Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/10/2003 09:05 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                           May 10, 2003                                                                                       
                              9:05 AM                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPES                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SFC-03 # 86,  Side A                                                                                                            
SFC 03 # 86,  Side B                                                                                                            
SFC 03 # 87,  Side A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Gary Wilken convened  the meeting at approximately 9:05 AM.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Wilken, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Lyda Green, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Con Bunde, Vice Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Robin Taylor                                                                                                            
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Also  Attending:   SENATOR   GARY  STEVENS;   SENATOR  FRED   DYSON;                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  TOM ANDERSON; MIKE BARTON, Commissioner,  Department                                                            
of  Transportation  and  Public Facilities;   TOM WRIGHT,  Staff  to                                                            
Representative John Harris;  JACQUELINE TUPOU, Staff to Senator Lyda                                                            
Green;  DOUGLAS   BRUCE,  Director,   Division  of  Public   Health,                                                            
Department  of Health  and  Social Services;  WES  KELLER, Staff  to                                                            
Senator  Fred Dyson;  ANNE CARPENETI,  Assistant  Attorney  General,                                                            
Legal  Services Section-Juneau,  Criminal  Division,  Department  of                                                            
Law;   JUANITA   HENSLEY,   Special   Assistant,   Office   of   the                                                            
Commissioner,  Department of Public  Safety; LINDA SYLVESTER,  Staff                                                            
to Representative  Bruce Weyhrauch;  KATHLEEN STRASBAUGH,  Assistant                                                            
Attorney  General,  Governmental Affairs  Section,  Civil  Division,                                                            
Department of Law                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Attending   via  Teleconference:   From  Offnet   Sites:  DR.   JOHN                                                        
ROBERTSON,  Medical Director,  Department of  Corrections; DR.  BETH                                                            
FUNK, Epidemiology  Section, Division  of Public Health,  Department                                                            
of Health and  Social Services; CHRIS  BEHEIM, Director,  Scientific                                                            
Crime Detection Laboratory  and Manager, DNA Database, Department of                                                            
Public  Safety;  LINDA  WILSON,  Deputy  Director,  Public  Defender                                                            
Agency, Department of Administration                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SB 185-ROYALTY REDUCTION ON CERTAIN OIL                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
This bill was scheduled but not heard.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 229-PAROLE FOR MEDICAL/COGNITIVE DISABILITY                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard  from the  bill's sponsors,  the Department  of                                                            
Corrections, and  the Department of Health and Social  Services. One                                                            
amendment was  presented but withdrawn  from consideration,  and the                                                            
bill was held in Committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 105-COMMERCIAL FISHING LOANS                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard  testimony from  the sponsor  and reported  the                                                            
bill from Committee.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SCR 10-CHARTER SCHOOL TASK FORCE                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The Committee heard from  the sponsor, considered two amendments and                                                            
adopted one, and reported the bill from Committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HB 49-EXPAND DNA DATABASE                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The Committee heard from  the bill's sponsor, the Department of Law,                                                            
and  the  Department  of  Public  Safety.  The  bill  reported  from                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB 109-TREASURY WARRANTS/LAPSED APPROPRIATIONS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard  from the sponsor  and reported  the bill  from                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SB 213-KNIK ARM BRIDGE AND TOLL AUTHORITY                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The  Committee  heard from  the  Department  of  Transportation  and                                                            
Public Facilities  and the Department  of Law. The bill was  held in                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 229(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to special medical parole and to prisoners                                                                
     who are severely medically or cognitively disabled."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Wilken  stated that  this  legislation would  provide  the                                                            
Alaska Board  of Parole the flexibility  to deny or approve  medical                                                            
parole.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
TOM WRIGHT,  Staff to Representative  John  Harris, Co-Chair  of the                                                            
House  Finance Committee,  stated  that Senator  Lyda Green's  staff                                                            
would  present  testimony   on  the  behalf  of  the  House  Finance                                                            
Committee, the bill's sponsor.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JACQUELINE TUPOU,  Staff to Senator Lyda Green, commented  that this                                                            
bill  would allow  the  Parole Board  to  grant parole  to  severely                                                            
disabled  or ill prisoners.  As a  testament to  the Parole  Board's                                                            
"proven track record" regarding  discretionary parole decisions, she                                                            
informed that prisoners  who are released on mandatory parole have a                                                            
77-percent recidivism  rate as compared to a one-percent  recidivism                                                            
rate for those prisoners  awarded discretionary parole by the Parole                                                            
Board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tupou stated that the  State's inmate population is comprised of                                                            
430 individuals 50 years  of age or older and that 23 percent of the                                                            
430 are  more than  60 years of  age. She expressed  that the  aging                                                            
prison population  is incurring great medical expense  to the State,                                                            
as  she informed  that  people  in  State custody  are  exempt  from                                                            
Medicaid  or  Medicare  programs and  Veterans  or  Native  American                                                            
benefits. Therefore,  she communicated  that this legislation  would                                                            
enable the  Department to formulate  a release plan for qualifying,                                                             
critically  ill prisoners  provided that such  things as where  they                                                            
would live  and who  their caregivers  would be  are addressed.  She                                                            
assured  the Committee  that  the  release  plan must  be  developed                                                            
before a prisoner's name would be advanced to the Parole Board.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tupou stated  that  even though  some  of these  prisoners  are                                                            
currently in a hospital  or other care facility, because they are in                                                            
State custody,  the State is required to post a guard  with them 24-                                                            
hours a day,  regardless of the patient's  physical situation.  Were                                                            
these prisoners  granted a medical parole, she stated  that the cost                                                            
of the  individual's  care  would be  provided by  federal  matching                                                            
monies or by  family resources. She  reiterated that, under  current                                                            
conditions, these funding options are not available.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tupou declared  that,  were  the medical  parole  option  being                                                            
considered, the  prisoner's victim would be notified  and allowed to                                                            
comment. She further attested  that were the action "to diminish the                                                            
seriousness of the crime,"  the medical parole would not be granted.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tupou reiterated  that this legislation  would grant  the Parole                                                            
Board the flexibility to  make these discretionary parole decisions.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde asked  whether a prisoner  must be  diagnosed  with a                                                            
terminal  medical  condition  before being  considered  for  medical                                                            
parole.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tupou replied  yes, the prisoner should be experiencing  a life-                                                            
threatening illness from which recovery is not expected.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  asked whether the illness must have  "a time certain"                                                            
death element.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHN  ROBERTSON, Medical  Director,  Department of Corrections,                                                             
testified  via teleconference  from an offnet  site to explain  that                                                            
the general  guidelines of this legislation  specify that  "the vast                                                            
majority"  of people  who  would be  considered for  medical  parole                                                            
status would  have three to six months  to live "with a year  at the                                                            
outside."  He  expressed  that  this  bill  addresses  the  lack  of                                                            
flexibility  the  Parole   Board  currently  experiences   regarding                                                            
medical paroles.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde voiced support for the bill.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Dr. Robertson  commented  that safeguards,  based  on other  states'                                                            
experiences,  are incorporated  into  the  process, and  that he  is                                                            
confident that  the Parole Board would take all factors  such as the                                                            
crime, the  medical condition, the  prognosis, and the release  plan                                                            
into  consideration  during  its medical  parole  determination.  He                                                            
stated that one  of the prime considerations in the  release plan is                                                            
that an appropriate  care environment would be in  available for the                                                            
person.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1:  This amendment changes the bill's title  by inserting                                                            
new language  on page 1,  line 2, following  the word "disabled"  to                                                            
read as follows.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act relating to  special medical  parole and to  prisoners                                                            
     who are  severely medically or  cognitively disabled;  relating                                                            
