Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/30/2002 04:43 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                          April 30, 2002                                                                                      
                              4:43 PM                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPES                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SFC-02 # 82, Side A                                                                                                             
SFC 02 # 82, Side B                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Pete  Kelly convened the meeting at approximately  4:43 PM.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dave Donley, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Loren Leman                                                                                                             
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Also Attending:  REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN COGHILL;  REPRESENTATIVE  DREW                                                          
SCALZI;  SENATOR  GENE  THERRIAULT;  MARY  MCDOWELL,  Commissioner,                                                             
Division  of Commercial  Fisheries Entry  Commission, Department  of                                                            
Fish and Game;  DENNY DEWITT, Staff to Representative  Eldon Mulder;                                                            
PHIL CUTLER, staff to Co-Chair Donley                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Attending via Teleconference:  From Cordova: SUE ASPELUND, Executive                                                          
Director, Cordova District Fishermen United; Offnet: DON JOHNSON                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 160-REPORTING OF ABORTIONS                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard testimony  from the  sponsor, adopted  a fiscal                                                            
note for the Department  of Health and Social Services, and reported                                                            
the bill from Committee.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 504-WAGES FOR WORKERS IN FISHERIES                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The bill was reported from Committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HB 288-LIMITED ENTRY BUY-BACK PROGRAM/ASSESSMENT                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard testimony from  the sponsor, the Department  of                                                            
Fish and  Game, and  took public  testimony. The  bill was  reported                                                            
from Committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 515-OPERATING BUDGET MISSIONS AND MEASURES                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the sponsor, considered  and adopted three                                                            
amendments, and reported the bill from Committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 160(JUD)                                                                                             
     "An Act requiring the reporting of induced terminations of                                                                 
     pregnancies."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN  COGHILL,  sponsor of  the bill,  informed  the                                                            
Committee  this legislation  would  require physicians  to report  a                                                            
termination  of   a  pregnancy  to  the  State's  Bureau   of  Vital                                                            
Statistics  within 30  days and  require  the Bureau  to publish  an                                                            
annual report  of the findings. He stated this data  is valuable for                                                            
numerous  reasons  including:  policy decisions  based  on  abortion                                                            
data, related  health policy decisions,  and teen pregnancy  issues.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill explained that Section 1 of  the legislation                                                            
establishes  the  procedures for  the  reporting. He  conveyed  that                                                            
these procedures  are fashioned after  similar legislation  in place                                                            
in many other states.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill stated subsection  (d) of Section  1 defines                                                            
the  information that  would  be included  in the  annual  statistic                                                            
report produced  by the Bureau  of Vital  Statistics. He noted  that                                                            
the  names  of  the  physician,  the  facility  where  the  abortion                                                            
occurred, and  the name of the community the woman  resided in would                                                            
not be  included  in the  report. He  specified  that the  aggregate                                                            
statistical  information would  be reported  according to  federally                                                            
defined standards regarding induced termination of pregnancies.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  informed the Committee that Sections 3 and 4                                                            
of this  legislation  authorize the  Bureau of  Vital Statistics  to                                                            
report  specified  information  regarding   induced  termination  of                                                            
pregnancies.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill   commented  that  Section  8  of  the  bill                                                            
contains a new  paragraph addressing the difference  in reporting of                                                            
a stillborn or miscarriage pregnancy and an induced abortion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Coghill  conveyed   that   the  State's  House   of                                                            
Representatives supports this legislation.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly asked, "how  broad is this information": specifically                                                            
whether it would contain demographic information.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill responded  there is  a model reporting  form                                                            
included in  the members' packets  [copy on file] that reflects  the                                                            
types  of  information  the  report  would  include  such  as:  "the                                                            
education level,  the race, the gestational period."   He stated the                                                            
report  would  supply  a  limited,  but  not regional,  demographic                                                             
profile.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Donley   asked   the  vote   tally   of  the   House   of                                                            
Representatives in passing this bill.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill replied it passed unanimously.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman  asked if  information specifying  the reason  for the                                                            
abortion  would be  available as  that type  of medical information                                                             
"could  be helpful  to  future lawmakers"  in  "establishing  social                                                            
policy in this State."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  stated that "just the type of pregnancy, the                                                            
gestational  period that it's in,  and those types of things"  would                                                            
be identified  according to public  policy. He continued  that he is                                                            
not sure if asking "the  motive" behind a termination of a pregnancy                                                            
would be allowed  or would need to  be worded in such a manner  that                                                            
the resulting  information would be  too broad as to not  be useful.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman responded  this information  exists  on a  nationwide                                                            
level,   and  suggested   this   legislation  could   require   this                                                            
information specifically for Alaska.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill  stated  that  Alaska  is  included  in  the                                                            
averages of the national  reports, and stated this legislation would                                                            
provide similar information for the State.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley asked  if the  sponsor supports  the Department  of                                                            
Health and  Social Services  $90,000 fiscal  note accompanying  this                                                            
bill as, he  opined, it is one of  the largest fiscal notes  to come                                                            
before the Committee this year.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill  replied "it  could  be zeroed  out" as  the                                                            
Center for  Disease Control (CDC)  "does have funding available  for                                                            
information  gathering in  these circumstances."  He furthered  that                                                            
the  Department  indicates  it  would need  to  hire  an  additional                                                            
"quarter person  per quarter" to fulfill the additional  duties this                                                            
legislation would incur;  however, he opined, other funding could be                                                            
sought.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley  offered  a motion  to replace  the  Department  of                                                            
Health  and Social  Services'  $89,400 fiscal  note  with a  Finance                                                            
Committee zero fiscal note.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman  noted the Department has demonstrated  the ability to                                                            
secure funding for projects  that the Legislature has not supported;                                                            
therefore,  he agrees  the  Department "would  have  the ability  to                                                            
absorb" the expenses this legislation might incur.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Hoffman  objected   and  stated   that  contrary   to  the                                                            
Department's  FY 02 budget,  the FY  03 budget  might not allow  for                                                            
this absorption.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator Austerman,  Senator Leman, Senator Olson, Co-Chair                                                            
Donley, Co-Chair Kelly                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator Hoffman                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ABSENT: Senator Wilken, Senator Green, Senator Ward                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The motion PASSED (5-1-3)                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The motion  to allow a zero  fiscal note to  accompany the  bill was                                                            
ADOPTED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman  "moved  to  report   HB #160   from  Committee  with                                                            
individual  recommendations  and the  accompanying  adjusted  fiscal                                                            
note."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no objections,   CS HB  #160(JUD)  was  REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee  with   a  zero  fiscal  note,  dated  5/01/02   from  the                                                            
Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 504(FIN) am                                                                                          
     "An Act relating to the wages of people working in the                                                                     
     fisheries business."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the second  hearing for  this bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Austerman  offered   a  motion  to  report  the  bill  from                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley  objected, stating  this legislation should  be held                                                            
until separate  minimum wage legislation currently  under discussion                                                            
in the Legislature is determined.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN  FAVOR:  Senator  Olson,  Senator  Austerman,   Senator  Hoffman,                                                            
Senator Leman, Co-Chair Kelly                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Co-Chair Donley                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ABSENT: Senator Ward, Senator Wilken, Senator Green                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The motion PASSED (5-1-3)                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CS HB #504(FIN)am  was REPORTED from Committee with  a previous zero                                                            
fiscal  note,  dated  4/16/02  from  the  Department  of  Labor  and                                                            
Workforce Development.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 5:01 PM / 5:02 PM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 288(FIN) am                                                                                          
     "An  Act relating to  commercial fishing  limited entry  permit                                                            
     buy-back  programs,  to a permit  buy-back  assessment, and  to                                                            
     voluntary  relinquishment  of commercial  fishing permits;  and                                                            
     defining 'optimum number.'"                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DREW SCALZI informed the Committee  this legislation                                                            
addresses repurchasing  commercial  fishing permits. He stated  that                                                            
current State  statutes allow this  buy-back provision; however,  it                                                            
has  been problematic  and  never implemented  because  "an  optimum                                                            
number  study has to  be conducted  in order to  establish what  the                                                            
economic  level is that would  support the  fishery, but yet  not go                                                            
below a certain  level to not make  it too exclusive." He  continued                                                            
that once  the optimum  number study is  completed, current  statute                                                            
"mandates that there be  a buy-back." He stated that similar optimum                                                            
number  studies   have  been  considered   by  different   fisheries                                                            
throughout  the  State,  but not  implemented  because  of  concerns                                                            
regarding the requirement  to purchase the permits, coupled with the                                                            
inability  to predict when  the permits would  become available.  He                                                            
furthered that  the current statute  specifies that, in addition  to                                                            
purchasing  the commercial fishing  permit, the fishing industry  is                                                            
also required to purchase the vessels and gear.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Scalzi informed the  Committee that this  bill would                                                            
allow  for the  purchase of  the permit  without  the obligation  to                                                            
purchase the  vessel and the gear.  He stressed that the  bill would                                                            
additionally allow the  buy-back to be studied "voluntarily" without                                                            
mandating a buy-back.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly asked what  funding source would be available for the                                                            
buy-back program.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Scalzi  responded   that  the  State's   Commercial                                                            
Fisheries Entry Commission  envisioned creating a loan program to be                                                            
funded  by a tax  of up  to seven  percent assessed  on the  fishing                                                            
industry. He stated the  tax would be collected by the Department of                                                            
Revenue.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MARY MCDOWELL, Commissioner,  Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission,                                                            
Department of Fish and  Game, stated the funding mechanism currently                                                            
in place for  the buy-back program  law is unconstitutional  because                                                            
it  mandates a  dedicated  fund to  be funded  by  an assessment  on                                                            
fishermen. She  qualified that another problem with  the current law                                                            
is that  the Entry Commission  would be  responsible for  collecting                                                            
the money assessed  on the fishing  industry for the dedicated  buy-                                                            
back fund; however,  the Commission does not have  taxing authority.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell elaborated  that this proposed legislation  would allow                                                            
the fund  to operate  similar to  the operation  of the Aquaculture                                                             
Assessment  by  Alaska  Seafood  Marketing   Institute  (ASMI).  She                                                            
continued  that the new  process would entail  the Entry  Commission                                                            
undertaking an optimum  number of permits study to determine whether                                                            
a buy-back  program  should be  undertaken. Ms.  McDowell  continued                                                            
that  if an optimum  number  study determined  there  were too  many                                                            
permits in a fishery,  a buy-back program would be  established, and                                                            
the Commission  would work  with the industry  to develop an  action                                                            
plan to establish a tax  levy for the fishermen. She stated this tax                                                            
would  be assessed  on the  "fish tickets,"  a common  practice  for                                                            
levying taxes in the fishing  industry by the Department of Revenue.                                                            
She  stated  the  Commission   would  request  the  Legislature   to                                                            
appropriate  funds to the  buy-back program;  thereby, enabling  the                                                            
fund to be a constitutionally approved funding mechanism.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell continued  that language currently under  discussion in                                                            
HB  286  would  create  a  mechanism  whereby   the  industry  could                                                            
establish  its own  program  to buy-back  permits,  would allow  the                                                            
Entry  Commission the  leeway to  discuss options  for the  buy-back                                                            
funding source  mechanism, and would allow for the  establishment of                                                            
the assessment  level. She remarked  this process would essentially                                                             
tax the remaining  fishermen who would  be "making a better  living"                                                            
because with  fewer fishermen  in the fishery,  the remaining  fleet                                                            
would, "hopefully, earn more revenue."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman voiced  concern that if a buy-back price for permits                                                            
is  not determined,  a  reduction  of the  number  of  permits in  a                                                            
fishery  could  result   in  the  remaining  permits   becoming  too                                                            
expensive.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Scalzi replied this could occur; however, if a buy-                                                              
back plan were  established, the individual  fishermen could  decide                                                            
if they wished to sell or purchase at the established price.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green  asked for clarification whether individual  fishermen                                                            
or a fishing industry group  could participate in the buy-back plan.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell  explained that  the State would  establish a  buy-back                                                            
plan  and  notify  the  industry  that  a pool  of  money  would  be                                                            
available to purchase  permits. She noted that permit  holders would                                                            
decide whether  to sell their  permits at  the price established  in                                                            
the  plan, and  that the  number  of permits  bought  back would  be                                                            
determined by the amount of money in the pool.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Scalzi stated the optimum number study  is "the key"                                                            
to the program. He hypothesized  that if 100 permits existed and the                                                            
study determined "30 to  be the optimum number that could be bought-                                                            
back without  making it  an exclusive fishery,"  the industry  could                                                            
decide to only  buy-back and be assessed  for 20 permits.  He stated                                                            
"it is  up to the  fishermen remaining  in the  industry to  control                                                            
their own destiny  on how much they would want to  pay." He reminded                                                            
the Committee  that the current law  gives the fishermen  no choice,                                                            
little flexibility, and  is not conducive for development of a plan.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley,   referring  to  an  Alaska  Supreme   Court  case                                                            
regarding a limited  entry program constitutional  amendment, voiced                                                            
his  understanding  that  there  is a  requirement  for  a  buy-back                                                            
program whenever  a fishery is endangered, and that  the funding for                                                            
the buy-back  program would be the  responsibility of the  people in                                                            
the industry.  He asked if this legislation is consistent  with that                                                            
ruling.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  McDowell  responded  that  the  Court  and the  law  have  been                                                            
consistent   in  supporting   the   State   Constitution   regarding                                                            
protection from allowing  a fishery from becoming too exclusive. She                                                            
stated  that more  harm  would result  from  the fishery  being  too                                                            
exclusive than  from having too many  fishermen in the fishery.  She                                                            
stressed  that the  study would  assist in determining  the  optimal                                                            
number of permits,  which is the constitutional concern.  She stated                                                            
the limited  entry program  is constitutional  as "long as it  is no                                                            
more exclusive than necessary  for the resource and the economics of                                                            
the  fishery."  She stressed  that  the  study  is crucial  in  this                                                            
determination.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley asked how  the funding mechanism in this legislation                                                            
conforms to the  Supreme Court ruling specifying that  funds be from                                                            
the fishermen.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell  voiced uncertainty  that the  Court has established  a                                                            
funding source;  however,  she noted the  Court has determined  that                                                            
the funding  mechanism currently in  place "doesn't work  because of                                                            
the dedicated  fund problem."  She stated  the proposed legislation                                                             
corrects this problem.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Hoffman   asked  what   factors   are  included   in   the                                                            
determination of the optimum number of permits.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell  informed the Committee  that the optimum number  study                                                            
could  be  a  lengthy  process  and  involves  a  full  analysis  of                                                            
biological  and  economic  factors  including  such things  as:  the                                                            
average  fish price;  the  average overhead  including  crew  costs,                                                            
average earnings,  average food costs  and debt load. She  continued                                                            
that the study takes into  consideration net earnings, net costs and                                                            
biological factors.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  McDowell  stated  that  the definition  of  the  term  "optimum                                                            
number" is  one of the  most valuable components  of this bill.  She                                                            
explained this term "as  being a range" instead of the current "one"                                                            
number; thereby  allowing the number  to vary based on a  variety of                                                            
pertinent factors.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley  asked if, in addition  to the determination  of the                                                            
optimum  number, whether  the  number of  permits  considered for  a                                                            
"threatened" fishery would affect the buy-back program.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell stated that  conservation is a primary consideration of                                                            
the buy back program, the  other being to avoid economic distress of                                                            
the fishing  industry. She  stated "it is  a balancing act"  and the                                                            
optimum number takes these factors into consideration.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley asked how  a threatened fishery affects the buy-back                                                            
equation under this legislation.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  McDowell stated  that  "the balancing  act"  of conserving  the                                                            
resource  and ensuring  a viable  economic industry  are taken  into                                                            
consideration.  She  informed the  Committee  that there  is also  a                                                            
provision  in this  bill that allows  individual  permit holders  to                                                            
relinquish their permits at any time.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  asked, when talking about the fishery  resource, if                                                            
the optimum  number  factors in  subsistence fishing  and the  sport                                                            
fishing industry.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell  stated that  the optimum  number is  based on  what is                                                            
allocated to that  specific fishery and whether "someone  can make a                                                            
living and the resource can be conserved" within that fishery.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman asked  if the number  is determined  on a  seasonal                                                            
basis.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell qualified  that this number does not vary year to year,                                                            
but rather  is determined  over time. She  stated that if a  fishery                                                            
experiences  a  considerable  change, then  another  optimum  number                                                            
study might be conducted.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  asked who  makes the  determination  that  another                                                            
study is needed.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  McDowell  responded,  "there is  not  a specific  mechanism  in                                                            
place" for determining  what would trigger an optimum  number study;                                                            
and, at  this point,  usually it  would be a  determination  that "a                                                            
fishery is  getting too  exclusive or overloaded."  She stated  that                                                            
conducting an optimum number  study "is a big undertaking" and would                                                            
require staff to "put other work aside."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Scalzi stated  this bill, along  with HB 286,  which                                                            
addresses  Fishing  Permits,  Associations   and  Assessments,  "are                                                            
viewed as tools  by the industry to help them help  themselves."  He                                                            
stated there is no fiscal note accompanying this bill.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Scalzi,  referring  to Co-Chair  Donley's  questions                                                            
regarding conservation  of a fishery, noted this issue  is addressed                                                            
in "the  North Pacific  Management  Council under  the Magnuson  Act                                                            
which does have a buy-back  provision for conservation purposes." He                                                            
stated the  Magnuson Act also includes  language specifying,  "there                                                            
could be no re-allocation  of the resource to another  user group as                                                            
the resource  has to  be dedicated  to pay that  buy-back back."  He                                                            
stated this is  the only conservation buy-back proposal  he is aware                                                            
of.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman  asked if this fund  could include money from  sources                                                            
other than the  fishing permit holders as this process  could affect                                                            
other groups.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Scalzi stated the legislation does  provide for this                                                            
option. He  stated, "if he  was going to be  involved in a  buy-back                                                            
program, he would want  those checks and balances in to make sure we                                                            
are going  to have  enough of the  wherewithal to  pay it back."  He                                                            
stressed this  is the reason it is  so important for the  program to                                                            
be voluntary.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman asked if  the Department  of Revenue recommendations                                                             
included  in  their   March  5,  2002  fiscal  note  analysis   were                                                            
incorporated in the bill.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms McDowell  responded that those  recommendations were adopted  and                                                            
included in the CS for HB #288(FIN)am.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SUE ASPELUND, Executive  Director, Cordova District Fishermen United                                                            
which represents  fishermen and their  families in the Cooper  River                                                            
and Prince William Sound  regions, testified via teleconference from                                                            
Cordova and voiced  support for this bill. She stressed  it includes                                                            
important   changes  to  the  existing   buy-back  program   and  is                                                            
appropriate to the changing  needs of Alaska's fishing industry. She                                                            
urged the Committee to support the bill.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DON JOHNSON, testified  offnet from Soldotna in support of the bill;                                                            
however, he voiced concern  about the lack of a defined mechanism to                                                            
trigger a new optimum number  study to be conducted, and asked for a                                                            
"more precise mechanism"  to be determined. He then pointed out that                                                            
the legal definition  for the optimum number of permits  established                                                            
for a particular area,  as defined under AS 16.43.290, is determined                                                            
by the economic  health of the commercial  industry, maintenance  of                                                            
biological  health of the  fishery, and the  economical hardship  of                                                            
the industry.  He voiced  concern that the  optimum number  does not                                                            
factor in the  public's viewpoint,  and he suggested this  also be a                                                            
consideration  as subsistence  needs  and economic  hardship of  the                                                            
public  is  important.  He continued  this  would  also need  to  be                                                            
addressed in AS 16.43.300.  He reiterated that the needs and desires                                                            
of  the public  should  be  a factor  in the  determination  of  the                                                            
optimal number of permits.  He contended this is a good bill, but it                                                            
needs some "fine-tuning."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McDowell  responded that once  the Limited Entry Commission  has                                                            
made  its determination  on what  the optimum  number  should be,  a                                                            
public comment  period is required  which would allow the  public to                                                            
participate in the process.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley offered  a motion to  "move the  CS for House  Bill                                                            
288(FIN) amended from Committee  with individual recommendations and                                                            
three accompanying fiscal notes."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objections,  CS  HB 288(FIN)am  was  REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee  with  a  zero  fiscal  note,   dated  2/01/02,  from  the                                                            
Department  of Fish  and Game; a  zero fiscal  note, dated  3/05/02,                                                            
from  the   Treasury  Division,  Department   of  Revenue;   and  an                                                            
indeterminate fiscal note,  dated 3/05/02, from the Division of Tax,                                                            
Department of Revenue.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 5:28 PM / 5:30 PM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 515(FIN) am                                                                                          
     "An  Act relating  to missions  and measures  to be applied  to                                                            
     certain   expenditures  by  the   executive  branch   of  state                                                            
     government  and the University  of Alaska  and by the  judicial                                                            
     branch of state government  from the state operating budget for                                                            
     the  fiscal year  ending June  30, 2003; and  providing  for an                                                            
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DENNY DEWITT,  Staff to  Representative Eldon  Mulder, explained  to                                                            
the Committee that this  is a missions and measures bill, which is a                                                            
component of the  FY 03 budget. He stated this bill  is a continuing                                                            
process, established approximately  six years earlier, to review the                                                            
accomplishments  of and to monitor  the State's agencies.  He stated                                                            
that subcommittees of both  the State's House of Representatives and                                                            
the Senate  have focused  on attempting to  keep data as uniform  as                                                            
possible  to   generate  information   that  could  be  used   as  a                                                            
performance  gauge from  year to year.  He stated  the missions  and                                                            
measures' goal  is not to be too issue-specific, but  rather to keep                                                            
performance  goals general  at the policy  issue level. He  stressed                                                            
this  is a  continuing process  and  discussions  are becoming  more                                                            
focused on accomplishing  the specified measurements  and the return                                                            
the State is receiving  from investing its resources  in each of the                                                            
agencies.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 82, Side B 05:34 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  #2: This amendment  inserts new  language to Section  66,                                                            
the Department  of  Environmental  Conservation,  Division of  Spill                                                            
Prevention  and Response on page 25,  following line 30,  to read as                                                            
follows.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     (8) average time to approve oil spill prevention contingency                                                               
     plans as compared to the prior year.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman moved for  adoption of Amendment #2 and explained this                                                            
amendment would  insert a new measure  into the bill to address  the                                                            
average time of approving  an oil spill prevention contingency plan.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment #2 was ADOPTED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #3: This amendment  inserts new language to Section 3, the                                                            
Department  of  Administration,  on  page  2,  line  6, to  read  as                                                            
follows.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          (2) reasonable but not excessive legal and advocacy                                                                   
     services for indigent Alaskans.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
This amendment also inserts  in Section 4, Administration, Office of                                                            
the Commissioner,  on page 2, following  line 16, new paragraphs  to                                                            
read as follows.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          (3) number of work initiatives implemented that resulted                                                              
     in more efficient ways to perform the department's mission                                                                 
     compared to the prior year.                                                                                                
          (4) innovative ways the department uses to improve the                                                                
     state's compliance with the merit system requirement while                                                                 
     reducing costs.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Additionally this amendment  inserts a new paragraph into Section 8,                                                            
Administration,  Division of  Personnel, on  page 3, following  line                                                            
30, to read as follows.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          (5) number of workers given merit increases for truly                                                                 
     meritorious performance compared to the number of workers                                                                  
     denied merit increases.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
This amendment also inserts  into Section 18, Administration, Public                                                            
Defender  Agency, on page  7, following line  2, a new paragraph  to                                                            
read as follows.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          (4)  wins and losses of appeals compared  with the private                                                            
     sector.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
This  amendment   also  inserts  into  Section  31,  Department   of                                                            
Community and  Economic Development, Rural Energy  Programs, on page                                                            
11, following line 21, a new paragraph to read as follows.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          (5)  number of communities  that have become self-reliant                                                             
     in fully maintaining their power systems.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Additionally  this amendment inserts  new language into Section  32,                                                            
Department  of Community  and Economic Development,  Alaska  Science                                                            
and Technology  Foundation,  on page 11, lines  27 - 30,  subsection                                                            
(b). The amended language reads as follows:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          (1)  the number  of  new jobs  created in  the state  from                                                            
     technology projects;                                                                                                       
          (2) project diversity;                                                                                                
          (3)   the  new  revenue  to  the  state  from   technology                                                            
     projects;                                                                                                                  
          (4)  the  percentage  of technology  project  grantees  in                                                            
     business in the state because of ASTF grants;                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
This amendment  additionally deletes  and inserts new language  into                                                            
Section  33,  Department  of  Community  and Economic  Development,                                                             
Alaska Seafood  Marketing Institute,  on page 12, lines 9  and 10 to                                                            
read as follows.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          (a)(3)   accomplish    these   marketing   efforts   while                                                            
     maximizing ASMI staff who are Alaska residents and under ASMI                                                              
     employment in Alaska.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
This amendment  also inserts  language into  Section 33,  subsection                                                            
(b)(3)  on  page  12,  line  15, following   "Alaska."  The  amended                                                            
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          (3)  percentage of ASMI  staff that resides in  Alaska and                                                            
     average salaries of Alaska staff compared to out-of-state                                                                  
     staff.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
This  amendment  also  inserts  a new  paragraph  into  Section  39,                                                            
Department of  Corrections, Office of the Commissioner,  on page 14,                                                            
following line 16 to read as follows.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          (5) compliance with statutory requirements for                                                                        
      facilities, including the Alaska No Frills Prison Act."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Additionally  on  page 14,  line 28  in  Section 40,  Department  of                                                            
Corrections,  Division  of Administrative  Services,  the  amendment                                                            
deletes "audit exemptions"  and inserts "audits" so that the amended                                                            
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          (5) number of outstanding audit exceptions divided by the                                                             
     audits during the fiscal year.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
In Section  80, Department of Health  and Social Services,  Division                                                            
of Juvenile Justice,  on page 31, following line 28,  this amendment                                                            
inserts a new paragraph to read as follows.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          (5) satisfaction of the victims of juvenile crime with                                                                
     the juvenile justice system.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Additionally  under Section  144, Department  of Transportation  and                                                            
Public  Facilities, Division  of  Statewide Design  and Engineering                                                             
Services,  on page 54 following  line 13;  this amendment inserts  a                                                            
new paragraph to read as follows.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          (7) number of miles of roads that have a level of service                                                             
     rating of E or F compared to the prior year.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
This amendment  also inserts language  into Section 151,  Department                                                            
of Transportation  and  Public  Facilities, Marine  Highway  System,                                                            
page 56, line 24, following "system" to read as follows.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 151.  DOT/PF - Marine Highway  System. (a) The  mission of                                                            
     the Alaska  Marine Highway System  is to assist in meeting  the                                                            
     transportation   needs   of  the  traveling   public  and   the                                                            
     communities   served  by the  system   while  prioritizing  and                                                            
     maximizing access to service by Alaska residents."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
In conclusion,  this amendment inserts a new paragraph  into Section                                                            
151, on page 57, line 3 to read as follows.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          (6) development of a reservation and pricing system that                                                              
     prioritizes use by Alaska residents.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley moved for adoption of Amendment #3.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley read the  amendment language  to the Committee.  He                                                            
explained  that   this  amendment  contains  both  substantive   and                                                            
technical changes.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman,  referring  to  Amendment   #3 language   concerning                                                            
Section  8,  Administration,  Division  of  Personnel,  on  page  3,                                                            
following  line  30  about  the  "number   of  workers  given  merit                                                            
increases for  truly meritorious performance compared  to the number                                                            
of workers  denied merit  increases," questioned  if "it would  make                                                            
more sense" to  compare the number of workers given  merit increases                                                            
for truly meritorious  performance compared to "the  total number of                                                            
workers."  He  voiced concern  "that  many  workers are  just  being                                                            
advanced and given merit increases just for being there."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly stated  that  the wording  of this  amendment  would                                                            
provide  a   percentage  of  the   total.  He  continued   that  the                                                            
information this amendment  language provides would show whether the                                                            
merit  system  truly  reflects  deserving  work or  just  masks  "an                                                            
automatic advance system."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman  reasoned   that  if  this  language  would   provide                                                            
pertinent data it is acceptable.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley continued  that within  the past  few years  "there                                                            
have been serious  allegations that the Public Defenders  Agency had                                                            
a  reputation for  appealing  cases  that did  not have  merit."  He                                                            
commented  that this amendment  would compare  the number of  Public                                                            
Defenders  Agency  wins and  losses  of appeals  with  those of  the                                                            
private sector  as a measure from  which to draw a conclusion  as to                                                            
whether the allegations have merit.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley   continued  explaining   the  provisions   of  the                                                            
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward  informed the  Committee of a  program proposed  by the                                                            
Commissioner of  the Department of Corrections that  would allow for                                                            
the  early release  of  felons. He  voiced  his opposition  to  this                                                            
program  and inquired  if this could  be addressed  in this  bill by                                                            
requiring  that "the Commissioner  should  enforce the sentences  of                                                            
the Legislature  and the  judges and juries  concerning felons."  He                                                            
stated the understanding  that the Department's intent of this early                                                            
release  program is  to alleviate  overcrowding in  the prisons.  He                                                            
noted  the  intent  is  that  the  early  release  felons  would  be                                                            
electronically monitored.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Dewitt stated he is  familiar with this program, and expected it                                                            
to be addressed in a Conference Committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Austerman  voiced a point-of-order as there  is an amendment                                                            
on the table.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward stated  his desire to have the early  release of felons                                                            
program concern  addressed  as an amendment  to the amendment  as he                                                            
thought this would  be the appropriate place to address  the matter.                                                            
He  continued that  he  has received  multiple  communications  from                                                            
individuals voicing concern  that the Commissioner is making release                                                            
decisions  contrary  to those  of  the Legislature  and  judges  and                                                            
juries.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly interjected  this would lean toward being a change in                                                            
Alaska  Statutes  rather  than  an amendment  in  the  missions  and                                                            
measures bill before the Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward reiterated his concern.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly  asked  Senator  Ward to  submit  his  amendment  in                                                            
written form.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward agreed to do so.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman, referring  to language in  the Amendment  concerning                                                            
how victims  of  juvenile crime  rate the  success  of the  Juvenile                                                            
Justice System,  asked how  a response would  be solicited  from the                                                            
victims.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley replied that  the Department  of Health and  Social                                                            
Services reports  they have established  a rapport with victims  and                                                            
would therefore talk with them to solicit feedback.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PHIL CUTLER, Staff  to Co-Chair Dave Donley, informed  the Committee                                                            
that one  of the missions  and measures proposed  in this  amendment                                                            
for  the  Department   of  Transportation   and  Public   Facilities                                                            
addresses highway  congestion. He explained there  is a term labeled                                                            
"level of service"  which provides  a rating of "A" to "F"  based on                                                            
what percentage of time  a major highway is congested and inhibiting                                                            
the free  movement of  traffic. He  stated the rating  of "E  and F"                                                            
indicates that  a highway is congested  more than 90 percent  of the                                                            
time.  Mr.  Cutler  continued  that  the  amendment  language  would                                                            
measure  how well the  Department addresses  improving those  highly                                                            
congested roads "which  costs businesses and people time and money."                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley  clarified that  the  measure of  the Department's                                                             
success would be whether  progress had been made from the prior year                                                            
reflected by a better rating.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley concluded his reading of the amendment details.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment #3 was ADOPTED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 5:51 PM / 6:00 PM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #4:  This amendment inserts  language to Section  82, page                                                            
32, line 23 as follows.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     (7) number of juvenile clients who return for treatment within                                                             
     6 and 12 months of being discharged from a residential alcohol                                                             
     or drug abuse treatment program.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley moved for adoption of Amendment #4.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GENE THERRIAULT,  explained  that this  amendment  contains                                                            
language to  assist in gauging the  affects of the State's  juvenile                                                            
treatment programs  for drug and alcohol  abuse. He noted  the State                                                            
pays for  some residential  treatment  programs in  which youth  are                                                            
heavily monitored and isolated  in what is commonly referred to as a                                                            
"Spin-Dry" program;  however, the concern is there  is no counseling                                                            
provided  to  the  youth  to  "address  the  underlying   behavioral                                                            
problem."  He furthered  that, upon  release, the  youth often  fall                                                            
back into their "addictive  pattern." He stated this amendment would                                                            
assist in providing  data to determine the success  of the programs.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment #4 was ADOPTED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley  moved to report "CS for House Bill  #515 as amended                                                            
by this  Committee from  Committee with  individual recommendations                                                             
and accompanying zero fiscal note."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objections,  SCS CS HB #515(FIN)  was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee  with  a  zero fiscal  note  for  all  Departments,  dated                                                            
4/16/02, from the House Finance Committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Pete Kelly adjourned the meeting at 06:04 PM.                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects