Legislature(2001 - 2002)

05/11/2002 10:52 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                           May 11, 2002                                                                                       
                             10:52 AM                                                                                         
SFC-02 # 95,  Side A                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 95,  Side B                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 96,  Side A                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 97,  Side A                                                                                                            
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
Co-Chair Pete Kelly convened  the meeting at approximately 10:52 AM.                                                            
Senator Dave Donley, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Senator Gary  Wilken                                                                                                            
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donald Olson                                                                                                            
Senator Loren  Leman                                                                                                            
Also Attending:  REPRESENTATIVE  DREW SCALZI;  REPRESENTATIVE  PEGGY                                                          
WILSON;  REPRESENTATIVE JOE  HAYES; REPRESENTATIVE  GRETCHEN  GUESS;                                                            
DOUG MECUM, Director,  Division of Commercial Fisheries,  Department                                                            
of Fish and  Game; VERN JONES, Chief  Procurement Officer,  Division                                                            
of  General Services,  Department  of  Administration;  DOUG  LETCH,                                                            
Staff  to Senator  Ben Stevens;  CRYSTAL SMITH,  Special  Assistant,                                                            
Office  of  the Attorney  General,  Department  of  Law;  DR.  LARRY                                                            
LABOLLE,  Staff to Representative  Richard  Foster; JOHN  HANDELAND,                                                            
Employee, former Mayor, City of Nome                                                                                            
Attending  via  Teleconference:  From  Fairbanks:   MARY  WEYMILLER,                                                        
Licensed  Practical  Nurse   and Member,   Board  of  Nursing;  From                                                            
Anchorage: SALLY HUNTLEY,  Owner, Frontier Travel; BILL BECK, Owner,                                                            
Airlines-Online Travel Agency                                                                                                   
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
HB 208-AQUATIC FARMS FOR SHELLFISH                                                                                              
The Committee  heard from  the sponsor, the  Department of  Fish and                                                            
Game, and a representative  from the aquatic farm industry. The bill                                                            
was reported from Committee.                                                                                                    
HB 276-REGULATION OF NURSING                                                                                                    
The Committee  heard from the sponsor and the Board  of Nursing, and                                                            
reported the bill from Committee.                                                                                               
HB 300-PROCUREMENT OF TRAVEL SERVICES                                                                                           
The  Committee  heard  from  the bill's  sponsor,  the  Division  of                                                            
Procurements,   Department  of  Administration,   and  took   public                                                            
testimony from representatives  of the travel industry. The bill was                                                            
held in Committee, re-addressed, and reported from Committee.                                                                   
HB 382-CLEANUP OF ILLEGAL DRUG SITES                                                                                            
The Committee  heard  from the sponsor  and reported  the bill  from                                                            
HB 393-SALES OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES                                                                                          
The Committee  heard from  the sponsor, the  Department of  Law, and                                                            
the bill reported from Committee.                                                                                               
HB 239-VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PILOT PROGRAM                                                                                       
The Committee heard from  the sponsor and the City of Nome. The bill                                                            
reported from Committee.                                                                                                        
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 208(RES)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to aquatic farming of shellfish; and                                                                      
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  DREW SCALZI informed the Committee  that the Aquatic                                                            
Farm Act, enacted  by the State in 1988, was intended  to streamline                                                            
the process  of developing  aquatic  farms; however,  problems  have                                                            
arisen regarding  the Department of  Natural Resource's mariculture                                                             
review process through  which areas are selected for development. He                                                            
explained  that protests  from  individuals  not wishing  to have  a                                                            
mariculture operation  near their property or from  user groups such                                                            
as lodge owners,  have furthered these  problems. He explained  that                                                            
this bill proposes  to appropriate  money to the Department  of Fish                                                            
and Game to identify  appropriate sites and then coordinate  efforts                                                            
with  the   Department  of  Natural   Resources  to  finalize   site                                                            
selections. He  stated that 90 sites are identified  in this bill as                                                            
suitable for:  suspended culture sites for oysters  and mussels; on-                                                            
bottom little neck clams; and geoduck mariculture.                                                                              
Representative Scalzi asserted  that some of the 90 identified areas                                                            
might  incur "common-use"  conflicts  that would  require an  Alaska                                                            
Coastal Management  Plan review. He informed the Committee  that the                                                            
State  of Connecticut  has  50,000  acres  of land  similarly  under                                                            
lease, whereas Alaska,  with more coastline, currently has 500 acres                                                            
under lease. He  continued that this bill would improve  the current                                                            
process  by  providing  pre-selected  sites,  providing  for  public                                                            
hearings  in accordance  with  the Alaska  Coastal  Management  Plan                                                            
Review,  and establishing  the  land-lease component.  He  specified                                                            
that the annual lease fee  would be $350 for the first acre and $100                                                            
per each  additional acre,  and that, depending  on whether  half or                                                            
all of the sites were leased,  the accompanying $220,000 fiscal note                                                            
could  be recouped  in ten  years or  five years,  respectively.  He                                                            
stressed  that  this  legislation   would  establish  the  means  to                                                            
stimulate  new  economic development  in  coastal  communities,  and                                                            
surmised  that though the  process might be  slow; the potential  is                                                            
PAUL FUHS, Representative,  Alaska Trademark Shellfish,  voiced that                                                            
this  legislation  would  assist  an  industry  that  could  provide                                                            
benefits  to the  State.  He noted  that  the Department's  lack  of                                                            
support  for  mariculture  combined  with  citizen  opposition,  has                                                            
resulted in no  sites being available for the aquatic  industry, and                                                            
asserted that this legislation could provide the needed sites.                                                                  
Mr. Fuhs  pointed out  that industry concerns  regarding  wildstocks                                                            
are not addressed in this  legislation. He shared with the Committee                                                            
that the aquatic  industry has proposed  to temporarily harvest  and                                                            
then transplant wildstocks;  however, the Department has stated that                                                            
this "would  be a violation  of common property  use." He  continued                                                            
that because of the wildstock  issue, the industry is concerned that                                                            
the twenty sites pre-selected  in this legislation for the shellfish                                                            
industry  "would  have absolutely  no  animals  on them,"  which  is                                                            
indicative of "a bad habitat" for growing shellfish.                                                                            
Mr.  Fuhs  stated   that  the  organization  has  worked   with  the                                                            
Department  and the bill's sponsor  to resolve the habitat  concern.                                                            
However,  he stated  a "Catch 22"  exists in  establishing a  common                                                            
property  habitat  policy  because   the  Alaska  Court  System  has                                                            
declared that it could  not make a ruling on common property because                                                            
the Legislature  has not established  a policy, and the Legislature                                                             
states that  it could not  address the situation  because the  Court                                                            
has  not issued  a  ruling.  He asserted  that  this issue  must  be                                                            
resolved to allow the industry to move forward.                                                                                 
Co-Chair Kelly asked the testifier whether he supports the bill.                                                                
Mr. Fuhs relayed  that the organization holds a neutral  position on                                                            
the bill. He commented  that while the bill provides benefits to the                                                            
suspended  culture and little  neck clams  industries; it offers  no                                                            
benefits to the geoduck farming industry.                                                                                       
Senator Austerman expressed  support for the bill as it does contain                                                            
Mr. Fuhs concurred;  however, he declared  that the bill  should not                                                            
be necessary, and that  it is unfortunate that the Department is not                                                            
actively granting permits.                                                                                                      
Representative  Scalzi agreed  that there  are issues involving  the                                                            
existing geoduck  industry applicants; however, he  assured that the                                                            
Department  is committed to providing  leases and is addressing  the                                                            
issue "by  offering  sites where there  are no  standing stocks  and                                                            
that would certainly  take care of the problem of  common property."                                                            
He furthered,  "With issue of any  standing stocks, their  intent is                                                            
to have an open  access fishery, remove those stocks,  and then have                                                            
that  site suitable  for  farming."  He stated  that  the bill  does                                                            
attempt  to  address  the testifier's   concern  regarding  existing                                                            
geoduck applicants.                                                                                                             
Senator Austerman  stated that the concerns of the  geoduck industry                                                            
should  be addressed;  however, he  stressed  that this legislation                                                             
should not be  delayed as it encourages economic development  in the                                                            
Senator Austerman  remarked that he and two other  Committee members                                                            
traveled  to  Chile  to  witness  that  country's   aquatic  farming                                                            
operations,   and  he  attested   that  the   government  of   Chile                                                            
aggressively   supports   the  process.   He  stressed   that   this                                                            
legislation is an attempt  to get the State "moving in an aggressive                                                            