     to  a severe acute  respiratory syndrome  control program;  and                                                            
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Additionally,  two new sections  are inserted  on page 1,  following                                                            
line 3. The new sections read as follow.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is                                                                    
     amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                                   
          PURPOSE. (a) The purposed of sec. 2 of this Act is to                                                                 
     clarify  the  law  and  expressly  establish   a comprehensive                                                             
     program  for  health care  decisions  to control  severe  acute                                                            
     respiratory   syndrome   (SARS)   in  this   state,   including                                                            
     reporting,  examinations, orders, and detention  to protect the                                                            
     public health.                                                                                                             
          (b)  The purpose of secs. 3 - 7 of this  Act is to clarify                                                            
     standards  for special medical parole and to  address prisoners                                                            
     who are severely medically or cognitively disabled.                                                                        
          Sec.  2 AS 18.15  is amended  by adding  a new section  to                                                            
     read:                                                                                                                      
          Article 1A. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).                                                                 
          Sec.  18.15.112. SARS control program authorization. (a) A                                                            
     severe  acute respiratory  syndrome (SARS)  control program  is                                                            
     authorized  in the department.  The SARS control program  shall                                                            
     be administered  in the  same manner and  has the same  powers,                                                            
     authority,  obligations,  and limited  immunities  as does  the                                                            
     program  for the control of tuberculosis  under AS 18.15.120  -                                                            
     18.15.149, except for the following:                                                                                       
          (1)  the provisions of the control program described in AS                                                            
     18.15.120(1) and (7);                                                                                                      
          (2)  reports to state medical officers under AS 18.15.131;                                                            
          (3) examinations of persons under AS 18.15.133;                                                                       
          (4)  title  to  and inventory  of  equipment  allotted  to                                                            
     private institutions under AS 18.15.140;                                                                                   
          (5)  the screening of school employees under AS 18.15.145.                                                            
     (b)  In  this section,  "SARS"  or  "severe  acute respiratory                                                             
     syndrome"  means the infectious disease caused  by the SARS-CoV                                                            
     or the SARS coronavirus and the mutations of that disease."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Furthermore, a new bill section is inserted on page 4, line 12 that                                                             
reads as follows.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 8.  Sections 1 and 2 of  this Act take effect immediately                                                             
     under AS 01.10.070(c).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde moved for adoption of Amendment #1.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken objected  to discuss  the status  of the  amendment                                                            
with Co-chair Green, the  Chair of the Committee's subcommittees for                                                            
the Department  of Health and Social Services and  the Department of                                                            
Corrections.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Green asked that the motion be temporarily tabled.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken requested that the motion be withdrawn.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde WITHDREW the motion to adopt Amendment #2; however,                                                               
he asked that the amendment be discussed.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DOUGLAS BRUCE,  Director, Division  of Public Health, Department  of                                                            
Health and  Social Services stated  that this amendment would  allow                                                            
the Department  to develop  a program, similar  to its tuberculosis                                                             
program, to address a possible  outbreak of Sudden Acute Respiratory                                                            
Syndrome (SARS)  or other issues that might require  quarantines. He                                                            
stated that the amendment  would additionally provide the Department                                                            
with the  authority  to address the  particulars  of the disease  as                                                            
they differ from those of tuberculosis.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  clarified  that  this  amendment  would  affect  a                                                            
different section  of the bill than  the medical parole issue  does,                                                            
and in addition, he stated, it would require a title change.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman asked  the potential  for  a SARS  outbreak in  the                                                            
State.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. BETH  FUNK, Epidemiology  Section,  Division  of Public  Health,                                                            
Department   of   Health  and   Social   Services,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from an offnet site in Anchorage and  specified that                                                            
this amendment  would provide the State with the ability  to develop                                                            
a program  to  specifically  address the  particulars  of SARS.  She                                                            
noted  that  the  State  has  observed  the  various  international                                                             
reactions  to SARS  outbreaks and  has determined  that the  regions                                                            
that moved quickly  to test and quarantine suspected  outbreaks have                                                            
been the most  successful in disease control. She  stated that while                                                            
most  people  voluntarily  comply  with  quarantine   requests,  the                                                            
State's  lack  of  enforcement   capability  might  hinder   disease                                                            
control.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Dr.  Funk   informed  that  the  incubation   period  for   SARS  is                                                            
approximately two to ten  days. She stated that this timeframe could                                                            
provide the opportunity  for SARS to be introduced  to the State due                                                            
to the  fact that  Alaskans  travel so  much and  that national  and                                                            
international travel is so "rapid."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor questioned  why one specific  infectious illness  is                                                            
addressed  in this amendment,  as he suggested  that a more  generic                                                            
approach  should be  presented to  allow the  Department to  address                                                            
infectious illnesses as deemed necessary.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Dr.  Bruce agreed  "that  more  general powers"  would  be  welcome;                                                            
however, he stated that  this is the initial step of a long process.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor voiced support  for the overall Department objective.                                                            
However;  he stated  that previous  legislative  attempts to  change                                                            
regulations  to address  a medical outbreak,  specifically  acquired                                                            
immunodeficiency  syndrome  (AIDS),  were  unsuccessful;  partly  he                                                            
noted,  due to  a lack of  cooperation  from the  medical field.  He                                                            
avowed that he  has "no problem with this amendment,"  but he voiced                                                            
"strong concern … with  the inability of the Department to react" to                                                            
medical  emergencies because  of "political  sensibilities,"  rather                                                            
than "the appropriate medical response."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  questioned whether  this concern could be  addressed                                                            
in current  Public Health regulations,  as specified on page  267 of                                                            
the Alaska Statutes, Year 2002, Volume 5, that read as follow.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 18.05.040  Regulations (a) The commissioner shall adopt                                                            
     regulations   consistent   with  existing   law  for  (1)   the                                                            
     definition,  reporting,   and control  of  diseases  of  public                                                            
     health significance"  should provide the Commissioner  with the                                                            
     authority to address major health issues.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bruce responded  that this amendment  would address the  concern                                                            
that  this   regulation  does  not   provide  the  Department   with                                                            
sufficient ability to quarantine individuals.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Green suggested  that  the language  could  be amended  to                                                            
include SARS under the tuberculosis program authority.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bruce voiced  support for the  establishment of a separate  SARS                                                            
program, similar to that  specified for tuberculosis, as he stressed                                                            
that the program  must contain language  and procedures specific  to                                                            
SARS.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bruce  asserted  that this  amendment would  provide an  interim                                                            
approach  to providing  the  more generic  authority  that would  be                                                            
required.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked whether existing State statutes,  specifically                                                            
Title 26.  Military Affairs  and Veterans.  would provide the  State                                                            
with the authority to make  decisions regarding State disasters such                                                            
as an epidemic situation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bruce commented  that "the Department of Law has  indicated that                                                            
they  would  be  much  more comfortable"   were  this clarification                                                             
provided.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  agreed  with  Senator  Taylor's  comment  that  the                                                            
amendment's language  should be generic as opposed  to being crafted                                                            
to address  one specific  virus. She stated  that she would  revisit                                                            
