Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/29/1999 09:09 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
MINUTES                                                                                                                         
SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                                        
April 29, 1999                                                                                                                  
9:09 AM                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPES                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SFC-99 # 114, Side A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair John Torgerson convened the meeting at                                                                                 
approximately 9:09 A.M.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
In addition to Co-chair Torgerson, Senators Gary Wilken, Al                                                                     
Adams, Pete Kelly, Lyda Green and Randy Phillips were                                                                           
present when the meeting was convened.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Also Attending:  SENATOR DRUE PEARCE; MARK HODGINS, staff                                                                       
to Representative Pete Kott; PATRICK HARMON, staff to                                                                           
Representative Pete Kott; GINNY FAY, Legislative Liaison,                                                                       
Office of the Commissioner, Department of Commerce and                                                                          
Economic Development; ERIC YOULD, ARECA;                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Attending via Teleconference:  DR. EYAL HERZOG from                                                                             
Anchorage;  JUDY BRADY, AOGCC from Anchorage; MARK                                                                              
WORESTER, ARCO Alaska from Anchorage; DOUGLAS NEELEY, from                                                                      
Glennallen; SHARON DANIEL, Copper Basin Refuse from                                                                             
Glennallen; DOUG GRIFFIN, from Anchorage;                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson called the meeting to order at                                                                               
approximately 9:15 a.m.  The committee considered SB 29.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 SENATE BILL NO. 29                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
"An Act relating to licensure of physicians; and                                                                                
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 29(L&C)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to licensure of physicians; and                                                                                
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MARK HODGINS, staff to was invited to join the committee.                                                                       
He read the sponsor statement into the record.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Adams asked for clarification of the bill.  He                                                                          
specifically asked if the bill said one must practice up to                                                                     
three years.  Mr. Hodgins responded that it increases the                                                                       
bill to three years for licensure; making it more difficult                                                                     
for foreigners to obtain a medical license in Alaska.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson said he would now hear public testimony                                                                      
from Anchorage via teleconference.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Dr. EYAL HERZOG testified via teleconference from                                                                               
Anchorage.  He read his written testimony of 24 March 1999                                                                      
into the record.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green MOVED CSSB 29(L&C) and WITHOUT OBJECTION it                                                                       
was REPORTED OUT with individual recommendations and zero                                                                       
fiscal note from the Department of Commerce and Economic                                                                        
Development, Occupational Licensing.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson reconvened the committee at                                                                                  
approximately 9:35 a.m.  He called SB 133.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 SENATE BILL NO. 133                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
"An Act creating and providing for the Alaska Energy                                                                            
Conservation Commission and transferring to it the                                                                              
powers and duties of the Alaska Public Utilities                                                                                
Commission and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation                                                                              
Commission; repealing the Alaska Public Utilities                                                                               
Commission and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation                                                                              
Commission; relating to regulation of waste collection                                                                          
and disposal; relating to the powers of the chair of                                                                            
the Alaska Energy Conservation Commission; relating to                                                                          
the appellate procedures of the Alaska Energy                                                                                   
Conservation Commission; and providing for an                                                                                   
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 133(RES)                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
"An Act creating and providing for the Alaska Energy                                                                            
Conservation Commission and transferring to it certain                                                                          
powers and duties of the Alaska Public Utilities                                                                                
Commission; transferring regulation of pipelines to                                                                             
the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission;                                                                                 
repealing the Alaska Public Utilities Commission;                                                                               
relating to regulation of waste collection and                                                                                  
disposal; relating to the powers of the chair of the                                                                            
Alaska Energy Conservation Commission; relating to the                                                                          
appellate procedures of the Alaska Energy Conservation                                                                          
Commission; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator DRUE PEARCE was invited to join the committee.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilken advised the committee that he had a conflict                                                                     
of interest regarding this bill.  Co-chair Torgerson                                                                            
advised that the Secretary would note the conflict for the                                                                      
record.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Pearce continued.  She said this bill was an                                                                            
attempt to streamline government by re-structuring the                                                                          
Alaska Public Utilities Commission and the Alaska Oil & Gas                                                                     
Conservation Commission into one commission, the Alaska                                                                         
Energy Conservation Commission.  The combination of both                                                                        
agencies will improve the long term function, effectiveness                                                                     
and efficiency of both commissions.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The repeal of the APUC and the creation of the Alaska                                                                           
Energy conservation Commission will occur effectively July                                                                      
1, l999.  However, the AOGCC will not merge with the APUC                                                                       
at this time and will require subsequent legislation to do                                                                      
so.  The  Legislature will authorize LB&A to work on a                                                                          
transition report to be delivered to the Governor and the                                                                       
Legislature on the first day of the second session of the                                                                       
21st Legislature.  The Governor shall appoint one                                                                               
commissioner from each commission to work with LB&A on the                                                                      
transition report.  The report shall contain                                                                                    
recommendations for re-structuring the two commissions into                                                                     
one.  It is the intent of the Legislature to introduce                                                                          
legislation during the second session that would combine                                                                        
the two commissions based on the recommendations of LB&A.                                                                       
She further said that the AOGCC will physically move to the                                                                     
same location as the APUC as soon as possible but not later                                                                     
than July 1, 2000.  The two commissions will share record                                                                       
keeping facilities and clerical staff after that time.  She                                                                     
explained that the Chairman of the AECC shall be paid an                                                                        
annual salary equal to Range 27, Step C.   All other                                                                            
commissioners shall be paid according to their current pay                                                                      
status.  (Senator Pearce continued reading her sponsor                                                                          
statement into the record.)                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
She advised the committee that she has submitted seven                                                                          
amendments introduced through Co-chair Torgerson.  Co-chair                                                                     
Torgerson said he would rather hear any further testimony                                                                       
regarding this bill before taking up the amendments.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1 dealt with appeals.  The commission, however,                                                                      
would decide whether an appeal could be filed or not.                                                                           
There were other methods for appeals such as through the                                                                        
Court.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Adams asked if the panel decision would have to go                                                                      
back to the full commission.  Senator Pearce responded only                                                                     
in specific and discreet instances.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #2 would require a management information system.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #3 would set the term for a member to serve.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #4 would establish that the commission could                                                                          
contract for and engage the services of consultants and                                                                         
experts that the commission deemed necessary.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #5 would establish a public advocacy section.                                                                         
This would delineate supervision of staff and also the                                                                          
director duties.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #6 would cover the use of a formal hearing being                                                                      
held before an arbitrator designated for a specific                                                                             
purpose.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #7 would allow the commission to adopt                                                                                
regulations that would establish standards of timeliness                                                                        
for the types of cases that come before the commission.                                                                         
Senator Pearce said she did not feel it wise to set too                                                                         
timely and stringent deadlines.  There are always special                                                                       
cases that emergency regulations could be adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
At this point, Senator Pearce commended the hard work of                                                                        
Pat Carter, her staff.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson asked Senator Green to explain her                                                                           
amendment #8.  Senator Green said it would remove "relating                                                                     
to regulation of waste collection and disposal".  She spoke                                                                     
with the sponsor who was agreeable to the offering of this                                                                      
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Adams asked if communities around the State had the                                                                     
expertise to regulate their own garbage?  Senator Green                                                                         
responded.  She said it would leave all existing measure                                                                        
regarding garbage as it was according to statute.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Pearce said that it in her days in the House there                                                                      
was a lot of time spent on "garbage".  She felt local                                                                           
governments should be allowed to deal with their                                                                                
"timeliness" garbage problems on their own.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Pearce further explained that she has worked very                                                                       
closely with the Administration regarding this bill.  She                                                                       
said she believed that upon the repeal of the commission                                                                        
the fiscal note would go away.  She said the matter of the                                                                      
fiscal notes would involve designated receipts.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Adams asked if this would include costs of moving                                                                       
the office from one into the other.  Senator Pearce said                                                                        
the money for relocation was in SB 134.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
GINNY FAY, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Commissioner,                                                                     
Department of Commerce and Economic Development was invited                                                                     
to join the committee.  She said they basically supported                                                                       
the bill, however the primary concern was maintaining the                                                                       
integrity of the services offered by these two commissions.                                                                     
Other concerns were deregulation of garbage; advocacy of                                                                        
staff; supporting the change in the authority of the chair.                                                                     
However, they do think the Governor should appoint the                                                                          
chair.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
She referred to HB 183 and noted they had a preference for                                                                      
the language regarding "removal" there.   Another issue not                                                                     
quite resolved was the decision of the attorneys to                                                                             
represent the new commission.  It was believed that the                                                                         
agency should be treated like other agencies and work with                                                                      
the Attorney General rather than the agency be allowed to                                                                       
contract out to a private attorney.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Adams asked if that could be made optional and Ms.                                                                      
Fay said it could be.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Pearce was invited back before the committee.  She                                                                      
explained that it was not their intent for the commission                                                                       
to hire outside attorneys.  It was expected the agency                                                                          
would use the Attorney General.  The commissioners had                                                                          
suggested that they be allowed to hire their own legal                                                                          
staff, however this would pose some problems.  To further                                                                       
explain, the "removal" language was the same as AOGCC.                                                                          
Ms. Fay said they felt the "removal" language of AOGCC was                                                                      
also better.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips returned to the fiscal note.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
(Tape #114, side A switched to side B at log #590.)                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips was concerned about a zero note.  Senator                                                                      
Pearce responded.  Both agencies would need additional                                                                          
staff and the amount of work could not be controlled.  One                                                                      
should be happy there was such an increase.  She explained                                                                      
the regulatory cost charge and there would not be any                                                                           
momentary cost savings.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips further queries.  He said it looked to him                                                                     
that two offices were being moved to one location; he                                                                           
associated mergers with savings.  If the goal is not being                                                                      
achieved he had other questions.  Senator Pearce said it                                                                        
was difficult to guess the changes and savings until the                                                                        
merger actually happened.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson asked testimony be kept brief as there                                                                       
were several left to testify.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ERIC YOULD, ARECA was invited to join the committee.  He                                                                        
said they basically supported the bill.  They did question                                                                      
the compatibility of the two organizations.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
(Co-chair Torgerson passed the gavel to Senator Donley at                                                                       
approximately 10:15 a.m.)                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Yould continued.  He said there were some very                                                                              
important dockets and did not want to see them diluted.                                                                         
They would also rather see the merged name a little more                                                                        
basic.  Another issue they strongly concurred with was the                                                                      
inclusion of a strong management information system.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Adams will sponsor the information of proposed                                                                          
amendments being suggested by the testifier (Eric Yould).                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The secretary logged this in as amendment #9 by Senator                                                                         
Adams.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JUDY BRADY, AOGCC testified via teleconference from                                                                             
Anchorage.   AOGCC was operating fine and she hoped that                                                                        
the Legislature would deal with the right merger lines                                                                          
regarding APUC.  She related a time when the AOGCC was                                                                          
going to be placed in the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                      
She felt the function of the two groups was completely                                                                          
different from each other.  She said the sponsor has not                                                                        
dealt with the AOGCC expertise correctly.  The combination                                                                      
of the two agencies has not been properly considered.                                                                           
There were other concerns regarding the transfer of the                                                                         
pipeline from APUC to AOGCC without a review by LB&A.  She                                                                      
hoped there would be sufficient time for them to comment on                                                                     
this concern specifically during the legislative process.                                                                       
Integrity of the companies was important during the change.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips asked that Ms. Brady send her comments in                                                                      
written form to the committee.  She responded that it would                                                                     
be preferable for them.  Senator Phillips said he would                                                                         
call Ms. Brady and discuss this issue further with her.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARK WORESTER, ARCO Alaska, testified via teleconference                                                                        
from Anchorage.  He said his testimony was related to                                                                           
production.  ARCO appreciates the recognition in the latest                                                                     
draft of the bill, however, they do not understand nor                                                                          
desire the rushing into the combination of the two                                                                              
commissions without further consideration and study.  ARCO                                                                      
is concerned with the transfer to AOGCC.  He said a good                                                                        
understanding of the functions of AOGCC and APUC should be                                                                      
considered before any merger.  APUC focuses on access and                                                                       
charges for intrastate shipping.  ARCO does not feel there                                                                      
has been enough time to study merger of pipeline.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
TIM COOK, APUC testified via teleconference from Anchorage.                                                                     
He advised he only wanted to observe.  STEVE MULDER via                                                                         
teleconference from Anchorage was only available for                                                                            
observation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUGLAS NEELEY, testified from Glennallen.  He asked                                                                            
Senator Green directly regarding "garbage".  Co-chair                                                                           
Torgerson responded that Senator Green's amendment #8 would                                                                     
leave law and statute regarding "garbage" as is.  He said                                                                       
they are not in a borough, municipality and need some sort                                                                      
of regulation to protect their area.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
(There was brief miscellaneous discussion between Mr. Neely                                                                     
and the committee.)                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SHARON DANIEL, representing Copper Basin Refuse, testified                                                                      
from Glennallen.  She said she supported amendment #8 by                                                                        
Senator Green.  She felt regulations were needed.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson advised he would HOLD the bill in                                                                            
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
(pause on record)                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson then called HB 94.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 HOUSE BILL NO. 94                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
"An Act removing employees of the Alcoholic Beverage                                                                            
Control Board from the exempt service."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK HARMON, staff to Representative Pete Kott was                                                                           
invited to join the committee.  He read a brief sponsor                                                                         
statement into the record.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DOUG GRIFFIN testified before the committee via                                                                                 
teleconference from Anchorage.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Kelly suggested the committee support the bill.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips MOVED HB 94 and WITHOUT OBJECTION it was                                                                       
reported out with individual recommendations and zero                                                                           
fiscal note from the Department of Revenue, ABC Board.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson reviewed the possible schedule for                                                                           
tomorrow.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Torgerson adjourned the committee until 9:00 a.m.                                                                      
tomorrow.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SFC-99 (9) 04/29/99                                                                                                             

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