manner" to stimulate economic development.                                                                                      
Senator Green  asked whether issues raised in a letter  addressed to                                                            
Senators and Representatives  from Gary Zaugg, dated  March 13, 2002                                                            
[copy on file] are similar to those raised by Mr. Fuhs.                                                                         
Co-Chair Kelly confirmed the concerns are the same.                                                                             
Senator  Ward  asked  Mr.  Fuhs how  the  concerns  of  the  geoduck                                                            
industry could be addressed.                                                                                                    
Mr. Fuhs clarified  that except for  the common property  issue, the                                                            
Department of Fish and  Game has addressed other management concerns                                                            
raised by the industry.  He explained that the industry has proposed                                                            
a plan to conduct  an annual geoduck harvest involving  no more that                                                            
20 percent of the existing  resources and, as part of that plan, the                                                            
wildstocks   harvested  would   be  required   to  be  successfully                                                             
transplanted.  He  continued that  the  harvested resource  must  be                                                            
completely replaced  before the next 20 percent could  be harvested,                                                            
and he  attested,  this plan contains  the necessary  safeguards  to                                                            
expand the industry.                                                                                                            
Senator Ward  asked why this language  is not included in  the bill.                                                            
Representative   Scalzi  responded   that   efforts  were  made   to                                                            
incorporate the industry's  suggestions; however it was not included                                                            
due to  resistance  from the  Department of  Fish and  Game and  the                                                            
Department of Law regarding common property uses.                                                                               
Senator  Ward opined  that the  Department  of Law  and the  sponsor                                                            
"have opted  to let the  Court" System rather  than the Legislature                                                             
determine what should be included in the bill.                                                                                  
Representative  Scalzi responded that the omitted  language pertains                                                            
"to an existing  applicant, this is not something  that is out there                                                            
for anybody,  this is specific  to one or  two parties so for  those                                                            
reasons, it  is not. I believe the  Department of Law says,  [it is]                                                            
specific  to an  individual;  therefore,  it is  not constitutional                                                             
where everybody has the  same equal access to this proposal. My take                                                            
on  it, Senator,  is  that if  we changed  our  law,  which I  would                                                            
support  to make it  more like what  we do with  timber, you  have a                                                            
selected  site of geoducks  or little  necks and  you offer  to have                                                            
that for lease.  I think that that would be consistent  with what we                                                            
do for timber;  however, aquaculture and mariculture  does not apply                                                            
with our  Constitution.  Our Constitution  does not  apply the  same                                                            
standards  to those species,  so there would  need [to be]  a change                                                            
according to the Department of Law."                                                                                            
Co-Chair  Donley asked  which  fiscal notes  are  applicable to  the                                                            
House Resources committee substitute.                                                                                           
Senator  Wilken identified  the four corresponding  fiscal  notes by                                                            
AT EASE 11:07 AM /11:12 AM                                                                                                      
Senator Wilken  continued to clarify the fiscal notes  by Department                                                            
and date.                                                                                                                       
AT EASE 11:15 AM /11:16 AM                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Donley asked whether  departments could absorb the expenses                                                            
within their existing annual budgets.                                                                                           
Representative Scalzi responded  that some of the expenses are being                                                            
covered  through   existing  budgets,  and  he  exampled   that  the                                                            
Department  of Environmental  Conservation  currently performs  work                                                            
that this bill  would require, and therefore, it is  included in the                                                            
existing budgets.                                                                                                               
DOUG MECUM, Director,  Division of Commercial Fisheries,  Department                                                            
of Fish and Game stated  that the Department of Natural Resources is                                                            
primarily  involved in this  bill; however,  the Department  of Fish                                                            
and  Game  would  incur  additional  expenses   resulting  from  the                                                            
projected  intensive  public  process  and  the  resource  inventory                                                            
process this bill would require.                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley asked whether  funds were allotted when the original                                                            
program was adopted.                                                                                                            
Mr. Mecum  replied that  the program  was adopted  more than  twelve                                                            
years ago,  and since that  time, the Department's  budget  has been                                                            
reduced 30  percent. He surmised that  there is "little likelihood"                                                             
that additional monies were funded when the program was adopted.                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley   identified  that   the  Division  of   Commercial                                                            
Fisheries fiscal note contains  funds to employ scuba divers as well                                                            
as a seasonal biologist to assess potential sites.                                                                              
Mr. Mecum  stated  that, although  the original  fiscal request  was                                                            
higher;  the Department  collaborated  with  the  Shellfish  Growers                                                            
Association  to have the  Association absorb  some of the  workload,                                                            
which allowed the request  to be lowered to this level. He specified                                                            
that  $50,000 would  be required  to: conduct  the  dive surveys  to                                                            
identify  whether soil at  the sites are  biologically suitable;  to                                                            
identify the types  of standing stocks the areas support  as well as                                                            
the existing uses of an  area in order to not conflict with existing                                                            
aquatic life and land; and other traditional uses of the site.                                                                  
Co-Chair  Donley  asked for  assurance  that  the project  would  be                                                            
completed if funding were allotted.                                                                                             
Mr. Mecum answered  that the Department's obligations  would be met.                                                            
Representative  Scalzi stated  that the fiscal  note includes  lease                                                            
revenue, but does not include  the contributions to the general fund                                                            
resulting from  either the State Business  Tax or the Raw  Fish Tax.                                                            
Representative  Scalzi stressed that by dedicating  this funding the                                                            
Departments would be obligated to conduct the required work.                                                                    
Senator Wilken offered  a motion to "report Committee Substitute for                                                            
House  Bill  208  (Resources)   Version  'P'  from  Committee   with                                                            
individual  recommendations   and fiscal  notes  as  set  forth"  in                                                            
earlier discussion.                                                                                                             
There  being  no  objections,  CS  HB  208(RES)  was  REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee with  a new zero fiscal note dated February  28, 2002 from                                                            
the Department of Environmental  Conservation; a $98,300 fiscal note                                                            
dated March  12, 2002 from  the Department  of Natural Resources;  a                                                            
$50,000  fiscal   note  dated  April  21,  2002  from   Division  of                                                            
Commercial  Fisheries, Department  of Fish and Game; and  a previous                                                            
$72,500  fiscal  note dated  March  5,  2002  from the  Division  of                                                            
Habitat and Restoration, Department of Fish and Game.                                                                           
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 276(L&C)                                                                               
     "An Act relating to temporary permits and licenses by                                                                      
     endorsement issued by the Board of Nursing; and relating to                                                                
     the delegation of nursing duties."                                                                                         
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  PEGGY WILSON, the sponsor of the bill,  informed the                                                            
Committee  that this  legislation  would  update State  statutes  to                                                            
align  with  current  nursing  practices   by:  allowing  nurses  to                                                            
delegate  nursing   duties  to  other   personnel;  increasing   the                                                            
temporary licensing application  time period from four months to six                                                            
months  to   allow  sufficient  time   for  the  required   criminal                                                            
background  check; and provide  for changes  in statute language  to                                                            
comply with  current Division of Occupational  Licensing  practices.                                                            
Senator  Green informed the  Committee that  some employers  discuss                                                            
with prospective nursing  applicants the expectation that the nurses                                                            
would  delegate  certain   responsibilities  to  Certified   Nursing                                                            
Assistants (CNAs). She  noted that "great pressure" has been exerted                                                            
on  nurses  to  delegate  duties   even  when  the  nurses  are  not                                                            
comfortable  in doing so.  She asked Representative  Wilson  whether                                                            
this  bill would  supplant  a  Registered  Nurse's (RN)  ability  to                                                            
decide whether or not to delegate certain duties.                                                                               
Representative  Wilson  responded  that the  language  in this  bill                                                            
"definitely  does  not" undermine  an  RN's  ability to  make  those                                                            
decisions.   She  explained   that  there   are  strict  rules   and                                                            
regulations for nurses,  and nurses are very careful not to delegate                                                            
a duty  to an unqualified  individual as  this could jeopardize  the                                                            
nurse's license.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley  voiced concern  that  current State  statutes  are                                                            
vague regarding medical  staffing in the State's medical facilities,                                                            
and  he noted  that  other  states  "have more  specific  and  clear                                                            
statutes  regarding   the  proper  amount"  of  medical   personnel,                                                            
especially  nurses.   He  asserted  that  hospital  staffing   level                                                            
requirements in  the State are "dangerously low,"  and he questioned                                                            
whether  this  legislation  would result  in  a further  "strain  on                                                            