the language  of the amendment to  provide a more generic  approach.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Wilken  commented  that  the amendment  would  be  further                                                            
revised.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The bill was HELD in Committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 105(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to loans to satisfy past due federal tax                                                                  
     obligations of commercial fishermen and to the commercial                                                                  
     fishing loan program."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Wilken   announced  that  this  legislation   would  allow                                                            
commercial  fisherman to  secure loans to  satisfy federal  Internal                                                            
Revenue Service (IRS) debt retirement.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS,  the bill's  sponsor,  expressed  that  this                                                            
legislation  results from the State's  Salmon Task Force  efforts to                                                            
assist the  "in crisis" fishing  industry.  He stated that  the bill                                                            
proposes changes to the  Commercial Fishing Revolving Loan Fund that                                                            
is funded by  its participants and  administered by the Division  of                                                            
Investments,  Department of Community  and Economic Development,  by                                                            
reinstating  a  previous   loan  program  that  allowed   commercial                                                            
fishermen  "to access these  funds to satisfy  past due federal  tax                                                            
obligations."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator G. Stevens  voiced that the Salmon Task Force  supports this                                                            
legislation  in  order  to  protect  and  retain  in-state  resident                                                            
limited-entry salmon permits  and continue providing jobs in regions                                                            
of the  State with  limited job  opportunities.  He emphasized  that                                                            
these loans would be "secured"  and have a maximum $40,000 limit. He                                                            
stated that in addition  to loan requirements, applicants must prove                                                            
that they  are a current  resident  of the State,  must have  been a                                                            
resident  for the  two  previous years;  must  be current  on  their                                                            
federal  tax filings;  and must have  a payment  agreement with  the                                                            
IRS.  He  stated  that  this  legislation   would  incur  a  $30,000                                                            
detriment in FY 04 and  a detriment of $13,000 thereafter through FY                                                            
09.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator G. Stevens noted  that the removal of the word "promptly" in                                                            
Section  3, subsection  (b),  line 31  on page  4,  would allow  the                                                            
Department   flexibility   regarding  the   timeline  required   for                                                            
advertising  the sale of repossessed  permits in order to  entertain                                                            
"quality offers." This language reads as follows.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 3. AS 16.10.337(b) is amended to read:                                                                                
     (b)  If the commission  does  not exercise  its right of  first                                                            
     refusal within  30 days after it receives the  offer, or if the                                                            
     permit  is   not  subject  to  a  buy-back  program   under  AS                                                            
     16.43.290-16.43.330,  the department shall [PROMPTLY] advertise                                                            
     and sell the permit.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Next Text Underlined [DELETED TEXT BRACKETED]                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Bunde  asked   whether  the  bill's   two-year   residency                                                            
requirement might incur a legal challenge.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator G.  Stevens stated that the  two-year residency requirement                                                             
is not a new provision  in the bill, and he stated that, to date, no                                                            
legal challenge  has been introduced. He clarified  that in addition                                                            
to the  two-year  residency  requirement,  the applicant  must be  a                                                            
current resident of the State.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor  clarified that federal  law does not allow  for more                                                            
than a two-year residency requirement.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor offered  a motion  to move the  bill from  Committee                                                            
with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There being no  objections, HB 105 was REPORTED from  Committee with                                                            
previous  negative $30,000  fiscal note  #1 from  the Department  of                                                            
Community and Economic Development.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 10(HES)                                                                            
     Establishing the Joint Legislative Charter School Task Force.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken explained  that this  bill would  create an  eight-                                                            
member  charter   school  task  force  to  review  Alaska   statutes                                                            
pertaining to charter schools.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
WES KELLER, Staff  to the bill's sponsor Senator Fred  Dyson, voiced                                                            
that this resolution would  establish a charter school task force to                                                            
review existing laws for  compliance with such issues as the federal                                                            
No Child Left Behind Act  of 2001 (NCLB) and present a report to the                                                            
Legislature.  He noted that,  in addition,  the task force  would be                                                            
required "to propose  alternative governing of a school"  were it to                                                            
fail to meet requirements.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor  voiced support for the bill as he  agreed that it is                                                            
wise  to  review   charter  school   regulations  and  provide   the                                                            
Legislature with policy directives.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde asked  whether the  omission of  language  specifying                                                            
whether  the Legislative  representation  on the  review panel  task                                                            
force, as referenced  on page two, line 21, would  be members of the                                                            
majority or minority party was intentional.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Keller  responded that the intent  would be to appoint  a member                                                            
of the majority  and a member  of the minority  from each house.  He                                                            
noted  that  the Senate  President  and  the  Speaker of  the  House                                                            
support this language.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1:  This amendment inserts  clarifying language  into the                                                            
resolution  on page two,  lines 21 - 23,to  specify that a  minority                                                            
and majority member  from each house would comprise  the four-member                                                            
Legislative presentation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde moved for adoption of Amendment #1.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Wilken  clarified that the amendment would  provide for the                                                            
inclusion  of a total of  four members: one  member of the  majority                                                            
and one member of the minority  parties in the Senate and one member                                                            
of the majority and one  member of the minority parties in the House                                                            
of Representatives.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Taylor  understood   the   amendment   to  provide   equal                                                            
representation.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken objected  to the amendment.  He voiced being  "very                                                            
comfortable with having  the President of the Senate and the Speaker                                                            
of the House appoint whomever, regardless of party."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde asserted  that while the language might be appropriate                                                            
under  the current  leadership,  this  situation might  differ  over                                                            
time; therefore, he supported the clarifying language.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator Bunde and Senator Hoffman                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator B. Stevens.  Senator Taylor, Co-chair Green and Co-                                                            
chair Wilken                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ABSENT: Senator Olson                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The motion FAILED (2-4-1)                                                                                                       
Amendment #1 FAILED to be adopted.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green characterized  the bill's accompanying $20,000 fiscal                                                            
notes  as "excessive,"  as she  declared that  existing staff  could                                                            
provide support  to the short-term  task force.  She noted  that the                                                            
amount of the  bill's fiscal notes raised concern  during the Senate                                                            
HES Committee discussions.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  observed that a school administrator,  principal or                                                            
superintendent should be involved in the review process.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #2:  This amendment inserts  language into the  resolution                                                            
on page 2, line 27 as follows.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
               (5) that the ninth member of the body be a school                                                                
     administrator, superintendent, or principal."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken moved for the adoption of Amendment #2.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor objected.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRED  DYSON  expressed  that more  than  five  groups  have                                                            
requested  representation  on the review  panel.  He stated that  in                                                            
response to  this, the decision was  made to address the  make-up of                                                            
the panel in a  broad manner so that the policy group  could solicit                                                            
input from special interest  groups such as bargaining units, school                                                            
administrators,  and school financial administrators.  He noted that                                                            
the two  groups specified  in the bill have  the authority  to enter                                                            
into agreements as opposed to other groups.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Discussion ensued  amongst Committee members, during  which Co-Chair                                                            
Green suggested that the  language of the amendment specify that the                                                            
Governor  would  be the  appointing  authority  for  these  persons;                                                            
