in Section 4 and the reluctance of the department to fulfill the intent of the law. SENATOR ADAMS reiterated his hope that the bill would be held for further consideration of issues that had been brought up. He again expressed his concern about disclosing information on the internet for five years. SENATOR DONLEY commented that it applied to serious crimes and repeat offenders. He believed it was appropriate for employers to know if they were employing those types of people. Additional discussion and debate ensued among SENATORS DONLEY, ADAMS, PHILLIPS and REPRESENTATIVE KELLY regarding this issue. COCHAIR SHARP acknowledged that SENATOR ADAMS had asked the bill be held an additional day. SENATOR PARNELL urged the bill be moved from committee. SENATOR DONLEY MOVED the bill from committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ADAMS objected. End SFC-97 #133, Side 2 Begin SFC-97 #134, Side 1 A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION. IN FAVOR: Phillips, Donley, Torgerson, Parnell, Pearce, Sharp OPPOSED: Adams By a vote of 6 to 1, SCSCSHB 6(FIN) was REPORTED OUT with a previous zero fiscal note from the Department of Public Safety, a zero fiscal note from the Department of Administration, and fiscal notes from the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Law (22.9). CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 4(JUD) Relating to records generated and maintained by the Department of Health and Social Services. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY testified on behalf of the resolution. It had been requested by the department for reorganization purposes related to the previous bill in order to retain a larger portion of federal funds. COCHAIR PEARCE MOVED the resolution from committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, CSHCR 4(JUD) was REPORTED OUT with a previous zero fiscal note from the Department of Administration, and six previous fiscal notes from the Department of Health and Social Services. SENATE BILL NO. 178 "An Act giving notice of and approving a lease-purchase agreement by the Department of Administration for an office building in Anchorage; relating to the financing of the lease-purchase agreement; and providing for an effective date." BOB PARKS, President, and DOUGLAS EXWORTHY, Executive Vice- President, TRF Pacific, Inc., addressed the committee. MR. PARKS explained that their company was one of two general partners in the Frontier building. They intended to present a proposal for a long-term lease for state occupancy in that building. He noted they had not been asked to make a proposal until a couple weeks ago by a member of the House Finance Committee. He passed the proposal out to committee members (copy on file) and explained the details. MR. EXWORTHY asked that the Department of Administration include certain factors in their analysis of comparison between the purchase of the Bank of America building and their long-term lease proposal. He further discussed areas of concern regarding development, parking and risks inherent in long-term ownership of real estate. SENATOR PARNELL inquired about the time period of the proposal and operating costs. He also asked about including the value of existing leases. SENATOR PHILLIPS asked for the department's response to the proposal. COCHAIR SHARP expressed concern that it was a contingent proposal based on approval of three additional lenders within a limited time period. DUGAN PETTY, Director, Division of General Services, Department of Administration, had received the proposal at the same time as committee members. He commended the management of the Frontier building on behalf of the state. He noted that the proposal had a smaller square footage and a different method and length of control of the space. He believed the Bank of America scenario compared more favorably for the state than the proposal for the Frontier building. There was additional lengthy discussion between MR. PETTY, COCHAIR PEARCE and SENATOR TORGERSON regarding details of the pros and cons of the two buildings. FORREST BROWNE, Debt Manager, Treasury Division, Department of Revenue, was invited to joint the committee. COCHAIR PEARCE asked him about falling interest rates with respect to financing of the Bank of America building. MR. BROWNE responded that they retain some flexibility to refinance, but there would be a cost. He explained further. He had recently reconfirmed the timing schedule with the lender, noting that it was important. He was confident that flexibility may be extended based on a showing of good faith. In response to a question from SENATOR DONLEY, MR. BROWNE explained that they would have no authority to accept the Frontier building proposal without special legislation. SENATOR DONLEY MOVED Amendment #1. COCHAIR PEARCE objected. SENATOR DONLEY explained that the amendment would require the state to continue to pay property tax to communities for existing buildings that they purchase. He noted that Anchorage taxpayers would be paying the cost and subsidizing the building. The amendment dealt only with purchase of existing buildings. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if the footage rented by the state in the Frontier building was exempt from municipal taxation. COCHAIR SHARP said it was not. MR. PETTY confirmed. There was discussion about the fact that municipalities could grant an exemption to taxation. SENATOR DONLEY noted Amendment #1 would apply to all future purchases. A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to adopt Amendment IN FAVOR: Torgerson, Parnell, Donley OPPOSED: Phillips, Pearce, Sharp Amendment #1 FAILED by a vote of 3 to 3. End SFC-97 #134, Side 1, Begin Side 2 SENATOR DONLEY MOVED Amendment #2. COCHAIR SHARP objected. SENATOR DONLEY explained that there should be a guarantee of public access to parking. There was additional discussion between SENATORS DONLEY and PHILLIPS, COCHAIR PEARCE and MR. PETTY about the issue of parking. COCHAIR SHARP withdrew his objection. Without further objection, Amendment #2 was ADOPTED. SENATOR DONLEY MOVED Amendment #3. COCHAIR SHARP objected. SENATOR DONLEY explained that the amendment dealt with parking fees for lower salaried employees. SENATOR PARNELL agreed with the concept but questioned how it would work. He also questioned the impact and practicality. MR. PETTY did not have the information before him to respond to the question. COCHAIR PEARCE inquired if the state paid parking for lower range employees of the court system. KEITH GERKEN, Gerken and Associates, Juneau, explained that there was no statewide policy. Some spaces were allocated to judicial officers, others were on a first come, first served basis. Some paid for their own parking by necessity because of lack of spaces. A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to adopt Amendment IN FAVOR: Donley OPPOSED: Parnell, Phillips, Pearce, Sharp Amendment #3 FAILED by a 1 to 4 vote. SENATOR PHILLIPS noted a proposed letter of intent, stating that he would rather have it added to the language of the bill. It would protect people already in the building regarding standard of maintenance and parking. MR. PETTY spoke to the concerns, explaining that they would be bound to the existing leases and would honor existing rights. Additional discussion ensued among all members present at the table regarding existing tenant leases. SENATOR PHILLIPS MOVED the intent language as a conceptual Amendment #4. Without objection, Amendment #4 was ADOPTED. MITCH GRAVO, Lobbyist, Frontier Building Limited Partnership, commented that the department negotiated a sole source agreement to purchase the Bank of America building. He asked if and when the commissioner had made a written finding that the sole source negotiation was appropriate, and if so, he requested a copy. MR. PETTY responded that under AS 36.38.050, the acquisition of real property was not subject to that type of determination. SENATOR PHILLIPS MOVED the bill from committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR DONLEY objected for the purpose of further discussion. He had concerns that the proposal was unfair to Anchorage property taxpayers and suggested the state continue to pay property tax on the building. MR. PETTY responded that the state would continue to pay a portion of property tax for private interests remaining in the building, but would be exempt itself. SENATOR PHILLIPS expressed similar concerns regarding property tax as well as the sole source nature of the contract in light of the new proposal. SENATOR DONLEY withdrew his objection. There being no further objection, CSSB 178(FIN) was REPORTED OUT with fiscal notes from the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Administration (1823.0) and (<914.6>). COCHAIR SHARP announced the agenda for tomorrow's meeting. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:12 A.M.