nurses" who, he asserted  are being asked to assume a wider range of                                                            
responsibilities.  He  furthered that  nurses are  constantly  being                                                            
asked  to update their  skills  and increase  their knowledge  about                                                            
newly introduced medications.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Donley stressed  that the increasing  complexities  of the                                                            
nursing  profession intensify  his concern  regarding delegation  of                                                            
duties. He  stated that the  Committee should  be cognizant  "of any                                                            
endangerment to the levels  of service" provided to patients because                                                            
of the  delegation of  nurses' duties  "as the  staffing is  already                                                            
under a lot  of strain because of  those cross-training things  that                                                            
are being forced on nurses now."                                                                                                
Senator  Olson advised  that this  legislation does  not propose  to                                                            
delegate   complicated  medicating   duties   or  other   high-skill                                                            
responsibilities   to  unlicensed   staffers,   but  rather   allows                                                            
qualified  personnel to  delegate some  "lesser duties  that tie  up                                                            
personnel" to subordinates.  He stated that this would allow a nurse                                                            
to  determine what,  if  any, responsibilities  could  be  delegated                                                            
which  would allow  the nurse  to address  more  critical needs.  He                                                            
exampled  that this legislation  would provide  a nurse in  a clinic                                                            
the authority  to delegate such "lesser duties" as  monitoring blood                                                            
pressure  rates to  a subordinate  in order  for the  nurse to  more                                                            
thoroughly  concentrate on someone  in critical condition  who needs                                                            
to be admitted to a hospital.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Donley  contented that, in addition to the  pressure placed                                                            
upon a  nurse to delegate  duties when concentrating  on a  critical                                                            
patient,  there  are circumstances  where  a  nurse might  be  under                                                            
"tremendous pressure  from the hospital," specifically  a for-profit                                                            
facility,  "to delegate more  and more of  their duties." He  stated                                                            
that he has  witnessed situations  where "nurses are being  asked to                                                            
do things  that they don't  really feel is  in the best interest  of                                                            
patients,  and yet the economic  pressure is  on them." He  stressed                                                            
that nurses  could be placed in a  "tough situation" and  ultimately                                                            
the license of the nurse, not the facility, is at stake.                                                                        
Representative  Wilson  explained  that during  a recent  review  of                                                            
nursing statutes  and regulations,  nurses found that several  long-                                                            
established practices,  including the delegation of  certain nursing                                                            
responsibilities,  are not  defined in current  statute. She  stated                                                            
that  this legislation  was  prompted  by  the Department  of  Law's                                                            
suggestion  that delegation authority  should be addressed  in State                                                            
statute.  She stressed that  the Board of  Nursing would define  the                                                            
parameters regarding which duties could be delegated.                                                                           
Co-Chair  Donley  asked  whether  individuals  who  draw  blood  are                                                            
required  to be licensed,  for it  appears that  delegation of  this                                                            
duty has become an established practice.                                                                                        
Representative   Wilson  voiced  that  she  does  not   support  the                                                            
delegation  of  this  responsibility;   however,  a  hospital  might                                                            
establish  this  practice.   She  stated  that  the  person  who  is                                                            
administering  the procedure  should  have practical  experience  to                                                            
know what they  are doing. She asserted that the majority  of nurses                                                            
would not delegate this responsibility.                                                                                         
Senator Olson,  [a medical  doctor] stated  that his experience  has                                                            
been primarily  in  clinics rather  than for-profit  hospitals,  and                                                            
that there  is a  misconception  that the "higher  licensed"  person                                                            
should  perform  a procedure  such  as drawing  blood;  however,  he                                                            
contended  that, even though  he has a "higher"  level of  training,                                                            
most nurses "and even nurses  aides" are more highly skilled in that                                                            
procedure than  he is. He stressed  that there should be  "a balance                                                            
to make sure that  you have the most skilled person"  performing the                                                            
procedure.  He  continued  that some  procedures  do not  require  a                                                            
licensed   individual   and  with   today's   staffing  situations,                                                             
"sometimes it is not practical."                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley clarified  that  his concern  involves "delegating                                                             
down"  rather  than   to  another  as  equal  or  higher   qualified                                                            
individual.  He  asked  whether  this  legislation   would  allow  a                                                            
hospital  administration  to exert  pressure on  nurses to  delegate                                                            
duties,  "such   as  the  drawing   of  blood  and  other   invasive                                                            
procedures," to lower level personnel.                                                                                          
Representative Wilson responded  that this bill would not change any                                                            
practice   that  is   currently   established,   but  rather   would                                                            
incorporate  established practices  into State  statute. She  stated                                                            
that  this   incorporation   and  clear   identification  of   which                                                            
established practices  nurses could delegate would  serve to protect                                                            
Senator  Olson asked  whether Bush  Alaska's health  aides would  be                                                            
affected by this legislation.                                                                                                   
Representative  Wilson reiterated  that this  legislation would  not                                                            
incur any changes to established practices.                                                                                     
Senator Olson  clarified that health  aide's positions would  not be                                                            
Representative Wilson concurred.                                                                                                
Senator Olson,  addressing Co-Chair Donley's concerns  regarding who                                                            
administers  invasive procedures,  stated that  oftentimes in  rural                                                            
Alaska, someone  gets injured, and unlicensed, but  trained, medical                                                            
staffers might have to  administer invasive procedures "as the first                                                            
line of health care."                                                                                                           
Co-Chair Donley stated  that statute exemptions address rural health                                                            
care situations,  and stressed that his primary concern  pertains to                                                            
large, for-profit  medical facilities  that might exert "incredible                                                             
pressures" on health care  professionals in order to reduce the cost                                                            
of care. He stated  that this legislation might give  those entities                                                            
more opportunity to exert  pressure on the nursing staff to delegate                                                            
duties to staff who might not properly trained in a procedure.                                                                  
Co-Chair Donley  explained that current  statute requires  a minimum                                                            
of  one  person  on  duty  who  is  specifically   trained  for  the                                                            
procedures  administered in  the department;  and that other  nurses                                                            
assigned to that department  would report to the trained individual.                                                            
He furthered  that  if the trained  individual  becomes unavailable                                                             
during a shift, that person  is required to delegate duties to other                                                            
untrained  individuals. He  stated that  it is unfair  to nurses  to                                                            
have this onus placed on  them; especially if they do not agree with                                                            
the hospital  directives. He stated  that a balance must  be reached                                                            
whereby nurses could not  be forced to delegate a duty "that they do                                                            
not necessarily agree with."                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson stated  that nurses could refuse to delegate a                                                            
responsibility,  and if a doctor overrules the nurse's  decision not                                                            
delegate  a duty that  she deems  unsafe or ill  advised, the  nurse                                                            
could  "write the  doctor  up." She  exampled  that  duties such  as                                                            
watching a  wound for redness could  be delegated provided  that the                                                            
person  has received  proper  training.  She reiterated  that  State                                                            
statutes would  specify what could or could not be  delegated "which                                                            
offers protection to the nurse and to the patient."                                                                             
Co-Chair  Donley asked for  examples of what  regulations are  being                                                            
considered  by the  Board of  Nursing,  as he considers  the  bill's                                                            
language "wide open as far as delegation of authority."                                                                         
Representative  Wilson  stated  that  current  nursing  regulations                                                             
specify  that  the Board  would  define  unprofessional  conduct  to                                                            
include:  "knowingly delegating  a nursing  care function,  task, or                                                            
responsibility to another  who is not licensed" when that delegation                                                            
is contrary  to  that specified  in State  statute,  "or involves  a                                                            
substantial  risk  or harm  to a  client,  and failing  to  exercise                                                            
adequate  supervision  over  other  persons who  are  authorized  to                                                            
practice only  under the supervision  of a licensed personnel."  She                                                            
expressed that  these regulations clearly define what  could legally                                                            
be delegated;  however, the corresponding language  is not currently                                                            
included in State statute.                                                                                                      
Representative  Wilson  explained  that  the  Department  of Law  is                                                            
requesting  that the language be placed  in State statute  to enable                                                            
the statute to conform  to existing regulations. She summarized that                                                            
the nursing  profession  is "strongly  and heavily  regulated,"  and                                                            
that  this  legislation   would  match  State  statute   to  current                                                            
regulations,  would not change  what is  currently common  practice,                                                            
and would continue to hold nurses to levels of "high conduct."                                                                  
Co-Chair Donley  stressed that his concern lies more  with "the for-                                                            
profit motive  in health care" which exerts pressure  on nurses, and                                                            
that  protecting   nurses  from  that  pressure  is  important.   He                                                            
continued that  another concern is  when duties are delegated  it is                                                            
the nurse's license rather  than a hospital or clinic's license that                                                            
is at risk. He asked whether  "better insulations" could be provided                                                            
to address this concern.                                                                                                        
SFC 02 # 95, Side B 11:45 AM                                                                                                    
Senator Green  reminded the Committee that these concerns  have been                                                            
addressed before; however, it was State agencies rather than for-                                                               
profit  or  non-profit  entities   that  were  requiring  nurses  to                                                            
delegate duties improperly.                                                                                                     
Senator Green  furthered that  there have  been situations  in which                                                            
employment  was contingent  on an applicant's  agreeing to  delegate                                                            
authority  to  CNAs. She  stated  that hearings  were  conducted  to                                                            
affirm that  this practice  would not be  allowed. She stressed  the                                                            
concern  that this  legislation  might inadvertently  undermine  the                                                            
ability  of  a  nurse  to  refuse  to  delegate  a  duty  they  were                                                            
instructed  to delegate,  and  then not  receive  "the backup"  they                                                            
might require.                                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Donley echoed  Senator Green' concerns, and reiterated that                                                            
it  is unfair  for a  supervisor's  directives  to place  a  nurse's                                                            
license in jeopardy.                                                                                                            
Co-Chair Donley  asked whether current State regulations  hold upper                                                            
management accountable  for exerting pressures on  nurses that might                                                            
result in endangering the nurses' license.                                                                                      
Representative Wilson responded  that doctors know what procedures a                                                            
nurse could or  could not perform, in addition to  what duties could                                                            
or could  not be delegated.  She told  of a hearing  process  in the                                                            
event a doctor  exerts pressure on a nurse to perform  or delegate a                                                            
duty that might  place the nurse's license in jeopardy  or be unsafe                                                            
for a patient. She stressed  that the procedures are "very clear and                                                            
Co-Chair  Donley asked whether  there is  a "medical whistle  blower                                                            
Senator Olson  interjected that the  normal procedure for  reporting                                                            
undue  pressure  placed  on a  subordinate,  involves  the  employee                                                            
filing  an incident  report with  a supervisor  or  a committee  for                                                            
review.  He continued  that  if the  report  is determined  to  have                                                            
merit, a letter of reprimand could be issued.                                                                                   
MARY  WEYMILLER,  Licensed  Practical  Nurse  and Member,  Board  of                                                            
Nursing,  testified via  teleconference  from Fairbanks  and read  a                                                            
letter from  Lynne Hart,  a Nurse Practitioner  and a member  of the                                                            
Board of Nursing [copy  not provided] which spoke in support of this                                                            
legislation, specifically  as it addresses the established  practice                                                            
of nurses  "delegating,  or transferring  their  legal authority  to                                                            
perform a specific nursing  act to unlicensed assistants." She read:                                                            
that it  "recently came to  light" that the  delegation practice  is                                                            
not included in  State statute as had incorrectly  been assumed, and                                                            
that this omission  has affected the  Board of Nursing's  ability to                                                            
modify regulations regarding  safe delegation practices. The letter,                                                            
she continued,  states that this legislation would  correct both the                                                            
statute and the regulation  issues; would not create new health care                                                            
worker  positions  as staffers  are  already  in place,  and  "would                                                            
eliminate  a  gray  area  for  nurses  who  currently   are  already                                                            
delegating  to assistants as  part of their  job on a daily  basis."                                                            
She  read  that  Ms.  Hart  urges  the  Committee  to  support  this                                                            
Ms. Weymiller  commented that current practice is  that non-licensed                                                            
individuals  are asked to assume additional  duties after  receiving                                                            
training in  those procedures; however,  she stressed, the  practice                                                            
must be included in State  statute to protect both the nurse and the                                                            
patient.  She qualified that  patient care  could only be  delegated                                                            
when  a patient's  condition  is chronic  and stable,  and the  non-                                                            
licensed  staffer  and  the patient  both  agree  to have  the  task                                                            
delegated. She  noted that numerous safeguards and  guidelines exist                                                            
to protect  the licensed  nurse, the person  to whom the duties  are                                                            
being delegated, and the  patient. She "strongly urged the Committee                                                            
to pass this bill."                                                                                                             
Senator Wilken offered  a motion to "report Committee Substitute for                                                            
House Bill  276 from Committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                            
attached fiscal note."                                                                                                          
Co-Chair Donley objected  and expressed the hope that individuals in                                                            
the nursing  profession are  aware of the  content of this  bill and                                                            
support its  intent. He furthered  that were this legislation  to be                                                            
enacted, its  regulations should be  quickly established  and should                                                            
include  safeguards  to  protect   nurses  from  undue  pressure  to                                                            
delegate duties  as well as including  language that specifies  that                                                            
management should be penalized  for any directives that might result                                                            
in a nurse's license being placed in jeopardy.                                                                                  
Co-Chair Donley withdrew his objection.                                                                                         
Senator  Olson asked  whether,  during this  process,  any abuse  of                                                            
power incidents have been reported.                                                                                             
Representative  Wilson stressed she  has had "not one single  letter                                                            
or phone call from anyone"  in opposition to this legislation or any                                                            
reports of undue pressure to delegate duties.                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Donley  reiterated  that  during  his  conversations  with                                                            
nurses, he  has heard "horror stories"  about the pressures  exerted                                                            
on nurses to delegate authority.  He noted that the lack of abuse of                                                            
power reports  is not  surprising  as it is  sometimes difficult  to                                                            
record the specifics of an incident.                                                                                            
Senator  Olson affirmed that  nurses sometimes  receive "threats  of                                                            
retaliation" which could be a "real significant factor."                                                                        
There being no further  objections, SCS CS HB 276 (L&C) was REPORTED                                                            
from Committee with a previous  zero fiscal note, dated February 15,                                                            
2002 from the Department of Community and Economic Development.                                                                 
     SENATE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 300(STA)                                                                                      
     "An Act relating to the procurement of certain travel                                                                      
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE JOE HAYES,  the bill's sponsor, stated that this bill                                                            
would allow  the State to exempt certain  types of travel  services,                                                            
including airplane  travel, hotel accommodations,  and travel agency                                                            
services, from the State  procurement code. He explained that Alaska                                                            
Airlines  and  other major  airline  companies  have  travel  agency                                                            
commissions  from five  percent  of the  total ticket  price to  ten                                                            
dollars for  a one-way ticket and  $20 for a round-trip ticket,  and                                                            
that in  March of  2002, airline  companies  notified travel  agents                                                            
that commissions  would be completely phased out.  He stated that to                                                            
offset the loss of the  airline commission revenues, travel agencies                                                            
have implemented agency service fees.                                                                                           
Representative  Hayes furthered that  by exempting specified  travel                                                            
services from the procurement  regulations; the State could foster a                                                            
competitive travel  service environment by allowing  "administrative                                                            
agencies  to choose travel  providers on  a case-by-case basis."  He                                                            
stressed that this competition  is important to the State because it                                                            
would assure  the State of  the best possible  service fee  rate and                                                            
prevent a travel service monopoly from occurring in the State.                                                                  
Representative  Hayes noted  that  travel agencies  have received  a                                                            
letter, dated  April 5, 2002 from  the Department of Administration                                                             
Commissioner   Jim  Duncan   [copy  on  file]   that  explains   the                                                            
Department's support of this legislation.                                                                                       
SALLY HUNTLEY, Owner, Frontier  Travel, testified via teleconference                                                            
from Anchorage, and informed  the Committee that her agency has been                                                            
providing travel services  to various State agencies since 1982, and                                                            
that she supports  the fact that State  agencies would be  permitted                                                            
to choose  which travel services  they wish  to use, on a  Statewide                                                            
basis. She  stated that  this legislation  would "level the  playing                                                            
field" whereby  all agencies could compete for the  State's business                                                            
and that  due to  the competitive  nature of  the industry,  service                                                            
fees would remain reasonably priced.                                                                                            
Ms. Huntley asserted  that once fair fee rates are  established, the                                                            
State could choose travel  agencies based on quality of service. She                                                            
noted that  a Request  for Proposals  (RFP) has  been issued  by the                                                            
State;  however, the  industry considers  it  confusing because  the                                                            
details  are not  specific.  She opined  that  the RFP's  line  item                                                            
format  "is  a  reconciliation  nightmare."   She  stressed  that  a                                                            
competitive atmosphere  would be more beneficial to the State than a                                                            
"sole source provider."                                                                                                         
Senator  Olson asked  the  testifier how  many travel  agencies  are                                                            
Ms. Huntley  replied that some of  the larger agencies are  owned by                                                            
out-of-State entities;  however, Alaskans own the majority of travel                                                            
Senator Wilken  asked the  testifier the  amount her agency  charges                                                            
for issuing airline tickets for State employee travel.                                                                          
Ms. Huntley responded that her agency provides this service free-                                                               
Senator Wilken  reminded the Committee that the original  version of                                                            
this bill included  language that prohibited awarding  sole-provider                                                            
contracts; however, that  language is not included in this committee                                                            
substitute.  He  surmised  from Ms.  Huntley's  testimony  that  she                                                            
preferred the original bill's language.                                                                                         
Ms. Huntley stated she  does not support language allowing for sole-                                                            
source  contracting;  however,  she noted  that  were  the bill  not                                                            
adopted, agencies  would be required to submit competitive  fee bids                                                            
to the State, and a contract would be awarded.                                                                                  
Senator Olson  asked for further clarification  as to the  intent of                                                            
the bill.                                                                                                                       
Representative  Hayes  clarified that  the original  bill  contained                                                            
intent language;  however,  the intent language  was omitted  in the                                                            
Senate State Affairs Committee  committee substitute. He stated that                                                            
the Procurement  Section, Division  of General Services,  Department                                                            
of Administration Department,  "understands the intent" of the bill;                                                            
however, if desired, that language could be reinstated.                                                                         
Senator Leman voiced support  for the Senate State Affairs committee                                                            
substitute  language, as  sometimes  "too much  intent language"  is                                                            
included in  a bill. Although it is  sometimes necessary,  he stated                                                            
that in this case, the  intent has been "clearly established" in the                                                            
Legislative record.                                                                                                             
Senator Green  asserted that  Section 1 of  the current legislation                                                             
identifies that  these services would not be required  to go through                                                            
the competitive bid process.                                                                                                    
Representative Davies agreed with Senator Green's comment.                                                                      
BILL  BECK, Owner,  Airlines-Online  Travel  Agency,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage  and noted that  he attended  the RFP                                                            
travel management services  workshop held before the introduction of                                                            
this  legislation.  He stated  that the  State has  established  two                                                            
options  for travel  services:  one being  this bill  and the  other                                                            
being a sole-source  RFP. He continued that the accompanying  fiscal                                                            
note indicates  that in the event this bill is not  adopted, the RFP                                                            
would  require  a travel  agency  to submit  a bid  in  each of  the                                                            
seventeen identified local  areas where its offices are located, and                                                            
in  addition,  each  invoice  must  specify   individual  line  item                                                            
descriptions and the corresponding  fee for each transaction such as                                                            
tickets, hotel  rooms, and car rental  reservations. He stated  that                                                            
this line item  requirement would  demand additional reconciliation                                                             
time  of State  employees,  and  he opined  that  it would  be  more                                                            
economical  for the  State to develop  a simple  fee structure  that                                                            
agencies could  either agree or not  agree to honor. He stated  that                                                            
this approach would allow  for continuing competition between travel                                                            
Senator Wilken  asked the testifier the amount of  the surcharge his                                                            
company places on non-State employee travel.                                                                                    
Mr. Beck  responded that  fees are  based on the  complexity  of the                                                            
travel arrangements;  however,  typical fees  range between  $20 and                                                            
VERN  JONES,   Chief  Procurement   Officer,  Division  of   General                                                            
Services, Department  of Administration,  stated that historically,                                                             
the  State has  not been  required  to pay  service  fees as  travel                                                            
agents were compensated  for their services by airlines, hotels, and                                                            
car rental  companies; however, recent  declines or/and elimination                                                             
of these  commissions fees  has placed hardships  on travel  agents,                                                            
and that consumers  including the State must absorb  these expenses.                                                            
Mr.  Jones explained  that  because  there  are no  fee-free  travel                                                            
services  in  communities  such  as Juneau,  Petersburg,   Wrangell,                                                            
Haines and  Cordova, the State has  awarded, in compliance  with the                                                            
State's  competitive   procurement  code,  a  contract   for  travel                                                            
services in each  of these locations. He stated that  this bill does                                                            
not  prevent the  State  from procuring  travel  service  contracts;                                                            
however,  the intent  of the  bill is  to establish  benchmark  rate                                                            
structures for services  that would allow State employees to use any                                                            
travel  agency  that  provides   its  services  at  or  below  those                                                            
benchmark  rates.  He  stated  that were  this  bill  adopted,  this                                                            
process would  begin, and a list of travel agencies  who comply with                                                            
the State's  benchmark rates would  be supplied to State  employees.                                                            
He clarified  that existing State  contracts would continue  through                                                            
their specified time commitment.                                                                                                
Mr.  Jones  confirmed  that  this  bill   would  incur  expenses  as                                                            
identified  in the fiscal note. He  explained the fee components  of                                                            
the fiscal  note, and stated  that when  Alaska Airlines  terminates                                                            
its commissions  to travel agencies, the State would  be required to                                                            
pay average fees  of $20 to $23 per ticket. He noted  that the State                                                            
of  Washington  recently  transitioned   to  a non-competitive   fee                                                            
structure  that has resulted  in fees  ranging from  $15 to  $45 per                                                            
ticket.  He stressed  that the State  of Washington  is paying  more                                                            
than the  amount projected  using the proposed  procurement  process                                                            
stipulated  in  this  legislation.  He  estimated  that  the  annual                                                            
service fee cost to the  State, based on the annual volume of ticket                                                            
that State employees use, would be $500,000 per year.                                                                           
Mr. Jones stated  that if this bill  fails to be adopted,  the State                                                            
would  continue with  the procurement  process,  which he  stressed,                                                            
would  not result  in a single  sole-source  Statewide contract,  as                                                            
contracts are awarded on a per-location basis.                                                                                  
Senator Ward asked  whether the State would be allowed  to solicit a                                                            
proposal from the Alaska  Airlines Mileage Program to accumulate all                                                            
State employee  travel mileage credits in a single  State account to                                                            
assist in reducing State travel costs.                                                                                          
Mr. Jones responded  that there is  no legal restriction  that would                                                            
prohibit the State from making this request.                                                                                    
Senator Ward asked the testifier to investigate this option.                                                                    
Mr. Jones agreed.                                                                                                               
Senator Austerman  asked for further  information about the  service                                                            
contracts  awarded  in  such locations  as  Juneau,  Petersburg  and                                                            
Mr. Jones  gave as  an example,  the contract  awarded to US  Travel                                                            
Agency in Juneau  that specifies the  service fee for a ticket  from                                                            
Juneau to Anchorage is  five dollars and an eight dollar service fee                                                            
for  tickets  to  other  destinations;   however,  he  reminded  the                                                            
Committee that  this fee is paid in  addition to the commission  the                                                            
agency currently  receives from Alaska  Airlines. He continued  that                                                            
when  Alaska Airlines  ceases  to pay  commissions,  the fees  would                                                            
probably increase to approximately $23.                                                                                         
Senator  Austerman   asked  whether   the  State  has  investigated                                                             
transitioning  to  electronic  ticketing  as  a  means  of  lowering                                                            
service fees.                                                                                                                   
Mr. Jones stated  that currently the  State purchases approximately                                                             
11,000 out of  50,000 tickets directly from an airline  via Internet                                                            
access. He  stated that purchasing  a ticket electronically  exempts                                                            
it from being  subject to any procurement  code or service  fee, and                                                            
that this would remain an option if this bill were adopted.                                                                     
Senator Austerman asked  whether the Department encourages employees                                                            
to use electronic ticketing.                                                                                                    
Mr.  Jones  responded  that  the  Department   does  not  anticipate                                                            
pressuring employees  to make travel arrangements  via the Internet,                                                            
as this  could require a  "high-paid state  employee" to spend  time                                                            
online researching  travel options.  He stated that paying  a travel                                                            
professional for  this service is often a better decision;  however,                                                            
he asserted that employees  would not be prohibited from this course                                                            
of action.                                                                                                                      
Senator Wilken asked the  reason for an indeterminate fiscal note to                                                            
accompany  this bill, and  he noted how unusual  it is for  a fiscal                                                            
note to specify that department agencies would absorb expenses.                                                                 
Senator Wilken  voiced concern that a total service  fee of $350,000                                                            
has been calculated based  on a projected minimal service fee of $12                                                            
per ticket; however, he  stressed, the actual fee amount could incur                                                            
expenses as high as $750,000.  He stressed that the fiscal note does                                                            
not  appear to  realistically  present the  possible  costs, and  he                                                            
asked whether  a statewide  limit  could be considered  in order  to                                                            
more accurately project the expense.                                                                                            
Mr. Jones stated that if  this bill fails to be adopted, procurement                                                            
procedures  would be implemented and  the lowest travel service  bid                                                            
per location would be awarded  a contract. He noted that if the bill                                                            
were adopted,  "a cap" might be negotiated.  He continued  that when                                                            
Alaska  Airlines  discontinues  its  commission  fees,  the  average                                                            
service   fee  charged   for   State   employee  travel   would   be                                                            
approximately $23 per ticket,  which he reiterated is ten to fifteen                                                            
dollars  lower than  fees being  paid in  the State  of Washington,                                                             
where a competitive procurement procedure was not implemented.                                                                  
Senator Austerman  asked whether the US Travel service  fee procured                                                            
for Juneau would be honored by the US Travel agency in Kodiak.                                                                  
Mr.  Jones stated  that  agencies  are not  obligated  to offer  the                                                            
location-specific  rates  throughout  their  service  areas, and  he                                                            
noted that travel  agencies, including US Travel,  are not currently                                                            
charging service  fees in Anchorage. He informed the  Committee that                                                            
current Department policy  mandates that State employees must use an                                                            
agency that does not charge  a service fee, and in communities where                                                            
fees  are charged,  the  Department  would  award  a contract  to  a                                                            
specific agency through the competitive bid process.                                                                            
Senator Austerman stated  that he recently paid a $25 service fee in                                                            
Mr. Jones surmised  that there must  be a travel agency in  the City                                                            
of Kodiak that does not  charge a service fee, as a contract has not                                                            
been negotiated  for Kodiak, and he reiterated that  State employees                                                            
should use that agency when making travel arrangements.                                                                         
Senator Ward asked the  Department to provide the Committee with the                                                            
total dollar amount the  State has paid to Alaska Airlines for State                                                            
travel  in  order  to further  a  consolidated  State  mileage  plan                                                            
proposal with the airline.                                                                                                      
Mr. Jones expressed  that approximately  $11 million has  been spent                                                            
on travel with Alaska Airlines.                                                                                                 
Senator  Ward calculated  that  this  would equal  approximately  15                                                            
million  mileage   credits.  He  reiterated  his  request   for  the                                                            
Department to  investigate whether negotiating with  Alaska Airlines                                                            
to establish a mileage agreement "would be legal."                                                                              
Co-Chair Kelly asked Mr.  Jones to provide the requested information                                                            
to Senator Ward.                                                                                                                
Senator Wilken reiterated  his concern that the fiscal note does not                                                            
specify whether travel  fees would amount to $228,000 or $1 million.                                                            
Representative Hayes responded  that this bill proposes to establish                                                            
specific  service  fees, and  that  State  employees could  use  any                                                            
travel agency  agreeing to provide their services  at the determined                                                            
levels. He stated that  this bill would allow all travel agencies an                                                            
opportunity  to compete for State  travel business, and he  asserted                                                            
that it would be "dangerous"  to have only one agency handle all the                                                            
State business.                                                                                                                 
Senator  Olson asked  why motor  vehicle rentals  are excluded  from                                                            
this legislation.                                                                                                               
Representative  Hayes responded that the State has  "already secured                                                            
contract agreements" for motor vehicle rentals.                                                                                 
Senator  Wilken clarified  that if  this bill fails  to be  adopted,                                                            
procurements would  be solicited, and contracts would  be awarded to                                                            
a single travel  agency in each of the seventeen identified  regions                                                            
in the State, as determined by best value and fees.                                                                             
Senator  Wilken continued  that if  the bill is  adopted, the  State                                                            
would  establish fee  structures by  location,  and State  employees                                                            
could use any travel agency agreeing to honor those fees.                                                                       
[Discussion  ensued  to  clarify  the  various  processes  based  on                                                            
whether or not the bill was adopted.]                                                                                           
Senator  Wilken  asked  whether  a travel  agency  could  choose  to                                                            
provide travel  services at  lower rates  than those established  by                                                            
the State.                                                                                                                      
Mr. Jones responded that  employees would not be obligated to use an                                                            
agency  offering  services   at less  than  the  negotiated   rates;                                                            
however,  a listing  of any agencies  offering lower  fees would  be                                                            
distributed, and employees could decide which agency to use.                                                                    
Senator Wilken  asked what would occur  if a State employee  used an                                                            
unapproved agency.                                                                                                              
Mr. Jones  responded that  if the  bill fails  to be adopted,  State                                                            
employees  would not  have an  option, as  only one  agency in  each                                                            
community would have the ability to write State travel tickets.                                                                 
Senator Hoffman asked how  travel arrangements are handled in remote                                                            
areas of the State where no contracts exist.                                                                                    
Mr. Jones stated  that the intent of bill is to establish  rates for                                                            
services  in areas  "that  have  more than  negligible  amounts"  of                                                            
travel traffic. He stated  that if the bill fails to be adopted, the                                                            
Department intends to establish contracts in all locations.                                                                     
Senator Hoffman asserted  that, currently, there are no contracts in                                                            
remote areas.                                                                                                                   
Mr. Jones  clarified  that contracts  are not  being established  in                                                            
communities  where  agencies  are providing  fee-free  services.  He                                                            
reiterated  that  if one  or more  travel  agencies  in a  community                                                            
provides  fee-free services,  State  employees are  required to  use                                                            
those agencies.  He continued that in communities  where no fee-free                                                            
agencies  exist, the  State would  award  a contract  to one  agency                                                            
through the procurement process.                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  responded that the  lone travel agency in  the City                                                            
of Bethel  has informed  him that,  "the State  is unwilling  to pay                                                            
those fees in Bethel."                                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Kelly  announced  that  due to  the  amount  of  questions                                                            
concerning  this bill;  he would be  holding the  bill in  Committee                                                            
until additional information could be provided.                                                                                 
Senator Wilken  summarized that the  State does not currently  pay a                                                            
significant   amount   for  travel   service  fees;   however,   the                                                            
forthcoming changes  in the travel industry would  require the State                                                            
to  pay significantly  more  for  services.  He continued  that  the                                                            
question is which  method would have the least fiscal  impact to the                                                            
Mr. Jones responded  that the competitive  procurement method  would                                                            
be "cheaper."                                                                                                                   
SFC 02 # 96, Side A 12:33 PM                                                                                                    
Senator Wilken  clarified that this would be the method  established                                                            
if the bill were not adopted.                                                                                                   
Mr. Jones concurred.                                                                                                            
Senator  Leman  suggested  that the  Division  of  General  Services                                                            
should provide  State agencies with  a list of travel agencies  that                                                            
would  honor the State's  established  level of  service rates,  and                                                            
indicate  which agencies  on  that list  would provide  services  at                                                            
lower fees.                                                                                                                     
Mr. Jones responded that this is the intention.                                                                                 
Senator Hoffman  reiterated that as  airline agencies eliminate  the                                                            
current commission  structure, the  level of service fees  the State                                                            
pays would increase. He  stated that is it appropriate for the State                                                            
and people  who use  travel agencies  to absorb  these costs  as the                                                            
travel agents  are providing a service. He surmised  the State would                                                            
benefit from  utilizing a travel agency  rather than State  employee                                                            
time in making  those arrangements. He voiced support  for the bill.                                                            
Co-Chair Kelly ordered  the Bill to be HELD in Committee. [This bill                                                            
is re-addressed later in the meeting.]                                                                                          
RECESS TO CALL OF THE CHAIR 12:36 PM / 8:15 PM                                                                                  
[Note: The remainder  of Tape SFC 02 #96, side A,  and all of side B                                                            
are blank; however,  the recording of the meeting  continues on Tape                                                            
SFC 02 #97 Side A and no portion of the meeting is unrecorded.]                                                                 
SFC 02 # 97, Side A, 8:15 PM                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ward called the Senate Finance meeting back to order.                                                                
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 382(RES)                                                                               
     "An Act relating to the evaluation and cleanup of sites where                                                              
     certain controlled substances may have been manufactured or                                                                
     stored; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GRETCHEN GUESS,  the sponsor  of the bill,  informed                                                            
the Committee that this  legislation provides assurance that illegal                                                            
drug laboratory sites would  be thoroughly decontaminated before the                                                            
premise  could  be re-occupied.  She  informed  the  Committee  that                                                            
currently "after a lab  has been busted," the law enforcement agency                                                            
sends a notice  to the property owner to clean up  the facility, and                                                            
the  agency  takes   no  further  action.  She  continued   that  no                                                            
guidelines exist  to specify the proper way to clean  up a site, and                                                            
the cleanup  activities  that occur  are usually  not adequate.  She                                                            
stated that  this bill  would establish  proper clean-up  guidelines                                                            
for testing and decontamination of sites.                                                                                       
Senator Olson  asked whether an existing  problem has prompted  this                                                            
Representative Guess responded  that 50 methamphetamine laboratories                                                            
"were busted"  in the  State in  the year 2000,  and proper  cleanup                                                            
provisions  are not  established to  assure a  safe environment  for                                                            
future  occupants  of these  locations.  She  reiterated  that  this                                                            
legislation  would provide  a residential  property  owner with  the                                                            
appropriate clean-up guidelines for a site.                                                                                     
Senator Austerman  moved to report House Bill 382  "out of Committee                                                            
with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes."                                                                 
There being  no objections,  SCS CS HB 382  (RES) was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee  with a  previous  zero fiscal  note, dated  February  27,                                                            
2002, from  the Department  of Public Safety,  and a $12,000  fiscal                                                            
note dated  February 25, 2002 from  the Department of Environmental                                                             
     SENATE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 300(STA)                                                                                      
     "An Act relating to the procurement of certain travel                                                                      
[This bill was addressed earlier in this meeting.]                                                                              
Representative Hayes clarified  that this bill would allow the State                                                            
to negotiate  with travel agencies  to establish equitable  fees for                                                            
travel services  rendered to  the State. He  continued that  if this                                                            
bill fails to  be adopted, a single travel agency  in each community                                                            
would be selected,  through the RFP process, to handle  State travel                                                            
arrangements.  He  opined  that  the  agency   awarded  the  State's                                                            
business would  be the only agency "still open for  business" at the                                                            
end of  the contract  period,  and that  higher  service fees  could                                                            
result from this "monopoly" situation.                                                                                          
Representative  Hayes noted that Committee  members received  a list                                                            
of twenty-two travel agencies  [copy not provided] that currently do                                                            
not  charge  a  service  fee  for  State  travel  arrangements.   He                                                            
contended that  if this bill fails to be adopted,  eighteen of those                                                            
twenty-two agencies would be forced out of business.                                                                            
Senator  Wilken   asked  whether  the  Committee  could   mandate  a                                                            
Statewide service  fee of, for example,  $15, and allow each  travel                                                            
agency  to determine whether  or not  to honor  that fee. He  stated                                                            
that  identifying  a specific  fee  would  provide for  an  accurate                                                            
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hayes responded that Alaska Airlines  currently pays                                                            
a  $20  commission  to travel  agencies,  and  that  the  State  has                                                            
determined  that any level  below that amount  would not provide  an                                                            
agency with sufficient operational revenue.                                                                                     
Senator Wilken  asserted that a pre-determined fixed  fee rate would                                                            
simplify the situation and provide for an accurate fiscal note.                                                                 
Representative  Hayes affirmed that the State supports  establishing                                                            
a specified fee, but declared  that this would continue to result in                                                            
an indeterminate  fiscal note, as the State is unsure  of the number                                                            
of agencies who would adhere to the specified amount.                                                                           
Senator  Wilken expressed  his continuing  concern  with the  fiscal                                                            
impact, and noted  that the Senate Finance Committee  Co-Chairs have                                                            
not been  present  during discussions  regarding  the bill's  fiscal                                                            
impacts. He  calculated that a $20  transaction fee, based  on State                                                            
travel patterns, would  create an annual fee expense of $600,000. He                                                            
continued that  the fiscal note specifies that this  amount would be                                                            
absorbed  within  each  Department's   annual  budget;  however,  he                                                            
commented that  this could create a hardship for State  agencies. He                                                            
avowed that while  he understands that the travel  industry supports                                                            
this bill,  as a  Member of the  Finance Committee,  he "is  charged                                                            
with looking out for the general fund."                                                                                         
Representative  Hayes expressed that  the indeterminate fiscal  note                                                            
reflects the intent  that the $600,000 travel fee  expenses would be                                                            
absorbed "in each agency's  current travel budget," and no increases                                                            
in department travel expenses would be incurred.                                                                                
Senator Ward clarified  that absorbing $600,000 in this manner would                                                            
essentially  remove  that  amount  from the  agencies'  budgets  for                                                            
actual travel.                                                                                                                  
Representative Hayes affirmed  that this could be the case; however,                                                            
suggested that  the resources of a professional travel  agency could                                                            
provide the best values in travel options.                                                                                      
Senator Ward  contended that analysis  supporting this has  not been                                                            
provided to the Committee.                                                                                                      
Senator Hoffman  surmised  that lower fares  might result if  Alaska                                                            
Airlines utilizes the savings  resulting from the elimination of its                                                            
travel agency commission  fees to offset the service fees charged to                                                            
the State by travel agencies.                                                                                                   
Senator  Olson, referencing  earlier  testimony that  the State  has                                                            
spent  $11 million  on  travel, stated  that  five percent  of  that                                                            
amount would be approximately half a million dollars.                                                                           
Representative Hayes estimated  that the fiscal cost to the State to                                                            
absorb  the travel  fee expenses  would range  between $500,000  and                                                            
Senator Olson  voiced that Senator  Wilken's concern that  the State                                                            
would incur a substantial fiscal impact is valid.                                                                               
Representative  Hayes,  responding  to  Senator  Hoffman's  comment,                                                            
stated that  departments would  continue to  pay the same amount  of                                                            
money for travel;  however, the question is whether  the money would                                                            
be paid to Alaska Airlines or as a fee to a travel agency.                                                                      
Senator Wilken  offered a  motion to report  "HB 300 from  Committee                                                            
with individual  recommendations and  attached indeterminate  fiscal                                                            
There being  no objections,  SCS CS HB 300  (STA) was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee with a previous  indeterminate fiscal note, dated February                                                            
7, 2002 from the Department of Administration.                                                                                  
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 393(L&C)                                                                               
     "An Act  relating to unfair and  deceptive trade practices  and                                                            
     to the  sale of business  opportunities;  amending Rules  4 and                                                            
     73,  Alaska Rules  of  Civil Procedure;  and  providing for  an                                                            
     effective date."                                                                                                           
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
DOUG LETCH, Staff  to Representative Gary Stevens,  stated that this                                                            
consumer protection bill  is designed to protect Alaskans from "get-                                                            
rich-quick-schemes"   that  prey  on  individuals   such  as  senior                                                            
citizens. He stated that  by requiring certain companies to register                                                            
with the  State before  establishing  and operating  their  business                                                            
would provide  the Department of Law with the means  to regulate and                                                            
enforce regulations regarding trade practices.                                                                                  
Senator Olson  asked whether this bill would address  such things as                                                            
"sweepstakes or pyramid" schemes.                                                                                               
CRYSTAL SMITH,  Special Assistant,  Office of the Attorney  General,                                                            
Department  of Law stated  that pyramid  schemes may  or may  not be                                                            
affected by  the bill, and that other  consumer protection  measures                                                            
address  sweepstakes  schemes.  She  explained  that  this  bill  is                                                            
intended  to address schemes  wherein people  purchase a product  or                                                            
establish  a business  to sell a  product. She  noted that  Alaskans                                                            
seem to be targeted by  these enterprises, and that the operators of                                                            
these businesses  set up,  conduct, and finish  their business  in a                                                            
short time-frame. She stated  that many of these businesses would be                                                            
deterred  from setting up  practice in the  State if their  business                                                            
were required  to register  with the State.  She insisted that  this                                                            
bill would provide  the State with the ability to  charge a business                                                            
with a  registration violation  if business  were conducted  without                                                            
first  registering,  and she  noted  that  this violation  would  be                                                            
faster to implement  than proceedings  based on a "scam violation."                                                             
Senator Austerman offered  a motion to move "HB 393 out of Committee                                                            
with  individual  recommendations  and  accompanying  indeterminate                                                             
fiscal note."                                                                                                                   
There being  no objections,  SCS CS HB 393  (L&C) was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee with an indeterminate  fiscal note dated February 21, 2002                                                            
from the Department of Law.                                                                                                     
     SENATE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 239(HES)                                                                                      
     "An Act establishing a pilot program for a regional learning                                                               
This was  the second  hearing for  this bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
DR.  LARRY   LABOLLE,  Staff  to   Representative  Richard   Foster,                                                            
testified to a letter to  the Committee dated May 10, 2002 co-signed                                                            
by Dr. John A. Davis, Superintendent,  Bering Strait School District                                                            
and  Dr. Stan  Lujan, Superintendent,  Nome  City  Schools [copy  on                                                            
file]  which identifies  various  project  funding  sources such  as                                                            
training  grants  through Kawerak,  Inc,  a consortium  of  regional                                                            
social  services  agencies.  He  noted  that this  letter  does  not                                                            
provide  a financial  plan although  other letters  supporting  this                                                            
project  have been received;  including  one from  the City of  Nome                                                            
[copy not provided]  that assures the City's support  of the project                                                            
and specifies  that Kawerak, Inc.  would commit up to $2,300,000  in                                                            
State and federal training  money to the project, and another letter                                                            
addressed  to  the  superintendents  of  the  Bering  Strait  School                                                            
District  and Nome City  Schools District  from Kawerak, Inc.  [copy                                                            
not provided]  that specifies  that $2,300,000  in grant funding  is                                                            
available  to support  this program.  He continued  that the  Norton                                                            
Sound Development  Corporation  has additionally  supplied a  letter                                                            
[copy not provided] citing their support of the program.                                                                        
Dr. LaBolle stressed  the importance for project planning;  however,                                                            
he pointed  out "nobody  is able  to put together  a financial  plan                                                            
until  they have  some  idea of  what the  program  looks like."  He                                                            
continued  that  in  order  to "shape  the  program,"  it  would  be                                                            
necessary for  the Bering Straits  School and Nome School  Districts                                                            
to work  with other "major  players," such  as the Northwest  Campus                                                            
and Kawerak,  Inc. "to meet and develop  a consensus" as  to how the                                                            
program would operate.                                                                                                          
Senator  Wilken attested  that a  business plan  has been  requested                                                            
numerous times, and the  fact that none of the recent correspondence                                                            
addressed the  issue "shocked" him.  He reviewed the known  elements                                                            
of the  project including  the utilization  of an existing  building                                                            
for which operational  costs are available,  and the identification                                                             
of the number  of students and corresponding staffing  requirements.                                                            
He surmised  that  the affected  school  districts' superintendents                                                             
each manage  large school  district  budgets and  should be able  to                                                            
develop a business  plan for this project. He stated  that in return                                                            
for the State,  acting as "the project banker" by  providing funding                                                            
for the project,  the districts should be able to  provide a project                                                            
business  plan. He  voiced  two suggestions:  one;  "stop this  bill                                                            
right here"  until a business plan  is presented; or two;  "zero out                                                            
the fiscal note" which  would allow the project to begin and develop                                                            
a funding needs plan as it progresses.                                                                                          
Senator Wilken opined that  this bill should not be considered until                                                            
a viable business plan is presented.                                                                                            
JOHN HANDELAND,  Employee, and former Mayor, City  of Nome, informed                                                            
the Committee  that the City of Nome  has been exploring  methods to                                                            
utilize the  existing Nome  Beltz School complex  and to provide  an                                                            
innovation educational  experience for both rural and urban students                                                            
in the  City of Nome  and the  Bering Straits  School Districts.  He                                                            
stated  that  this  project  is the  result  of  that  endeavor.  He                                                            
informed the Committee  that the City of Nome has  approached Alaska                                                            
US  Senator  Ted Stevens,  who  asked  the City  to  identify  local                                                            
support for the project.                                                                                                        
Mr. Handeland  confirmed that  the City of  Nome, Kawarek,  Inc, and                                                            
the  Bering Straits  and  Nome  School Districts  are  committed  to                                                            
supporting this project.  He further expressed that the City of Nome                                                            
has  responsibly   and  continually  demonstrated   its  support  of                                                            
education,  and that there  is widespread support  in the region  to                                                            
support this bill as presented.                                                                                                 
Mr. Handeland avowed that  the approval of the accompanying $150,000                                                            
Department  Education  and  Early  Development   fiscal  note  would                                                            
provide the  project with  the required State  support necessary  to                                                            
further  the  opportunity  to  receive  federal  and  other  funding                                                            
Senator Green  asked why the two school districts  could not provide                                                            
the required  support for  this project, without  the need  for this                                                            
Dr.  LaBolle explained  that  US Senator  Stevens  has specifically                                                             
requested  a demonstration  of  support for  this  project from  the                                                            
State. He  continued that  as the concept  of the project  expanded,                                                            
the Department  of Education and Early  Development became  involved                                                            
in the process  of coordinating the  two affected school  districts.                                                            
Senator  Green questioned  whether a letter  of recommendation  from                                                            
the  Department   of  Education  and  Early  Development   would  be                                                            
sufficient to demonstrate  the State's support. She voiced that this                                                            
appears to  be a request for money,  and that every school  district                                                            
would  like to  have a comparable  amount  of money  to further  the                                                            
development of innovation  teaching programs. She stated that she is                                                            
very concerned about the long-term impact of this legislation.                                                                  
Senator  Wilken asked  the testifier  whether  a five-year  business                                                            
plan could be developed.                                                                                                        
Mr. Handeland responded  that a business plan should be and could be                                                            
developed,  and  he  mentioned  that US  Senator  Stevens  has  also                                                            
requested  a  business  plan  to be  developed  by  the  two  school                                                            
districts.  He contended that  perhaps a  business plan should  have                                                            
been  established  first;  however,   the  emphasis  was  placed  on                                                            
cementing  the necessary  support  and cooperation  for the  project                                                            
from the various regional entities.                                                                                             
Mr. Handeland  responded to Senator Green's comment  about providing                                                            
innovative  education funding to all  districts, by qualifying  that                                                            
the  City  of  Nome  School  District,  unlike  other  State  school                                                            
districts,  has an  existing,  but unused,  teaching  facility  that                                                            
would provide the required infrastructure for this project.                                                                     
Senator Olson reiterated  that having an existing facility does make                                                            
this project unique.                                                                                                            
Senator Olson  offered a motion to move from Committee,  "House Bill                                                            
239 with individual  recommendations and accompanying  fiscal note."                                                            
Senator Wilken  objected and  asked that  consideration be  given to                                                            
zero out the accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                          
Vice  Chair Ward  inquired  whether Senator  Wilken  would offer  an                                                            
amendment to that effect.                                                                                                       
Senator Wilken  stated that  if the fiscal  note were zeroed  out he                                                            
could support  the legislation; however,  he did not offer  a formal                                                            
A  roll call  was  taken  on the  motion  to  report the  bill  from                                                            
IN FAVOR:  Senator  Hoffman, Senator  Olson,  Senator Ward,  Senator                                                            
OPPOSED: Senator Green, Senator Wilken                                                                                          
ABSENT: Co-Chair Donley, Co-Chair Kelly, Senator Leman                                                                          
The motion PASSED(4-2-3)                                                                                                        
SCS CS  HB 239(HES)  was  REPORTED from  Committee  with a  previous                                                            
$150,000 fiscal  note, dated April  16, 2002 from the Department  of                                                            
Education and Early Development.                                                                                                
RECESSED TO THE CALL OF THE CHAIR 8:40 PM / 9:11 PM                                                                             
Co-Chair Pete Kelly adjourned the meeting at 09:11 PM                                                                           

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