Senator  Hoffman  suggested that  the  amendment language  could  be                                                            
addressed as a component  of Number (2) in that section; and Senator                                                            
Taylor  suggested  that the  amendment  should specify  a  "retired"                                                            
principal, superintendent or administrator.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Amendment-to-Amendment  #2: This friendly amendment to the amendment                                                            
would read as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
               (2) two members, appointed by the Governor, one of                                                               
     which should be a principal, administrator or superintendent.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Wilken  moved for the adoption  of the friendly  amendment-                                                            
to-Amendment #2.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson noted  that  the Department  of Education  and  Early                                                            
Development's  representative,  appointed  by  the  Governor,  could                                                            
possess a school administrator's background.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment #2, as amended, was ADOPTED.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor moved  to report  the resolution,  as amended,  from                                                            
Committee with  individual recommendations  and accompanying  fiscal                                                            
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no  objection,  CS SCR  10  (FIN)  was  REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee with  previous $10,000 fiscal note #1 from  the Senate HES                                                            
Committee  and previous $10,000  fiscal note  #2 from Department  of                                                            
Education and Early Development.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 49(JUD)                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)                                                                        
     identification registration system and testing; and providing                                                              
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Wilken informed  that this bill  would expand the  State's                                                            
deoxyribonucleic  acid (DNA) database  "registry to include  samples                                                            
from all persons who are  convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor sex                                                            
offense."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TOM ANDERSON,  the bill's sponsor, explained that the                                                            
collection  of DNA  "is  the next  step in  the advancement  in  the                                                            
science  of  crime investigation,"   and has  been  instrumental  in                                                            
providing  evidence  in convictions  that,  otherwise,  "would  have                                                            
previously  been  impossible."  He  stated  that  DNA  evidence,  in                                                            
addition  to assisting in  convictions, has  also aided in  clearing                                                            
persons  wrongfully   accused  of  a  crime.  He  stated  that  this                                                            
legislation would provide  law enforcement efficiencies, assist with                                                            
furthering  unsolved crimes,  and expand the  State's DNA  database.                                                            
Furthermore, he noted that  DNA samples would be acquired from those                                                            
juveniles adjudicated as  a delinquent for felony or misdemeanor sex                                                            
offenses, would  allow for voluntary  and anonymous DNA donors,  and                                                            
would require  that sex  offenders or child  kidnappers register  as                                                            
such. He stated that DNA sampling is a nationwide trend.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde voiced support for the bill.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 03 # 86, Side B 09:52 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  understood that parents  might voluntarily  desire to                                                            
have   their   children's   DNA  sampled   in   order   to   provide                                                            
identification   verification;  however,  he   asked  the  value  of                                                            
anonymous DNA donations.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant  Attorney General, Legal Services Section-                                                            
Juneau,  Criminal   Division,  Department  of  Law  responded   that                                                            
anonymous  DNA donations  could be valuable  in identifying  missing                                                            
person remains.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor  asked  for  further  clarification  regarding  "the                                                            
scope" of  individuals who  would be affected  by this DNA  sampling                                                            
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti  stated that individuals "convicted  of felonies under                                                            
Title 11  and Title 28,  Chapter 35 felonies  which is felony  drunk                                                            
driving,  felony  refusal   and  felony  leaving  the  scene  of  an                                                            
accident"  would be subject  to the legislation.  Additionally,  she                                                            
noted it would  affect persons convicted  of crimes against  persons                                                            
under AS  1141 that would  include "a few  misdemeanor sex  offenses                                                            
and assaults."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor asked how the legislation would affect juveniles.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti responded  that it would affect "juveniles adjudicated                                                            
as delinquents" who are convicted for these offenses.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor asked the legislation's fiscal impact.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Wilken  stated that  an indeterminate  Department  of  Law                                                            
fiscal note accompanies the bill.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor  asked whether federal funding might  be forthcoming.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti  voiced the understanding  that federal funding  would                                                            
be available to provide for the additional testing expenses.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JUANITA  HENSLEY, Special  Assistant,  Office of  the Commissioner,                                                             
Department  of Public  Safety, noted  that this  federal funding  is                                                            
unique  in  that  the  federal  government  would  establish  direct                                                            
contracts with certified  laboratories to which the State would send                                                            
the samples  for testing.  She noted that  this indirect funding  is                                                            
anticipated to be available for a minimum of five years.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  asked what provisions  are included in the  bill to                                                            
guarantee that the DNA  samples would not be used for other purposes                                                            
such  as health  information  or  cloning.  Additionally,  he  asked                                                            
regarding  the State's liability  regarding  the protection  of this                                                            
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Anderson  responded that Section 11.56.762 located on                                                            
page 2, lines 20 - 26 of the bill addresses this concern.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Sec.  11.56.762.  Unlawful use  of DNA  samples.  (a) A  person                                                            
     commits the crime  of unlawful use of DNA samples if the person                                                            
     knowingly, without  authorization under AS 44.41.035, possesses                                                            
     or  allows  another person  access  to (1)  a blood,  oral,  or                                                            
     tissue sample  collected for inclusion in the  deozyribonucleic                                                            
     identification  registration system under AS  44.41.035, or (2)                                                            
     identification data or records derived from those samples.                                                                 
          (b) Unlawful use of DNA samples is a class C felony.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti qualified  that the DNA testing would be limited to 13                                                            
specific criteria  and would not include  medical DNA testing  which                                                            
determines health history.  She stressed that, while the State crime                                                            
laboratory  would retain the DNA sample  in a secured facility,  the                                                            
legislation   prohibits  a  wider   range  of  testing  from   being                                                            
conducted.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  clarified that the  testing would be limited  to 13                                                            
elements.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti  stated that the 13 DNA molecule-sampling  tests would                                                            
provide sufficient  information to the Department  of Public Safety.                                                            
She continued  that the sample  would be  securely retained  in case                                                            
the DNA results require double-checking.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  asked  how  this  legislation  provides   protection                                                            
against DNA being used for commercial purposes.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Anderson  stated  that  protection  is  provided  in                                                            
language  on page 3, line  23 through page  4, line 1 that  reads as                                                            
follows.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 7. AS 44.41.035(f) is amended to read:                                                                                
        (f) The DNA identification registration system is                                                                       
     confidential,  is  not  a pubic  record  under AS  40.25.110  -                                                            
     40.25.140, and may be used only for                                                                                        
             (1) providing DNA or other blood grouping tests for                                                                
        identification analysis;                                                                                                
             (2) [LAW ENFORCEMENT PURPOSES INCLUDING] criminal                                                                  
        investigations; [AND] prosecutions, and identification of                                                             
        human remains;                                                                                                        
             (3) statistical blind analysis; [OR]                                                                               
             (4) improving the operation of the system; or                                                                    
             (5) exoneration of the innocent.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
        New text underlined [DELETED TEXT BRACKETED]                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Anderson asserted  "that parameters"  pertaining  to                                                            
sampling use are provided in the legislation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS BEHEIM,  Director, Scientific  Crime Detection Laboratory  and                                                            
Manager,  DNA Database, Department  of Public  Safety testified  via                                                            
teleconference from an  offnet site to share that in the previous 16                                                            
months, the State's  DNA database entertained 30 searches  resulting                                                            
in 15  instances where  the DNA database  "actually connected  crime                                                            
scene  evidence   to  convicted  offenders."  He  stated   that  the                                                            
remaining  15 "hits  linked together  unsolved  crimes" whereby  law                                                            
enforcement officials have  been notified that "the same perpetrator                                                            
committed these  seemingly unrelated offenses." He  shared successes                                                            
that other  states have experienced  by the  expansion of their  DNA                                                            
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Beheim  communicated that  while the  current program is  "very,                                                            
very successful,"  an  expanded program  would be  beneficial  as it                                                            
would provide  identification information  for children;  incur cost                                                            
savings   by   reducing   the   time   involved   in   crime   scene                                                            
investigations;  update  evidence  information  on  older,  unsolved                                                            
crimes;  and exonerate  some individuals  considered  suspects  in a                                                            
crime.  He continued  that this  legislation would  align the  State                                                            
with  other  states'   programs  by  allowing  DNA   samples  to  be                                                            
retroactively  acquired from  individuals who  are in jail  or under                                                            
probation  or  parole.  He noted  that  current  policy  limits  the                                                            
collection  of DNA sampling  to those convicted  since the  bill was                                                            
initially enacted in 1996.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Beheim informed  that  the state  of  Virginia,  which has  the                                                            
largest criminal "DNA database  in the country," has determined that                                                            
were their  DNA database limited to  only violent offenders,  a high                                                            
percentage of crimes would  not have been solved as "there is a very                                                            
strong  correlation  between individuals  who  might  not have  been                                                            
convicted  of violent  crimes  but are  still involved  in  criminal                                                            
activity." Therefore, he  anticipated that the State of Alaska would                                                            
experience a similar  increase in its ability to match  perpetrators                                                            
to crime  scenes. He  continued that  this program  would allow  the                                                            
State's  DNA database  to be uploaded  into the  National DNA  Index                                                            
System   (NDIS)   to   allow   unsolved   crime   profiles   to   be                                                            
reciprocatively  matched against  other states'  convicted  offender                                                            
databases.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Beheim  assured that the testing  of the "DNA markers"  would be                                                            
limited  to   law  enforcement  identification   purposes,   and  he                                                            
furthered that,  rather than being  identified by name, DNA  samples                                                            
are identified  by a laboratory coding system that  is known only to                                                            
that particular crime laboratory.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde asked  Mr. Beheim to  comment on  whether the  coding                                                            
system would  provide adequate  security  measures against  computer                                                            
hackers  who might  seek  access to  the  information  to sell,  for                                                            
instance, to an insurance company.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Beheim  assured that  the coding system  would prevent  a sample                                                            
from being  traced  to an individual.  Additionally,  he  emphasized                                                            
that medical  testing  information  would be  unavailable, as  those                                                            
types of tests would not be conducted.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
LINDA WILSON,  Deputy Director, Public  Defender Agency,  Department                                                            
of Administration  testified via teleconference from  an offnet site                                                            
to   express  that   the   adoption   of  this   legislation   would                                                            
"significantly  expand"  the offenses"  upon which  DNA sampling  is                                                            
conducted.  She expressed that the  80 offenses that would  be added                                                            
to the qualifying list  would range from misdemeanor convictions for                                                            
indecent exposure and assaultive  behavior to felony convictions for                                                            
such non-violent  crimes as shoplifting  and refusal to submit  to a                                                            
Breathalyzer test  and failure to stop at the direction  of a police                                                            
officer. In  addition, she stated  that the retroactive language  in                                                            
the bill is going "to widen"  the number of individuals who would be                                                            
required to give a sample.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms  Wilson  anticipated  that the  department  would  experience  an                                                            
increase in its  caseload due to being appointed to  represent those                                                            
individuals  refusing   to adhere   to the  DNA  requirements.   She                                                            
continued  that this expected  increase in  caseloads is the  reason                                                            
that the department has  submitted an indeterminate fiscal note. She                                                            
criticized  that  the bill  does  not  include  a mechanism  to  re-                                                            
evaluate  a  crime  wherein  a  convicted  person   maintains  their                                                            
innocence.  She asserted that  a mechanism  to retest old  evidence,                                                            
which  was  processed using  less  sophisticated  methods  than  are                                                            
available today, should be included in the bill.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  asked  whether  the  Department  of  Administration                                                             
supported the legislation.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Wilson  announced that  the department  was not in favor  of the                                                            
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde asked  for further  information  regarding  testimony                                                            
citing  that individuals  who  commit  "petty crimes  or  relatively                                                            
minor felony offenses" commit more serious offenses.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hensley shared that  when the state of Virginia expanded its DNA                                                            
sampling  database to include  individuals  who were convicted  of a                                                            
"white collar  crime" such as forgery, the inclusion  of these "non-                                                            
violent crime"  offenders in the DNA data base enabled  the State to                                                            
solve 63-percent  of its property crimes, 21-percent  of sex offense                                                            
crimes,  14-percent of homicide  crimes, and  one-percent of  murder                                                            
crimes. She  asserted that  this is evidence  that individuals,  who                                                            
commit  non-violent  crimes such  as  shoplifting,  do commit  other                                                            
crimes including violent crimes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stevens asked how  this legislation would expand the State's                                                            
DNA qualifying  offenses  as specified  in the  "State DNA  Database                                                            
Laws Qualifying Offenses  (As of October 2002)" chart in the October                                                            
15,  2002   National  Conference   of  State   Legislatures   (NCSL)                                                            
LegisBrief  [copy on  file].  He voiced  the understanding  that  it                                                            
would provide for the inclusion of all felony offenses.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti agreed that  all felony offenses listed in the State's                                                            
Title 11  and Title 28.35  would qualify,  including Felony  Driving                                                            
While  Intoxicated  (DWI)  and  refusal  to  submit  to  an  alcohol                                                            
Breathalyzer  test, as  well as  "juveniles found  to be  delinquent                                                            
based on similar acts."  Additionally, she stated, "it would include                                                            
some misdemeanors  that  are crimes  against a person;"  as well  as                                                            
arrestees  or suspects "if  there's a search  warrant to gather  DNA                                                            
from the suspect;"  however, she clarified that their  DNA would not                                                            
be  included in  the  databank were  they  cleared of  the  offense.                                                            
Continuing,  she  stated  that  the  DNA  sampling  expansion  would                                                            
include  individuals  currently  on  probation  or parole  were  the                                                            
crimes they committed offenses that are being added.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stevens assumed,  therefore, that other states listed on the                                                            
chart might "have limited versions" of offenses as well.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti concurred.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti clarified  that the bill would not include individuals                                                            
on unsupervised probation or parole.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator B. Stevens  assumed that the four states that  are using DNA                                                            
sampling  to  its  "fullest  advantage"  require  DNA  samples  from                                                            
arrestees and suspects.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Carpeneti  noted  that  Louisiana  does  require  suspects  and                                                            
arrestees to give  DNA samples. However, she noted  that it does not                                                            
require all violent crime offenders to provide DNA samples.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator  B. Stevens  surmised that  because Louisiana  requires  DNA                                                            
samples from arrestees  and suspects, there is no need to require it                                                            
from the violent crime  offenders as they might have previously been                                                            
sampled.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti  replied that in some states, including  Alaska, a DNA                                                            
sample taken  from an arrestee  or suspect  who is not convicted  or                                                            
whose conviction  is overruled, would  be purged from the  databank.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Stevens stated  that because  all crime  scene evidence  is                                                            
retained indefinitely,  a convicted offender's DNA  could be matched                                                            
against  the entire  field.  Therefore,  he  asserted  that all  the                                                            
various offense  qualifications could  be eliminated, were  the bill                                                            
simplified to require "all jailed offenders" to be tested.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Hensley  puzzled  as  to the  reason  that  all  violent  crime                                                            
offenders are not tested in some states.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator B  Stevens asserted  that DNA testing  of all offenders  was                                                            
originally the intent of presenting this legislation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Anderson could not verify that assertion.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  B.  Stevens  stated  that  he  would  not  be  offering  an                                                            
amendment   to  this  affect  because   it  would  experience   much                                                            
opposition.  However,  he pointed  out that  were  all offenders  to                                                            
provide DNA samples, they  would either be exonerated of a crime and                                                            
their DNA sample  would be destroyed or they would  be convicted and                                                            
would be a jailed offender.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Anderson  agreed; however, he voiced that there would                                                            
not be support for such a blanket approach.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stevens asserted  that an all-inclusive approach would solve                                                            
more crimes.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor voiced  concern regarding  the security  of the  DNA                                                            
databanks and urged that  safeguards be instituted to warrant a high                                                            
level of confidence.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti  responded that the  Department of Law has  confidence                                                            
that  adequate safeguards  would  be in  place. She  noted that  the                                                            
inclusion of language specifying  that anyone found guilty of misuse                                                            
of the sample  and the data would  be charged with a Class  C felony                                                            
would be a deterrent.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson voiced  concern  that a  DNA match  might reflect  "a                                                            
false positive" and therefore convict an innocent person.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Beheim  responded that DNA profiles  are essentially  unique and                                                            
that  it  would be  virtually  impossible,  with  the  exception  of                                                            
identical twins,  for two individuals to have the  same DNA profile.                                                            
He alerted that  a sample mix-up could occur, however,  he qualified                                                            
that  samples  are retained  and  are  re-analysised  for  "positive                                                            
assurance" whenever a positive "hit" is found.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson asked how  often a  mix-up in the  collection  of the                                                            
data and a DNA sample might occur.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Beheim responded  that no mix-ups were found in  the re-analysis                                                            
conducted  on the 15 positive  hits that  have been experienced.  He                                                            
continued  that in addition  to the  re-testing  of the crime  scene                                                            
evidence,  a new DNA sample  from the suspect  is also acquired  and                                                            
tested previous to any criminal proceedings being undertaken.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked what  is done with DNA  samples of an  unsolved                                                            
crime.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Beheim  responded that all crime  scene evidence is permanently                                                             
retained in  the laboratory. He stated  that all unsolved  crime DNA                                                            
profiles,  which are referred  to as a forensic  index, are  entered                                                            
into a national  database and "are  searched against other  unsolved                                                            
cases" on a State and national level.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 10:26 AM / 10:26 AM                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor  moved  to  report  the  bill  from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Without objection,  SCS HB 49(JUD) was REPORTED from  Committee with                                                            
previous zero fiscal note  # 1 from the Department of Public Safety,                                                            
previous zero  fiscal note #2 from  Department of Law; and  previous                                                            
indeterminate fiscal note  #3 from the Department of Administration.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 109(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An  Act  relating  to  the  limitation  on  payment  of  state                                                            
     treasury  warrants and to the payment of a claim  for which the                                                            
     appropriation  has  lapsed;  and  providing  for  an  effective                                                            
     date."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
LINDA SYLVESTER,  Staff to Representative Bruce Weyhrauch,  informed                                                            
the  Committee  that  this  bill  would  streamline  the  accounting                                                            
functions  for two  items: stale-dated  warrants  and Miscellaneous                                                             
Claims. She  stated that  rather than the  current process  in which                                                            
the funds  designated for  warrants are transferred  to the  general                                                            
fund  if they are  not cashed  within  two years  of issuance,  this                                                            
legislation would  designate that the funds for warrants  not cashed                                                            
within  six  months   of  issuance  would  be  transferred   to  the                                                            
Department of Revenue's  "Unclaimed Property Section." She explained                                                            
that this action  would allow delinquent claims to  be paid when the                                                            
warrants   are  submitted,   without   requiring   the  originating                                                             
department to  request funds to be re-appropriated  from the general                                                            
fund via the Fast Track Supplemental bill.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked whether there  is any opposition to  this bill.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Sylvester stated there is none.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Taylor  moved  to  report  the  bill  from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal note.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no objections,  CS  HB  109 (FIN)  was  REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee  with   zero  fiscal  note  #1  from  the  Department   of                                                            
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 213                                                                                                        
     "An Act establishing the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority                                                                
     and relating to that authority; and providing for an effective                                                             
     date."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Wilken  stated that this legislation would  provide for the                                                            
establishment  of an independent  authority  to build and operate  a                                                            
Knik Arm Bridge.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MIKE BARTON, Commissioner,  Department of Transportation  and Public                                                            
Facilities, expressed that  this bill would establish a separate and                                                            
independent authority,  which would function in a  similar manner as                                                            
the  Alaska Housing  Finance  Corporation,  to build  and operate  a                                                            
bridge  across  Knik Arm.  In  addition,  he  stated that  it  would                                                            
provide for  the creation  of a three-person  board, which  would be                                                            
comprised of the commissioners  of the Department of Revenue and the                                                            
Department  of Transportation  and Public  Facilities, and  a public                                                            
member appointed  by the Governor.  He specified that each  of these                                                            
persons  would  serve  a  five-year  term  with  the  option  of  an                                                            
additional five-year term.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Barton  declared that the majority  of the language in  the bill                                                            
pertains to the Authority's  ability to: issue revenue bonds; accept                                                            
and receive  federal  government  funding; provide  for Legislative                                                             
oversight  of bonds; and  manage the construction  and operation  of                                                            
the bridge.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Wilken announced  that the purpose  of this hearing  is to                                                            
entertain issues regarding the bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  asked  whether  a  change  in administration   would                                                            
"automatically change" the Board's membership.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton replied that  even though the commissioners  of                                                            
the  two  departments   might  change   as  the  result   of  a  new                                                            
administration,  this  situation would  not immediately  affect  the                                                            
members of the Board as they are appointed for five-year terms.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  asked  the reactions  to  this  legislation  by  the                                                            
affected communities, particularly  the reaction of the Municipality                                                            
of Anchorage which would be most impacted by this legislation.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton responded that  "there is an amazing  amount of                                                            
support"  for the  construction  of a bridge.  He stated  that  at a                                                            
recent  meeting  in Palmer  in  the  Matanuska-Susitna  Borough,  no                                                            
opposition to the bridge was experienced.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor  noted that  the distance across  Knik Arm is  short.                                                            
Therefore, he suggested  that a fast ferry and/or a hovercraft might                                                            
be viable alternatives to a bridge.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton acknowledged the suggestion.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman, referring  to the three-person administrative staff                                                            
as  outlined  in   the  accompanying  May  5,  2003  Department   of                                                            
Transportation  and Public Facilities fiscal note,  asked whether it                                                            
is   imperative   that  staff   be   hired  immediately   upon   the                                                            
establishment  of  the Authority.  Additionally,  he  asked at  what                                                            
point  the  tolls  generated  from  the  bridge  would  support  the                                                            
bridge's administrative costs.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner   Barton  voiced  the  need  for  early   hire  of  the                                                            
administrative staff, as  they would be able to assist the Authority                                                            
in  securing adequate  funding  and  design determinations  for  the                                                            
bridge. He noted that the  construction of the bridge is anticipated                                                            
to occur in  the 2007 to 2009 timeframe,  depending upon  the bridge                                                            
design.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman asked when  the bridge design requests for proposals                                                            
should be conducted  in order to start  construction in the  2007 to                                                            
2009 timeframe.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton responded  that it would  depend on the  bridge                                                            
option  selected.  He  stated  that bridge  design  work  should  be                                                            
conducted in 2005 and 2006.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  voiced surprise that  there is no opposition  to this                                                            
legislation  as, he stated,  this is not typically  the norm  when a                                                            
project could negatively affect property values in an area.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton  reiterated  that, while  there  might be  some                                                            
concern, no opposition has been expressed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken voiced  concern regarding  the Department's  fiscal                                                            
note and the subsequent impact on the FY 04 budget.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Wilken   opined  that   communities,   specifically   the                                                            
Municipality of Anchorage  and the Mat-Su Borough, should be able to                                                            
participate in discussions  with the Bridge Authority. Therefore, he                                                            
questioned  whether the  word "confer,"  as denoted  in the bill  in                                                            
Article 2.  Powers and Duties,  Subsection  (a)(17) on page  4, line                                                            
27, is "strong enough."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
               (17) confer with municipal and other governments,                                                                
     metropolitan planning organizations, and the department,                                                                   
     concerning the Knik Arm bridge;                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner   Barton  referred   the  Committee   to  language   in                                                            
Subsection  (b)(5),  on page  5, line  18  that specifies  that  the                                                            
Authority must coordinate activities with these communities.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
               (5) coordinate the exercise of its powers to plan,                                                               
     design, construct, operate, and maintain the Knik Arm Bridge                                                               
     with the department, and with the mayors of the Municipality                                                               
     of Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken acknowledged  this language; however, he opined that                                                            
the word "coordinate is a soft word."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  testified to the Mat-Su Borough's  long-term support                                                            
of  this  project.   She  responded   to  Senator  Olson's   remarks                                                            
pertaining  to the project's  adverse effect  on Anchorage  property                                                            
values  by asserting  that  the Mat-Su  Borough would  similarly  be                                                            
affected by a  loss of traffic in its core area. However,  she noted                                                            
that  allowing  traffic  to  be  expedited   from  the  area  toward                                                            
Anchorage  would relieve  congestion and  provide other communities                                                             
more direct access to Anchorage.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Green   voiced,  however,  that  the  Mat-Su   Borough  is                                                            
concerned  about the  primacy of  the Department.  Furthermore,  she                                                            
noted  that  while  the  Mat-Su  Borough  and  the  Municipality  of                                                            
Anchorage  might not  always  agree on  an issue,  both communities                                                             
support  improvements  in the regional  transportation  system.  She                                                            
voiced support  of Co-Chair Wilken's concern about  "soft language,"                                                            
and  she  expressed  further  concern  regarding   the Department's                                                             
"higher level of control;"  particularly the Department's control on                                                            
project funding.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 03 # 87, Side A 10:41 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton responded  that this legislation would establish                                                            
"a separate  legal authority  that  would be able  to raise  revenue                                                            
through the sale  of bonds." He assured that the bonds  would not be                                                            
an obligation  of  the State,  as the  Authority  would issue  them.                                                            
Furthermore,  he noted that it would  be Authority, rather  than the                                                            
Department that would be working with the various municipalities                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked how the situation would be resolved,  were the                                                            
two communities "to totally disagree" on the project.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor  declared that the  Bridge Authority must  be created                                                            
as an autonomous  entity  in order to issue  bonds. Furthermore,  he                                                            
voiced  that  while it  might  be desired  for  the public  to  have                                                            
greater input and that  the affected communities should consult with                                                            
the Authority regarding  the project, he attested that the action of                                                            
providing communities with  a "primacy" control could jeopardize the                                                            
asset  that  the bonds  are  pledged  to "payoff."  He  voiced  that                                                            
stronger language  might negatively  affect the Authority's  ability                                                            
to sell bonds.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  asked the Department to address these  concerns and                                                            
report back to the Committee.  Additionally, he asked the Department                                                            
how a delay in action on  this legislation might impact the project.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton  responded that even if no action  were taken on                                                            
the bill this Legislative  session, the Department would continue to                                                            
"proceed  on the  course we're  on." However,  he  asserted that  it                                                            
would  be beneficial  to  pass the  legislation  this  year, as  the                                                            
establishment  of  the Bridge  Authority  would assist  in  focusing                                                            
efforts  and  developing  methods   to secure   funding  that  would                                                            
contribute to getting the bridge built.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator  B. Stevens  voiced  concern regarding  "the  extent of  the                                                            
power of the authority"  and how it would affect the  communities of                                                            
Anchorage  and the  Mat-Su Borough.  To that  end, he  asked for  an                                                            
explanation  of the term "appurtenant  facilities" as referenced  in                                                            
Article  2. Powers and  Duties. Section  44.90.111 subsections  (1),                                                            
(7), and (16) on page three and four that read as follows.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Article 2. Powers and Duties.                                                                                              
          Sec. 44.90.111. Powers and duties of the authority. (a)                                                               
     In furtherance of its purposes, the authority may                                                                          
              (1) own, acquire, construct, develop create,                                                                      
     reconstruct, equip, operate, maintain, extend, and improve the                                                             
     Knik Arm bridge and its appurtenant facilities;                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
              (7) issue bonds and otherwise incur indebtedness, in                                                              
     accordance  with AS 44.90.211, in order to pay  the cost of the                                                            
     Knik Arm  bridge and its appurtenant facilities;  the authority                                                            
     may also  secure payment of the bonds or other  indebtedness as                                                            
     provided in AS 44.90.221;                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
              (16) exercise powers of eminent domain or file a                                                                  
     declaration of taking as necessary for the Knik Arm bridge and                                                             
     appurtenant facilities under AS 09.55.240 - 09.55.460 to                                                                   
     acquire land or an interest in land;                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  B. Stevens opined  that this language  seemingly  specifies                                                            
that the  Authority is the  entity that is  responsible "for  paying                                                            
the cost of  the bridge and its associated  facilities,"  as well as                                                            
"defining in terms of land  and facilities," what is required by the                                                            
Authority in order to build  the bridge. He surmised therefore, that                                                            
the Authority  would be responsible  for the  bridge section  of the                                                            
transportation  corridor between the  two municipalities,  and would                                                            
issue bonds  to enable  the bridge  to be built  as well as  levying                                                            
fees to pay for those bonds.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton stated that is correct.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator  B   Stevens  voiced  that   the  mechanism  for   including                                                            
communities  in the  events leading  up to the  construction  of the                                                            
bridge is provided; however,  he questioned how communities would be                                                            
involved after the bridge is built.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton  concurred that  this language  "addresses  the                                                            
crossing  itself and  its immediate  environs." He  stated that  the                                                            
federal  highway program  would be  involved because  the north  and                                                            
south  side approaches  to  the bridge  would affect  the  federally                                                            
funded  road network  to  such place  as  Houston and  Talkeetna  in                                                            
addition to  the Mat-Su Borough and  the Municipality of  Anchorage.                                                            
He reminded Committee  Members that the federally  mandated Regional                                                            
Transportation  Planning  Organization  is charged  with  addressing                                                            
conflicts  that a transportation  project such  as this one,  "might                                                            
incur to a great part of the State."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  B. Stevens  asked  whether the  Knik Arm  Bridge  Authority                                                            
"would  be a participant  in  the Regional  Transportation  Planning                                                            
Organization."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton  responded that while the Authority  "would have                                                            
a lot  of involvement"  with the  Organization, he  is unsure  as to                                                            
whether the Authority would be a member of it.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator B. Stevens interjected  that boroughs, cities, and the State                                                            
are members of that organization.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton agreed.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde pointed out  that this project would require the State                                                            
to expend  "$2.5  million of  scare dollars"  to  access the  "free"                                                            
federal  highway fund  money.  Therefore,  he stated  that while  it                                                            
might be  nice to  have this bridge,  he deemed  it "unnecessary  at                                                            
this time."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman stated  that this legislation appears to provide the                                                            
Knik Arm Bridge  Authority with the power to operate  outside of the                                                            
Executive Budget  Act. He asked the justification  for providing the                                                            
Authority with this ability  as opposed to the State providing funds                                                            
and  maintaining  control  of such  things  as the  Municipality  of                                                            
Anchorage International Airport improvements.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton responded  that the Executive  Budget  Act does                                                            
not apply to the Authority's ability to issue revenue bonds.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHLEEN  STRASBAUGH,   Assistant  Attorney  General,  Governmental                                                             
Affairs Section,  Civil Division, Department of Law,  clarified that                                                            
the Authority would be  required to comply with the Executive Budget                                                            
Act with the  exception that the revenues  generated by the  sale of                                                            
the bonds would be obligated  to pay off those bonds. She noted that                                                            
this  provision  is  mirrored  after  the  Alaska   Housing  Finance                                                            
Corporation (AHFC) that  operates in this manner and has the duty to                                                            
repay its bonds.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Strasbuagh  noted, however, that  the money appropriated  by the                                                            
State for operating  expenses does not qualify for  exemption, as is                                                            
specified  in  Article   2.  Powers  and  Duties.  Sec.   44.90.111.                                                            
Subsection (b)(2) that reads as follows.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     (2) comply with the provisions of AS 37.07 (Executive Budget                                                               
     Act), except that AS 37.07 does not apply to the activities of                                                             
     the  authority  that relate  to  the authority's  borrowing  of                                                            
     money  as provided in  this chapter,  including the issuing  of                                                            
     its  obligations   or  evidence  of  that  borrowing   and  the                                                            
     repayment of the debt obligation;                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton noted  that this exemption might be unnecessary;                                                            
however,  he suggested  that a  person with  bond experience  should                                                            
advise on the matter.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman noted that  AHFC has collateral comprised of housing                                                            
and other properties  that are readily marketable  as opposed to the                                                            
Knik  Arm Bridge  Authority.  Therefore,  he  stated that  were  the                                                            
Authority not granted this  exemption, the State could be liable for                                                            
the repayment of the bond debt.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton voiced  that the intent of the legislation is to                                                            
separate the  State from the sale  of revenue bonds in order  to not                                                            
obligate the  State. He noted that  an insurance company  as opposed                                                            
to the State  would be responsible  were the aforementioned  airport                                                            
bonds defaulted upon.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken opined that  while language  in the bill  specifies                                                            
that  the  State  would  not  be  obligated   for  these  bonds,  he                                                            
questioned  what  is  referred  by  the  phrase  "other  monies"  as                                                            
referenced in  Sec. 44.90.241 Nonliability on Bonds.  Subsection (b)                                                            
on page nine, lines 20-23 that reads as follows.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          (b) The bonds issued by the authority do not constitute                                                               
     an  indebtedness  or  other liability  of  the  state  or of  a                                                            
     political  subdivision of the  state other than the  authority,                                                            
     but  shall be  payable  solely from  the income,  receipts,  or                                                            
     other money or property of the authority.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair  Wilken   further  inquired  regarding  language   in  Sec.                                                            
44.90.221. Trust indentures  and trust agreements. that provides for                                                            
the  establishment  of  a capital  reserve  fund.  He  worried  that                                                            
because the  State would  be "recognizing the  bridge and the  debt"                                                            
that  the "other  monies"  specified might  be the  State's  "saving                                                            
account," and  that in future years,  the State might be  allocating                                                            
"money  to pay  that debt  and/or  the operation  of  a bridge  that                                                            
people aren't using."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton replied  that, "it is not the intent to obligate                                                            
the State."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  asked  whether  there  are  other  State  programs                                                            
modeled in this fashion.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton  responded  that such  programs  would  include                                                            
AHFC,  the  Alaska  Industrial  Development   and  Export  Authority                                                            
(AIDEA), some  portions of the Alaska Railroad Corporation,  and the                                                            
Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  asked whether  any  of the  State's international                                                             
airports have a similar authority.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton responded no.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken asked whether  the Authority could be terminated and                                                            
its responsibilities  assumed  by the Department  of Transportation                                                             
and Public  Facilities once its financial  obligations are  retired,                                                            
as  specified  in  Sec.   44.90.021.  Establishment   of  authority.                                                            
Subsection  (b) on  page  two, lines  four and  five  that reads  as                                                            
follows.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          (b) The authority may not be terminated as long as it has                                                             
     bonds, notes, or other obligations outstanding. Upon                                                                       
     termination of the authority, its rights and property pass to                                                              
     the state.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton stated  that the toll  revenues generated  from                                                            
the bridge would fund the operational costs of the bridge.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  asked the role of the Authority upon  completion of                                                            
the  bridge,   specifically,   he  asked   why  the  Department   of                                                            
Transportation  and Public Facilities could not operate  the bridge.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton  stated that the autonomy of the  Authority must                                                            
be maintained  until  the bond  obligation is  fulfilled or  another                                                            
mechanism of paying off the bonds is established.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken opined  that the  three-person  Authority could  be                                                            
maintained;  however,  the  Department   could  oversee  the  bridge                                                            
operations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Barton conveyed that this might be possible.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  pointed out that the  Department's fiscal  note could                                                            
be considered  "seed money" as the bridge's administrative  expenses                                                            
would by paid  by toll revenue rather  than by State money  once the                                                            
bridge was operational.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  asked whether other  State boards include  Governor                                                            
appointees with no specific background or "ties" to the program.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Barton  responded  that  the  Governor  also  appoints                                                            
individuals to the Boards of the Alaska Railroad Corporation, AHFC,                                                             
and AIDEA.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman expressed  that he would  be sponsoring  amendments                                                            
that  would address  the composition  of  the Authority's  Board  to                                                            
provide for  a higher level  of involvement  by the Municipality  of                                                            
Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough as well as the inclusion of non-                                                               
voting State legislators, one from the Senate and one from the                                                                  
House of Representatives, on the Board.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Wilken summarized that these issues would be addressed at                                                              
a follow-up meeting. He ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Gary Wilken adjourned the meeting at 11:02 AM                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects