Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/08/2004 09:04 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                           May 08, 2004                                                                                       
                              9:04 AM                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPES                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SFC-04 # 111,  Side A                                                                                                           
SFC 04 # 111,  Side B                                                                                                           
SFC 04 # 112,  Side A                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Gary Wilken convened  the meeting at approximately 9:04 AM.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyda Green, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Gary Wilken, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Con Bunde, Vice Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Also  Attending: REPRESENTATIVE  LES  GARA; SENATOR  HOLLIS  FRENCH;                                                          
JOEL  GILBERTSON,  Commissioner,  Department  of Health  and  Social                                                            
Services;   CYNTHIA   DRINKWATER,   Assistant    Attorney   General,                                                            
Commercial/Fair   Business   Section,  Consumer   Protection   Unit,                                                            
Department  of  Law;   TIM  BARRY,  Staff  to  Representative   Bill                                                            
Williams;  CODY RICE,  Staff to  Representative  Carl Gatto;  AMANDA                                                            
WILSON, Staff  to Representative Norm  Rokeberg; JON BITTNER,  Staff                                                            
to Representative   Cheryll Heinze;  SARAH  GILBERTSON, Legislative                                                             
Liaison, Office  of the Commissioner,  Department of Fish  and Game;                                                            
ROB BENTZ,  Deputy Director, Division  of Sport Fish, Department  of                                                            
Fish  and  Game;  JIM  PRESTON,  Boat Charter  Owner/Operator;   SUE                                                            
STANCLIFF,  Staff  to  Representative   Pete  Kott;  KEVIN  JARDELL,                                                            
Assistant Commissioner,  Department of Administration; SARA NIELSON,                                                            
Staff to Representative Ralph Samuels                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Attending  via  Teleconference:  From Offnet  sites:  JULIE  DECKER,                                                          
Executive  Director,  Southeast  Alaska  Dive  Fishery Association;                                                             
LINDA WILSON,  Deputy Director, Public  Defender Agency,  Department                                                            
of  Administration;  DUANE  BANNOCK,  Director,  Division  of  Motor                                                            
Vehicles,  Department of  Administration;  WANETTA AYERS,  Southwest                                                            
Alaska Municipal Conference; From Kenai: BLAINE GILMAN, Attorney                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 56-UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES ATTY FEES/COSTS                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard  from the sponsor  and reported  the bill  from                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SB 308-DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDERS                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the sponsor  and the Department  of Law. A                                                            
Letter  of  Intent was  adopted,  and  the bill  was  reported  from                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB 341-DIVE FISHERY MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The Committee heard from  the sponsor and the industry. The bill was                                                            
held in Committee.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HB 342-DRIVING UNDER INFLUENCE/ALCOHOL OFFENSES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard  from the  sponsor,  Representative  Rokeberg's                                                            
staff,  the  Public  Defender  Agency,  and the  Division  of  Motor                                                            
Vehicles. The bill was held in Committee.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 452-GUIDED SPORT FISHING/ ADFG & CFEC RECORDS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from  the sponsor, the  Department of  Fish and                                                            
Game, and the industry. The bill was reported from Committee.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HCR 32-AK INFO INFRASTRUCTURE POLICY TASK FORCE                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The  Committee   heard   from  the   sponsor,   the  Department   of                                                            
Administration,  and  took  public testimony.  Two  amendments  were                                                            
adopted and the bill was held in Committee.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 511-CERTIFICATE OF NEED PROGRAM                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the sponsor, the Department  of Health and                                                            
Social  Services, and  took public  testimony.  Two amendments  were                                                            
adopted and the bill reported from Committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 91-RETIRED PEACE OFFICER'S MEDICAL BENEFITS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
This bill was scheduled but not heard.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 425-SCHOOL FUNDS RELATED TO BOARDING SCHOOLS                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
This bill was scheduled but not heard.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 56(L&C)                                                                                              
     "An  Act  relating   to  the  award  to  the  state  of  actual                                                            
     reasonable   attorney  fees  and  costs,  including   costs  of                                                            
     investigation,  in  certain court  actions  relating to  unfair                                                            
     trade practices;  and amending Rules 54(d), 79,  and 82, Alaska                                                            
     Rules of Civil Procedure."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken stated  that  this bill  would allow  the State  to                                                            
recover enforcement,  investigation, and court costs  when the State                                                            
prevails in  a Court case against  a party that has violated  Alaska                                                            
Consumer  Law.  He  noted  that a  Department  of  Law  fiscal  note                                                            
accompanies the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   LES  GARA,  sponsor  of  the  bill,   informed  the                                                            
Committee  that Alaska,  with  three  half-time attorneys,  has  the                                                            
smallest Consumer Protection  Agency in the nation, and that, due to                                                            
insufficient  funding, the Agency  is limited in what it  is able to                                                            
accomplish.  He reminded the Committee  that in 1997, Senator  Dyson                                                            
had filed a bill with the  intent of boosting Agency funding without                                                            
increasing  the  demand  for additional  State  funds.  Version  23-                                                            
LS0300\I  of this bill, he  stated would  further the intentions  of                                                            
that  earlier bill  by allowing  the State,  when it  prevails  in a                                                            
consumer fraud  case under the State's  consumer protection  laws of                                                            
the  Unfair Trade  Practices  Act, to  collect  reasonable  attorney                                                            
costs  as determined  by the  Court, as  well as  the investigation                                                             
expenses associated with the case.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  explained that,  currently,  beyond the  fines                                                            
that  are levied  when  the  State prevails  in  a case,  the  State                                                            
receives an average of  20-percent of its attorney expenses and none                                                            
of  its investigation  expenses.  Passage  of this  legislation,  he                                                            
declared, would  assist in offsetting Agency expenses  by collecting                                                            
funds from  individuals who  have violated  consumers' trust  or who                                                            
have, through  dishonest  means, undermined  a law abiding  business                                                            
competitor. These  funds, he communicated, would be  used to support                                                            
and expand the  program. Therefore, he concluded that  were the bill                                                            
adopted, the State would  be allowed when it prevailed in a case, to                                                            
recoup expenses  and thereby demonstrate  that the Agency  is a cost                                                            
effective  function.  In  addition,  he  attested,  that  the  funds                                                            
generated by  this legislation could  be used to expand staffing  in                                                            
order  to pursue  more cases  with "no net  cost to  the State."  He                                                            
pointed out  that the Department of  Law's zero fiscal note,  Fiscal                                                            
Note #1,  specifies  that the bill  would not  incur any  additional                                                            
expenses to the State and  could generate an indeterminate amount of                                                            
revenue.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  understood that the  State currently only  prosecutes                                                            
cases in which a consumer  fraud case involves a pattern of multiple                                                            
victims.  Continuing, he  asked whether  any mechanism  is in  place                                                            
through which  to protect small businesses from frivolous  lawsuits.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara affirmed  that, due to staffing constraints, the                                                            
Agency currently pursues  cases in which there is a pattern of abuse                                                            
such as a situation involving  a senior care facility in which there                                                            
are multiple victims as  opposed to a single situation in which, for                                                            
example,  a  used  car salesman  makes  untrue  statements  about  a                                                            
vehicle he sold someone.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  clarified  that the  components  of this  bill                                                            
would  be limited  to those situations  involving  the State  rather                                                            
than being  applicable  to business  against  business lawsuits.  He                                                            
stated that  were the State  involved in what  might be a  frivolous                                                            
lawsuit, a determination  regarding the merits of  the case would be                                                            
made. He assured  that those administering the State's  Unfair Trade                                                            
Practices Act  do a "pretty good job"  in regard to which  cases are                                                            
processed  and that Legislators  would "express  some outrage"  were                                                            
the State to undertake a frivolous lawsuit.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CYNTHIA  DRINKWATER,  Assistant  Attorney General,  Commercial/Fair                                                             
Business  Section,  Consumer  Protection  Unit, Department  of  Law,                                                            
spoke in favor of the bill.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  voiced appreciation  for the efforts involved  in the                                                            
bill. He noted  that, when similar  legislation was proposed  in the                                                            
past,  it proposed  to "empower"  both  the private  sector and  the                                                            
public sector  to recover costs were  they to prevail in  a consumer                                                            
fraud lawsuit;  however, he noted  that the time, that language  was                                                            
eliminated  from the  bill. He expressed  delight  in the fact  that                                                            
language  enabling  the State  to recoup  damages  is being  pursued                                                            
through this legislation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken asked  regarding  a suggestion  offered by  Senator                                                            
Ralph  Seekins  to  amend the  bill,  during  its  Senate  Judiciary                                                            
Committee hearing.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  explained  that Senator  Seekins  proposed  to                                                            
amend the bill in a manner  similar to a federal anti-trust law that                                                            
would hold  the State responsible  for expenses in a consumer  fraud                                                            
lawsuit  were it to  not prevail.  He stated that  while this  might                                                            
sound like "a  balanced deal," it would serve "to  kill the consumer                                                            
protection  function"  in  the Department  of  Law.  Continuing,  he                                                            
stressed  that these  cases are  pursued to  address consumer  fraud                                                            
situations  to which "we  all abhor," and  were the State,  with its                                                            
limited staff  and funding, to lose  a case based on a technicality                                                             
or  due  to  an  unreliable  witness,   it  would  serve  to  create                                                            
"hesitancy" on the part  of the Agency to take a case and might "set                                                            
back the function" of the  Agency. Therefore, he urged the Committee                                                            
not to further that amendment.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  moved  to  report  the  bill   from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection,  CS HB 56(L&C) was REPORTED from Committee                                                            
with indeterminate  fiscal  note #1, dated  April 21, 2003  from the                                                            
Department of Law.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 308(JUD)                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to  warnings on domestic violence and stalking                                                            
     forms;  and increasing  the duration  of certain provisions  of                                                            
     domestic  violence protective  orders from six months  to up to                                                            
     one year."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  explained  that  the  Senate  Judiciary  committee                                                            
substitute,  Version 23-LS1672\H,  would double the current  maximum                                                            
length of domestic  violence protective  orders by allowing  a judge                                                            
to issue an  order for no less than  six months and up to  a maximum                                                            
of one  year. He  stated that in  addition to  being accompanied  by                                                            
several fiscal  notes, there is a  Letter of Intent from  the Senate                                                            
Judiciary Committee.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH,  the bill's sponsor, explained that this bill                                                            
would  allow a  judge to  extend the  current  six-month  protective                                                            
order mandate  to "up to one year."  He informed the Committee  that                                                            
the State  has two types  of protective orders:  a 20-day  emergency                                                            
order  that  a  petitioner   could  have  implemented   without  the                                                            
involvement of  the other party; and the six month  protective order                                                            
which could be issued upon  a court hearing involving the petitioner                                                            
and the  respondent. He  clarified that this  bill solely  addresses                                                            
the six-month  domestic  violence protective  order, which  requires                                                            
full due process before implementation.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator  French shared  that the  Senate Judiciary  Committee  added                                                            
language  to the bill,  which would  clarify  that false  statements                                                            
made  during a  court hearing  would be  subject to  the penalty  of                                                            
perjury.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  French   voiced  disagreement  with  the  Public   Defender                                                            
Agency's  fiscal  note  as,  he contented  that  the  Agency  simply                                                            
doubled its current  associated expense level through  the rationale                                                            
that  the length  of  the  protective  order  would be  doubled.  He                                                            
distributed a copy of an  email exchange [copy on file], dated March                                                            
16, 2004 between himself  and Bob Linton of the Department of Law in                                                            
which it  is noted  that, of  the 23 Domestic  Violence Restraining                                                             
Orders violations  cases that occurred in Anchorage  between January                                                            
1 and  March 1,  2004, 19  were related  to the  20-day restraining                                                             
order that is  not affected by this legislation, and  only four were                                                            
violations  of the  six-month order;  thus, he  contended that  most                                                            
violations  occur within the first  20 days of an order.  Therefore,                                                            
he concluded that  the fiscal note "is quite a bit  higher" than the                                                            
expenses that would be realized were this legislation enacted.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde asked regarding  the Senate Judiciary Committee Letter                                                            
of  Intent  that accompanies  the  bill;  specifically  whether  any                                                            
financial impact would result.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator French replied  that the Letter of Intent addresses language                                                            
in Sections  1 and  3 of the bill,  which would  require the  Alaska                                                            
Court System  to "conspicuously" highlight  the penalty for  perjury                                                            
on Court System  domestic violence restraining order  documents. The                                                            
Letter  of Intent,  he continued,  would  mandate  that, only  after                                                            
current forms  are exhausted, should  the Courts implement  the bold                                                            
type requirement.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator French voiced support for the Letter of Intent.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde moved to  adopt the Senate Judiciary Letter of Intent.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection,  the Senate Judiciary Letter of Intent was                                                            
ADOPTED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  moved to report the bill and the accompanying  Letter                                                            
of  Intent  from  Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and                                                            
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, CS SB 308(JUD)  and the Judiciary  Letter                                                            
of Intent  were REPORTED  from Committee  accompanied by a  $125,600                                                            
fiscal  note,   dated  April  9,   2004,  from  the  Department   of                                                            
Administration  and zero fiscal  note #2, dated  March 8, 2004  from                                                            
the Alaska Court System.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     HOUSE BILL NO. 341                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to the dive fishery management assessment."                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken explained  that  this bill  would  affect the  Dive                                                            
Fishery  management   assessment   in  that  it  would  finalize   a                                                            
compromise   between  Alaska   shellfish   growers  and   commercial                                                            
fishermen    and   would    additionally    address   long-standing                                                             
controversies regarding  the State's management of geoduck clams and                                                            
other shellfish  stocks on  aquatic farm sites.  He noted that  were                                                            
the Finance  committee substitute,  Version 23-LS1280\I,  adopted by                                                            
the Committee,  a title change  would be  required. In addition,  he                                                            
noted that a Department  of Revenue zero fiscal note accompanies the                                                            
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  moved to adopt the Version "I" committee  substitute                                                            
as the working document.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There being no  objection, the Version "I" committee  substitute was                                                            
ADOPTED as the working document.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TIM  BARRY,  Staff  to  Representative  Bill  Williams,  the  bill's                                                            
sponsor, explained  that this bill was introduced  at the request of                                                            
the Southeast  Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association  (SARDFA).                                                            
He noted that  the original bill incorporated "fairly  mild changes"                                                            
to existing statutes  governing the manner in which  SARDFA assesses                                                            
its dive fishermen,  Southeast Alaska communities,  and dive fishery                                                            
processor  members.  He explained  that  the Association,  which  is                                                            
funded by either  a one, three, five, or seven percent  tax assessed                                                            
on its members,  works with the Department of Fish  and Game and the                                                            
Department of  Environmental Conservation to manage  and develop the                                                            
dive fishery  in Southeast  Alaska. This  bill, he recounted,  would                                                            
allow  the Association's  tax mechanism  to be  expanded to  include                                                            
two, four, or six percent assessments.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Barry stated  that the bill was  recently amended to  address an                                                            
April  2004  State  Supreme  Court   ruling  that  resulted  in  the                                                            
Department  of Fish  and  Game issuing  cease-harvesting  orders  to                                                            
several   geoduck  farmers.   Consequently,   he  stated  that   the                                                            
Association,   shellfish  farmers,   the  Department  of   Law,  the                                                            
Department of  Fish and Game, the Governor's Office  and others have                                                            
reached  an agreement  on statutory  language that  would allow  the                                                            
shellfish  farmers to  continue to  farm shellfish.  He pointed  out                                                            
that  this  language  is  included  in  the  Version  "I"  committee                                                            
substitute  before the Committee.  He affirmed that this  agreement,                                                            
which  has  the  support  of  the  aforementioned   entities,  would                                                            
institute a title change.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson recalled  that as this dive fishery industry was being                                                            
developed,  it asked  the Legislature  to adopt  regulations,  which                                                            
would allow the industry  to levy sufficient tax assessments through                                                            
which  to administer  and supervise  operations.  He stated that  he                                                            
"was charmed"  by the fact that the industry was willing  to pay for                                                            
this  endeavor. In  that vein,  he  asked whether  this legislation                                                             
would negatively affect "the bottom line for the State."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Barry replied  that this legislation would not  affect the State                                                            
"in any way."  Continuing, he stated that enabling  SARDFA to assess                                                            
a two,  four, or  six-percent tax  would allow  the Association  "to                                                            
more effectively pay their own way."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde stated that  the bill has changed since he heard it in                                                            
the Senate  Labor  & Commerce Committee.  Continuing,  he asked  for                                                            
further  information regarding  the standing  stock language  in the                                                            
bill;  specifically  how designating  aquatic  farm  sites in  areas                                                            
where  no shellfish  naturally  exist  would benefit  the  shellfish                                                            
farming industry,  as he contested  that were the site suitable  for                                                            
the species,  the shellfish would  be naturally occurring  there. He                                                            
also asked for  further information regarding the  grandfathering in                                                            
of current  farms and the  "common property"  stock that existed  on                                                            
the site before the farm began.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Barry voiced  the understanding  that  the standing  stock  and                                                            
shellfish farmer  issue has been a topic of discussion  in excess of                                                            
five years.  He stated that the agreement  reflected in the  Version                                                            
"I"  committee  substitute   "would  define  what  significant   and                                                            
insignificant  standing stock are."  Furthermore, he stated  that in                                                            
those cases  in which a farmer  has a site  designated as having  an                                                            
insignificant  amount of standing  stocks, the farmer could  harvest                                                            
the insignificant  standing  stock and  sell it  to a processor.  He                                                            
noted that the any proceeds  generated by standing stock, beyond the                                                            
insignificant stock, would be remitted to the State.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  DECKER, Executive  Director,  Southeast  Alaska Dive  Fishery                                                            
Association,  testified via teleconference  from an offnet  site and                                                            
informed  the Committee  that  geoducks are  able to  grow in  areas                                                            
where they are  not currently present or do not naturally  grow such                                                            
as shallow inter-tidal  areas. However, she noted that it is unknown                                                            
as to whether  they would grow as well in these areas  as they would                                                            
in a natural habitat area.  Therefore, she attested that, to attract                                                            
and encourage  the growth of the "somewhat risky"  shellfish farming                                                            
industry,  it would  behoove  the State  to make  available  natural                                                            
habitat  sites,  as they  would  provide  natural feed  and  quicker                                                            
growth. She stated that  the primary on-going issue in this industry                                                            
involves  standing stock.  She shared that  the Alaska Court  System                                                            
has ruled  that areas  with insignificant  geoduck  clams should  be                                                            
available  as aquatic farm  sites, but that  areas with significant                                                             
amounts  of standing  stock  should be  regarded  as common  fishery                                                            
sites. This issue,  she disclosed has been heard by  the Lower Court                                                            
and appealed  to both  the Superior  and Supreme  Court. She  stated                                                            
that the  Supreme Court has  determined that  State statutes  do not                                                            
currently  allow the Department  of Fish and  Game to designate  any                                                            
amount  of  standing  stock,  significant  or  insignificant,  to  a                                                            
farmer. This  legislation, she contended,  supports the Lower  Court                                                            
ruling that would  change State Statute to allow farmers  to harvest                                                            
an area with  insignificant amounts  of wild stock. She stated  that                                                            
an agreement  has been reached specifying  that a harvest  of 12,000                                                            
pounds or less  would be regarded  as insignificant wild  stock. She                                                            
noted that  the net proceeds  of a harvest  exceeding that  poundage                                                            
would be remitted  to the State. She reiterated that  this issue has                                                            
been addressed  for a long time and that the ability  of the various                                                            
entities to reach this agreement was "quite an accomplishment."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Bunde  stated   that  this  legislation   involves   "some                                                            
interesting  common property issues."  He asked whether Legislative                                                             
Legal  Services  has developed  a  position  regarding  this  common                                                            
property stock issue.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  understood  that  a  Constitutional   concern  has                                                            
recently arisen regarding this legislation.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Barry  explained  that George  Utermohle,  Legislative  Counsel,                                                            
Legislative  Legal  Services,  has  written a  memorandum  [copy  on                                                            
file],  dated May  4, 2004 to  Representative  Williams,  indicating                                                            
that the agreement presented  in this legislation would change State                                                            
statutes.  Furthermore,  he stated  that  while the  recent  Supreme                                                            
Court ruling specified  that aquatic farmers should  not continue to                                                            
harvest common  stock, the Court did not address any  Constitutional                                                            
issues.  However,  he allowed  that  Constitutional  questions  have                                                            
arisen during  the years of dispute  involving this issue,  and that                                                            
the entities involved in  the development of this agreement "are all                                                            
aware" that there may be some unresolved Constitutional issues."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken asked  that the  memorandum be  distributed to  the                                                            
Members for review.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Barry concurred.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked whether  there has been  any opposition  to the                                                            
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Barry replied in the negative.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  stated that the bill would be HELD  in Committee in                                                            
order  to further  clarify,  with Legislative  Legal  Services,  the                                                            
Constitutional issues being raised.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:37 AM / 9:38 AM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 342(FIN) am                                                                                          
     "An Act relating  to driving while under the  influence, to the                                                            
     definition   of  'previously  convicted,'  to  alcohol-related                                                             
     offenses,  to ignition interlock  devices, and to the  issuance                                                            
     of limited  driver's licenses;  and providing for an  effective                                                            
     date."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  explained  that  CS  HB  342(FIN)am,  Version  23-                                                            
LS1292\W.A  would strengthen the consequences  of Driving  Under the                                                            
Influence  (DUI) and would  provide more  authority to the  Wellness                                                            
Therapeutic Court. He noted  that a positive fiscal note accompanies                                                            
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CODY RICE,  Staff to the bill's sponsor  Representative Carl  Gatto,                                                            
informed  the  Committee  that  this  legislation   entails  several                                                            
changes to  the punishments  and sanctions  of those convicted  with                                                            
DUIs including  that those convicted  of driving at twice  the blood                                                            
alcohol  content (BAC)  limit of .08  percent would  be required  to                                                            
install  an ignition  interlock  device on  their  vehicles for  six                                                            
months and those  convicted of driving at three times  the legal BAC                                                            
limit would be required to install the devices for one year.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rice noted  that another important  provision addressed  in this                                                            
bill is  the "look-back  provision."  He shared  that current  State                                                            
regulations  specify that "misdemeanor  look-backs are lifetime"  in                                                            
that, he explained,  were a person convicted of a  DUI at the age of                                                            
18 and  then again at  the age of  65, it would  be recognized  as a                                                            
second  DUI  offense.  He  compared  the  unlimited   DUI  look-back                                                            
provision to  the State's felony look-back  provision, which,  while                                                            
currently set  at eight years, is  scheduled to be increased  to ten                                                            
years by the year 2006.  This legislation, he explained would reduce                                                            
the lifetime look-back for misdemeanors to 15-years.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rice  noted that implementation  of a  15-year look-back  period                                                            
for misdemeanors would  more align Alaska's look-back timeframe with                                                            
other states' misdemeanor  look-back provisions, as reflected in the                                                            
chart  titled "  National  Conference  of State  Legislatures  Drunk                                                            
Driving Sanctions Time  Frames Used by States for Inclusion of Prior                                                            
Offenses" [copy on file].                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Rice  further   noted  that  while  current  law   allows  only                                                            
individuals with  a single DUI offense to be eligible  for a limited                                                            
driver's license, this  bill would allow those with multiple DUIs to                                                            
be issued a limited driver's  license, provided they fulfill certain                                                            
requirements such  as completion of Wellness Courts  or installation                                                            
of an ignition  interlock device.  He pointed out that the  Members'                                                            
packets  contain a  flow chart  titled "Limited  Licenses" [copy  on                                                            
file] that  reflects the  various requirements.  He also noted  that                                                            
the  packets  contain  another  flow  chart  titled  "HB 342  -  DUI                                                            
Penalties"  [copy  on  file]  that  outlines  the  proposed  penalty                                                            
changes  for  differing  BAC  levels as  explained  in  his  opening                                                            
remarks.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  commented that were  a 15-year misdemeanor  look-back                                                            
policy  adopted,  it  would  "substantially  exceed"  the  look-back                                                            
period of any other state.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rice  replied that  that is  correct, with  the exception  being                                                            
Minnesota, which has a 15-year look-back provision.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Bunde  questioned   the  rationale   for  implementing   a                                                            
misdemeanor 15-year  look-back policy when the State's  felony look-                                                            
back policy is limited to ten-years.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rice  commented  that Representative  Norm  Rokeberg  originally                                                            
proposed  this  provision  in  separate  legislation,  HB  175-PRIOR                                                            
CONVICTIONS FOR DUI that was absorbed into this legislation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde  asked  whether  pampering  with  ignition  interlock                                                            
device readings could compromise their BAC readings.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rice expressed  that while older devices might  have been flawed                                                            
in this  regard, modern  devices have been  upgraded to incorporate                                                             
complicated  mechanisms and  such things as  "rolling re-tests."  He                                                            
noted  that the devices  are constantly  being  modified to  prevent                                                            
pampering.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  surmised that these  "sophisticated" devices  must be                                                            
expensive.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rice  replied that use  of the device  would cost approximately                                                             
three dollars  per day,  which could  be likened  "to the cost  of a                                                            
drink a day."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  calculated that this would equate to  approximately a                                                            
$1,000 a year.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Rice  concurred.  However,  he stated  that,  were  the  device                                                            
"imposed at  sentencing," current  statutes could allow the  cost of                                                            
the  device to  be  deducted  from the  "fairly  substantial  fines"                                                            
imposed by the Court.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Bunde  expressed   that  his  questions   should   not  be                                                            
misconstrued to be supportive  of drinking and driving but rather to                                                            
acknowledge that  some people do this, as a result  of "a mistake or                                                            
poor judgment."  He noted that another  example of poor judgment  is                                                            
driving without use of  a seatbelt. He stated that he is considering                                                            
an  amendment  to  incorporate   seatbelt  requirements   into  this                                                            
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  voiced the concern that imposing restrictive  devices                                                            
such as the ignition  interlock device might impede  the safe use of                                                            
the vehicle  by the offender  or by other  people who might  use the                                                            
vehicle.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rice responded  that the device requirements are  easy to comply                                                            
with.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  continued to  voice concern  that, at an inopportune                                                             
moment, the requirements  of the device might not  allow the vehicle                                                            
to operate in a necessary manner when being driven.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde asked for  additional information  regarding  the DUI                                                            
misdemeanor look-back timeframe of 15-years.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA  WILSON, Staff  to Representative  Norm  Rokeberg,  expressed                                                            
that State laws  pertaining to DUIs are harsh and  that the lifetime                                                            
look-back policy  reinforced that position. However,  she noted that                                                            
treating individuals  with two DUI  offenses twenty or thirty  years                                                            
apart in the same manner  as repeat offenders who have multiple DUIs                                                            
in a  relatively  short period  of  time is  unfair and  is not  the                                                            
intent of the  law. Therefore, she  stated that the purpose  of this                                                            
proposal is to "correct  an oversight" rather than to lessen the DUI                                                            
penalty.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  asked the  reason the felony  look-back timeframe  is                                                            
less  that  the  15-year  misdemeanor  timeframe  proposed  in  this                                                            
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. A.  Wilson stated that  the 15-year  misdemeanor look-back  time                                                            
period was determined  upon review of what other states  were doing.                                                            
She  noted  that only  one  other  state has  a  lifetime  look-back                                                            
policy.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked for confirmation that this bill  is the result                                                            
of the merger of other similar bills.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rice replied that it is.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Wilken   interjected   that,  due   to   the  fact   that                                                            
Representative  Rokeberg sponsored  one of  the original bills,  his                                                            
staff is available to answer questions.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
LINDA WILSON,  Deputy Director, Public  Defender Agency,  Department                                                            
of Administration,  testified via teleconference from  Anchorage and                                                            
echoed the  testimony that Alaska  has some of toughest DWI  offense                                                            
penalties  in the country  and that  there is  only one other  state                                                            
with  a lifetime  look-back  policy.  She  stressed that  even  with                                                            
limiting  the  look-back  time  period  to  15-years,  Alaska  would                                                            
continue to  have a tough stance on  drinking and driving  offenses.                                                            
She declared  that  current law  is unfair  in that  it would  treat                                                            
someone  convicted of  a DUI  at the age  of 18  and then  convicted                                                            
again at the age of 72  as a second offender. She voiced support for                                                            
limiting the look-back to 15-years.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  L.  Wilson  voiced concern  that  the  bill  does  not  provide                                                            
consideration  to the fact  that no ignition  interlock devices  are                                                            
available  for off-road vehicles,  which are  utilized in  road-less                                                            
areas.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 04 # 111, Side B 09:53 AM                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. L. Wilson  also voiced concern as to whether there  would be the                                                            
ability to  install the devices on  vehicles in remote areas  of the                                                            
State such  as Nome, and  if that ability  were available,  how much                                                            
the  installation  cost would  be.  She declared  that  requiring  a                                                            
person  to install  the  device might  pose  to be  a difficult  and                                                            
unfair thing  that "might be harsh  on poor people" or to  those who                                                            
live in remote  areas. She also questioned the manner  through which                                                            
BAC would be measured and  noted that the issue of whether someone's                                                            
BAC  was  double   of  triple  the  legal  limit  could   result  in                                                            
litigation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DUANE BANNOCK,  Director, Division of Motor Vehicles,  Department of                                                            
Administration,  testified via teleconference  from an offnet  site,                                                            
in support  the bill; particularly  the language  that would  expand                                                            
the issuance of  a limited license to repeat DUI offenders  provided                                                            
certain requirements  are in place.  He noted that currently  repeat                                                            
DUI offenders are not eligible for limited licenses.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken ordered  the  bill HELD  in Committee  in order  to                                                            
address questions that were raised.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 452(RES)                                                                               
     "An Act relating  to licensing and regulation  of sport fishing                                                            
     operators  and sport fishing guides; relating  to licensing and                                                            
     registration   of  sport  fishing   vessels;  authorizing   the                                                            
     Department   of  Fish  and  Game  and  the  Alaska   Commercial                                                            
     Fisheries  Entry Commission to  release records and  reports to                                                            
     the  Department  of Natural  Resources  and the  Department  of                                                            
     Public Safety; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  informed the Committee that this  legislation would                                                            
establish minimal  licensing requirements and fees  for two types of                                                            
sport  fishing  guide  licenses:  sport  fishing  services  operator                                                            
licenses and  sport fishing guide  licenses. He stated that  Version                                                            
23-LS1619\W  and  its  accompanying  fiscal  notes  are  before  the                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JON BITTNER,  Staff  to Representative  Cheryll  Heinze, the  bill's                                                            
sponsor, informed the Committee  that the sponsor is presenting this                                                            
bill at  the request of the  Department of  Fish and Game.  He noted                                                            
that the bill  would create two new  licenses and requirements.  The                                                            
fee  for a  sport fishing  guide  license, he  noted,  would be  $50                                                            
annually  and the  sport-fishing operator's  license  would be  $100                                                            
annually,  and he  clarified  that  were a  person to  provide  both                                                            
services, the  fee would be limited  to $100. Continuing,  he stated                                                            
that  the sport-fishing  guide  licensing  requirement  mandate  the                                                            
licensee to  have minimum liability  insurance, first aid  training,                                                            
and conduct certain "minimum" reporting requirements.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bittner pointed  out  that  Members'  packets contain  a  chart                                                            
titled "Regulations  after  passage of HB 452"  [copy on file]  that                                                            
depicts  current  reporting requirements  and  those  that would  be                                                            
implemented   were  this   legislation  adopted.   He  stated   that                                                            
currently, with  the exception of minimal reporting  requirements in                                                            
the  Kenai River  Management  area,  no reporting  is  required  for                                                            
guided  freshwater fishing.  He noted  that the  freshwater  fishing                                                            
report requirements  that  would be established  by this bill  would                                                            
provide  the Department  with "more  useful information"  and  would                                                            
align  with current  saltwater  fishing  report  requirements  which                                                            
include such  things as the number  of hours fished, the  number and                                                            
types of fish caught, and the general location fished.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bittner stated  that  Version  "W" differs  from  the  previous                                                            
version of  the bill, CS  HB 452(FIN)am,  Version 23-LS1619\U.A,  in                                                            
regards  to  sport   guide  vessel  licensing  registrations.   This                                                            
language,  he noted,  is located  in Section  2, subsection  Section                                                            
16.05.395 and  Section 3, subsections (a), (b), and  (c) on page two                                                            
of the  bill.  He summarized  that this  language  would move  sport                                                            
guide  vessel  registrations  from the  Commercial  Fisheries  Entry                                                            
Commission (CFEC) to the  Division of Sport Fish, Department of Fish                                                            
and Game  in order to  "consolidate information"  and to  streamline                                                            
the process by  having all the sport guide information  in one State                                                            
agency.  He noted  that the $20  vessel registration  fee  currently                                                            
charged by  CFEC would be eliminated  were this legislation  adopted                                                            
and the guide registration fee enacted.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SARAH GILBERTSON,  Legislative Liaison, Office of  the Commissioner,                                                            
Department of Fish and  Game, commented that the sport fish industry                                                            
is important as  it generates approximately $6 billion  in revenue a                                                            
year. She stated that currently,  while individuals participating in                                                            
the sport  fishing industry,  must register  with the Department  of                                                            
Fish and Game,  there are no registration  fee, license,  insurance,                                                            
medical,  training   or  reporting   requirements  in  place.   This                                                            
legislation,  she continued, would  establish annual $50  sport fish                                                            
guide license fees, annual  $100 operator license fees applicable to                                                            
the  owner of  a business  who  employs guides,  or  an annual  $100                                                            
combination guide/operator license.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Gilbertson  stated that  this legislation  would also allow  the                                                            
Board of Fish  to establish reporting guidelines that  would provide                                                            
the  Department and  the Board  of  Fish "better  information"  with                                                            
which to  manage the fishery.  This information,  she shared,  would                                                            
include such things as  where the guides are operating, how many and                                                            
what fish  are being caught,  and the frequency  of the operations.                                                             
She stated  that rather than implementing  "onerous and burdensome"                                                             
reporting  requirements,  the Department's  desire  is to make  them                                                            
flexible and area appropriate.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Gilbertson  stated that the bill, during its numerous  committee                                                            
hearings, has been amended  to best serve the desired objectives and                                                            
has  garnered  wide  spread  support  from  numerous  sport  fishing                                                            
charter  boat and  guide associations  in  Sitka,  Homer, Kenai  and                                                            
other areas. She noted  that the language in Version "W" which moved                                                            
vessel  registration  to  the  Division  of Sport  Fish  within  the                                                            
Department of  Fish and Game and eliminated the vessel  fee was "the                                                            
icing on the cake for a lot of folks."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson asked the  difference between an operator and a guide.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ROB BENTZ,  Deputy Director, Division  of Sport Fish, Department  of                                                            
Fish and Game explained  that an operator is the owner of a business                                                            
that   provides  boats   and  employs   guides.   He  stated   that,                                                            
particularly in Southeast  Alaska and Cook Inlet, there are numerous                                                            
one-person  businesses in which  the owner  owns the boat,  owns the                                                            
business, operates  the boat, and serves as the guide.  This person,                                                            
he stated would be considered a sport fish guide.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  asked the  difference  between  a  charter  business                                                            
operation and  a situation in which a guide accompanies  a client in                                                            
a boat.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bentz stated  that  the  definition  of a  guide  in a  charter                                                            
business "is a person that  accompanies and personally assists other                                                            
people during  any portion of the fishing trip." This,  he attested,                                                            
is different  from a transporter  or an outfitter  who just  provide                                                            
transportation services from one point to another.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  asked whether a person  who owns and operates  a boat                                                            
but does  not provide any  fishing assistance  to a client  would be                                                            
classified as a guide.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz responded yes,  as he is providing a charter vessel and is                                                            
accompanying  the client. He noted  that there is also such  a thing                                                            
as a  "bare  boat charter"  in which  people  rent a  boat and  fish                                                            
unaccompanied by a guide.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson asked for  further clarification regarding a situation                                                            
in which an accompanying  owner/operator of a vessel  is on the boat                                                            
but does not provide assistance to a client who is fishing.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz expressed that  were an owner/operator of a boat to take a                                                            
client out fishing but  not provide them "assistance in any way," he                                                            
would be  considered the  operator rather than  a guide, "if  he had                                                            
someone down there to assist them down there on the deck."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson   asked  at  what   point,  a  trip,  with   a  guide                                                            
accompanying  clients on a  boat, would be  recognized as a  charter                                                            
operation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz responded that  when a guide accompanies clients on a boat                                                            
trip,  it would  be considered  a  chartered fishing  operation  the                                                            
instance  they begin  to fish. Continuing  he stated  that were  the                                                            
trip  to simply  involve whale  watching,  and not  engage in  sport                                                            
fishing, it would not be considered a chartered fishing trip.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson asked  in  what situation  a  boat with  a guide  and                                                            
fishing clients  would be required  to adhere to United State  Coast                                                            
Guard charter license regulations.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz  responded  that anytime  "a  paying client  is onboard  a                                                            
vessel  and  they are  being  accompanied  by  an operator  of  that                                                            
vessel," that operator  is required to possess a United States Coast                                                            
Guard operator's license.  He noted that the size of the boat is not                                                            
a factor in this requirement.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  understood therefore  that were a client to  operate,                                                            
for example,  an eight-foot boat,  an operator license would  not be                                                            
required;  however,  were a  guide  to accompany  that  client on  a                                                            
vessel  that the client  operated,  the guide would  be required  to                                                            
have a Coast Guard license.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz responded, "to my knowledge, yes."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked whether this legislation is being  presented as                                                            
a result of a problem with  the current management of the sport fish                                                            
guide industry.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bentz responded  that  one reason  for  the legislation  is  to                                                            
assist in addressing  the current lack of information  regarding the                                                            
impact on a fishery  and the number of people fishing,  particularly                                                            
in remote freshwater  areas He stated  that while this might  not be                                                            
classified as a problem,  it is difficult to track overall usage. He                                                            
also  noted that,  as  a result  of  the lack  of  information,  the                                                            
Department  might  recommend  more  conservative   regulations  than                                                            
necessary to the Board of Fisheries.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  opined that the Department is currently  experiencing                                                            
funding shortfalls  which are serving to reduce fishery  management.                                                            
He  voiced  concern  that  more staff  and  more  funding  would  be                                                            
required  to  manage  the licensing  process,  and  as  result,  the                                                            
Department's efforts might be further negatively impacted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Gilbertson  responded that the costs of the license  program and                                                            
subsequent  data analyses have been  analyzed and that the  proposed                                                            
program would be receipt-supported.  The fee structure proposed, she                                                            
continued,  would  provide  sufficient   funding  to  implement  the                                                            
program. She referenced  the Division of Sport Fish  fiscal note # 2                                                            
and noted that while the  analysis specifies that four new full-time                                                            
positions  and one new  part-time positions  would be required,  the                                                            
full-time  positions would  be staffed by  shifting four  Department                                                            
funded  employees, who  currently  process the  Saltwater Log  books                                                            
reports,  to  staff  the  needs  of  this  proposal.   The  receipts                                                            
generated from this legislation,  she attested, would then pay these                                                            
people's  wages. Therefore,  she declared,  this  proposal would  be                                                            
increase staffing by only the one part-time position.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Gilbertson  noted that  it was  made  known during  the  bill's                                                            
hearing in the Senate Resources  Committee that increasing the scope                                                            
of State  government is not  a desired end  result. She shared  that                                                            
shifting  vessel registration  to  the Division  of  Sport Fish  was                                                            
supported by  numerous entities as  it would increase efficiency  in                                                            
government and create "one stop shopping."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson asked  how  these fishing  management  changes  might                                                            
affect   subsistence   fishing  issues   in  areas   under   federal                                                            
management.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz responded  that this legislation would serve  to alleviate                                                            
a lot of the problems that  have arisen during the last few years as                                                            
the federal  government, the Board  of Fish, the Department  of Fish                                                            
and  Game and  State would  have  better information  as  to who  is                                                            
operating  where and  what they are  doing. This,  he stated,  would                                                            
enable better management decisions to be made.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson respectfully  argued that many  problems have  arisen                                                            
due  to the  dual  management  scenario in  which  federal  entities                                                            
manage  one  area  and  the  State  manages  another.   The  current                                                            
situation,  he declared  presents  hardships  to residents  who  are                                                            
therefore "double  hand-cuffed." He stated that, in  his experience,                                                            
"the route" is more complicated.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bentz agreed  that  this  legislation  would not  simplify  the                                                            
situation,  as he noted there  is the chance  of controversies  when                                                            
there are "two,  in some cases, conflicting regulatory  regimes." He                                                            
stated,  however,  that  the  information   this legislation   would                                                            
provide would benefit State and federal agencies.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  referenced  language   pertinent  to  the  reporting                                                            
requirements as  specified in Section 6, subsection  16.40.280(b) on                                                            
page seven, lines 19-23 that read as follows.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     (b) A person  who holds a license issued under  AS 16.40.260 or                                                            
     16.40.270 shall comply  with the reporting requirements in this                                                            
     section  and reporting  requirements adopted  in regulation  by                                                            
     the  department  or board.  The department  and  the board  may                                                            
     adopt  by  regulation  requirements  for timely  submission  of                                                            
     reports  required   under  this  section  or  under  regulation                                                            
     adopted by the department or board.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  asked  what  consideration   would  be  provided  to                                                            
individuals  in  remote  settings  who  experience  difficulties  in                                                            
submitting  reports due to  such things as  infrequent or poor  mail                                                            
service in respect to fines and other penalties.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 10:18 AM / 10:18 AM                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked whether  this language  could be eliminated  or                                                            
modified.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz clarified that  the intent of the language is to allow the                                                            
Department  to develop reporting and  guide regulations on  a "least                                                            
intrusive, less problematic" area-by-area basis.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 10:19 AM / 10:19 AM                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bentz declared  that  the regulations  would  be developed,  by                                                            
area, with  input from  the guides  and would  be user friendly.  He                                                            
stated  that the  Board  of Fish,  whose meetings  are  open to  the                                                            
public, would formulate  reporting and other guidelines dependent on                                                            
an area's circumstances.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Gilbertson  reiterated  that the  Department  would continue  to                                                            
work with  the industry  to address the  logbook reporting  concern,                                                            
and she  noted that recently,  the Department  decided to waive  the                                                            
logbook submittal requirement  when periods of inactivity occur. She                                                            
stressed that  there is no intent to place "a burden"  on operators,                                                            
and that the intent is  to gather "better information" with which to                                                            
better manage the resource.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  noted that the reporting  submittal issue  could be a                                                            
burden to anyone anywhere  in the State as oftentimes, weather could                                                            
hinder  the submittal  for weeks at  a time. He  asked for  industry                                                            
testimony in this regard.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JIM  PRESTON,   Boat  Charter   Owner/Operator,   stated  that   the                                                            
timeliness of  reporting and the obligation to maintain  logbooks is                                                            
an industry concern.  He disclosed that he had been  fined $200 last                                                            
year  for not  submitting  his  logbook  when his  boat  was out  of                                                            
commission and,  during that period of inactivity,  he had forgotten                                                            
to remit his logbook. However,  he acknowledged that, as a result of                                                            
industry and Department  discussions, the Department has changed the                                                            
reporting  requirement concerning  periods  of inactivity. He  noted                                                            
that the Department  has also specified that, were  this legislation                                                            
enacted,  there  would  be more  industry/Department  collaboration                                                             
regarding regulations.  He stated that guides in remote areas of the                                                            
State often have  to depend on air taxi pilots, ferry  personnel and                                                            
others  to  assist   in  getting  their  logbooks   reports  to  the                                                            
Department.  In  summary,  he  voiced  the  understanding  that  the                                                            
Department would, through  cooperative efforts, address the areas of                                                            
industry concern.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Preston  noted that he  was speaking on  behalf of operators  in                                                            
Homer and other  places, as some of them were unable  to participate                                                            
due to being  unable to access their  local Legislative Information                                                             
Office.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked whether Mr. Preston  would support eliminating                                                             
or changing  language  in Section  6(b) that  pertains to  reporting                                                            
requirements.  He noted that  while he  understands that  additional                                                            
information would be helpful  to the management of the resource, the                                                            
penalties  for non-reporting  or  tardy  reporting  are of  concern;                                                            
especially  when someone is very busy  at the peak of their  season.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  understood that language in Section  6(b) addresses                                                            
these circumstances  by allowing for  "timely submission  of reports                                                            
required under  this section or under  regulation as adopted  by the                                                            
department  or board."  Therefore,  he understood  that regulations                                                             
would consider the circumstances and accommodate them.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bittner concurred.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Preston informed  the Committee that he is also  a member of the                                                            
advisory panel  of the North Pacific  Fisheries Management  Council.                                                            
He stated  that the Council  views logbook  data as a way to  verify                                                            
and justify  information pertinent  to harvest.  He stated  that the                                                            
validity  of the information  is crucial  to the  legitimacy  to the                                                            
data. Continuing,  he noted that the Department currently  relies on                                                            
the data  provided by the  saltwater reporting  logbooks. He  stated                                                            
that were this  legislation adopted,  it would provide the  industry                                                            
legitimate  standing before the Board  of Fish, which, he  declared,                                                            
is  currently  not   the  case.  Therefore,  he  stated   that  this                                                            
legislation would provide  the industry the ability to work with the                                                            
Board to develop area appropriate regulations.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson reiterated  the  importance in  accommodating  remote                                                            
area guiding operations.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator B. Stevens understood  that there are many requirements that                                                            
must  be met  in  order to  obtain  a sport  fishing  guide  license                                                            
including  such things  as being  a citizen  of  Canada, the  United                                                            
States,  or   Mexico;  meeting  first   aid  and  six-pack   license                                                            
requirements; and submittal  of the proper fees. Therefore, he asked                                                            
what additional  requirements must  be met as referenced  in Section                                                            
6, subsection  (a)(6) on page six, lines five and  six that reads as                                                            
follows.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     (6) satisfies all additional requirements adopted in                                                                       
     regulation by the Board of Fisheries.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bentz  explained that  this  language  would  allow  additional                                                            
things to be  adopted as required  by the adoption of new  proposals                                                            
by the Board.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator B. Stevens  voiced that with the exception  of the vagueness                                                            
of this language, which  would allow "a non-legislative institute to                                                            
create  the guidelines  for  the qualifications  of  a license,"  he                                                            
supports the legislation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  asked Mr. Preston whether  a licensed fishing  guide,                                                            
employed by  Mr. Preston and operating  one of Mr. Preston's  boats,                                                            
would be required  to be individually  licensed by the Coast  Guard.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Preston affirmed that  anytime an individual is operating a boat                                                            
available  for hire  and has paying  passengers,  he is required  to                                                            
have either a  United States Coast Guard license,  commonly referred                                                            
to as "a six-pack license," or a Master's License.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  asked whether the fact  that the client, rather  than                                                            
the guide,  is operating the vessel  would have a different  bearing                                                            
on the Coast Guard license requirement.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Preston  stated that  he  would defer  to  the Coast  Guard  to                                                            
provide an answer to the question.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  whether  the licensing  guideline  parameters                                                            
Senator B. Stevens  was concerned about might be addressed  in other                                                            
State statutes.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bentz  responded  that  the  State's  codified  regulations  do                                                            
address  future  license  changes;   however,  he  stated  that  the                                                            
language in  question is specific  to a Board of Fisheries  proposal                                                            
that might be adopted and  would modify requirements. He stated that                                                            
the Board does operate under public process guidelines.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Gilbertson   pointed   out  that  this   legislation,   at  the                                                            
recommendation  of  the  Alaska Outdoor  Council,  is  scheduled  to                                                            
terminate  on January  1, 2010. Therefore,  she  noted that were  it                                                            
determined  that the program is not  beneficial to the industry,  it                                                            
could be  eliminated. She  stated that the  Department supports  the                                                            
proposed timeline,  as the intent  of the program is to enhance  the                                                            
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator B. Stevens  voiced appreciation for Senator  Green's efforts                                                            
to address  his concern. However,  he noted that while he  continues                                                            
to question  the Board's ability to  dictate requirements,  he would                                                            
not prevent  the bill from  moving forward;  especially in  light of                                                            
the fact that the sport fish industry supports the bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  asked whether the sport fish industry  in Southwest                                                            
Alaska has testified in regard to this legislation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz expressed  that the progress of this legislation  has been                                                            
continually updated  and distributed to Department  area offices and                                                            
to groups  and  lodges throughout  the  State. He  noted that  while                                                            
feedback was received  from the Fairbanks and Chitna  area, he could                                                            
not recall any comments  being received from the Southwest region of                                                            
the State.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  asked  whether  the  Department  could  anticipate                                                            
whether  Native Corporations  in the  Southwest region  of the  Sate                                                            
would support this legislation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bentz replied that he could not answer on their behalf.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson asked, were this legislation enacted, that follow-                                                                
up reports  be provided to the Legislature;  particularly  in regard                                                            
to the implementation of the reporting timelines.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson reported  a conflict of interest, as he is involved in                                                            
the sport fish guiding industry.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  moved  to  report  the  bill  from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, SCS  CS HB  452(RES)  was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee with  $3465,600 fiscal note #2, dated March  16, 2004 from                                                            
the Sport Fish  Division, Department  of Fish and Game; zero  fiscal                                                            
note #3, dated April 1,  2004, from the Department of Public Safety;                                                            
and negative  $92,000  fiscal note #4,  dated May  6, 2004 from  the                                                            
Commercial Fisheries Entry  Commission, Department of Fish and Game.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 32(EDT) am                                                                          
     Relating to information infrastructure and establishing the                                                                
     Alaska Information Infrastructure Policy Task Force.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken stated that  this bill,  CS HCR 32(EDT)am,  Version                                                            
23-LS1717\Q.A,  is  sponsored by  Representative  Pete  Kott at  the                                                            
request  of Economic  Development  International  Trade and  Tourism                                                            
Committee.  Continuing, he  noted that the  bill would establish  as                                                            
13-member Alaska  information infrastructure taskforce,  which would                                                            
be charged  "with  reviewing  and analyzing  current  and long  term                                                            
information infrastructure needs."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SUE  STANCLIFF,  Staff  to  Representative  Pete  Kott,  the  bill's                                                            
sponsor,  reiterated that  this "task  force would  be charged  with                                                            
consideration  of  Alaska's  role  and  interest  in  the  long-term                                                            
information structure  development." She stated that  the goal would                                                            
be  "to  provide  Alaska's  communities  with  access  to  broadband                                                            
connectivity  and  provide   for improved   access  to  fiber  optic                                                            
connectivity."  These  technological  advances, she  stated,  "would                                                            
help bridge  the divide between  rural Alaska  from the benefits  in                                                            
technology advances realized in urban Alaska.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 04 # 112, Side A 10:42 AM                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Stancliff  shared that  Ireland is a  "shining example"  of what                                                            
benefit could result from  public and private partnerships dedicated                                                            
to  technological  advancement,  as  it  is  currently  the  largest                                                            
exporter of software products  in Europe with 300 leading electronic                                                            
companies and  nine of the ten top  pharmaceutical companies  in the                                                            
world. She  stated that these  opportunities  "are not out  of reach                                                            
for Alaska."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Stancliff stated that  the distance between Alaska's communities                                                            
and  the gaps  in the  State's infrastructure  are  exacerbated  "by                                                            
federal lands,  federal land laws, vast distances,  and the relative                                                            
newness"  of the State.  Furthermore, she  commented that while  "no                                                            
paved highway  may ever  connect the  regions of  the State  "to the                                                            
outside  world…  a telecommunications  superhighway   can link  them                                                            
all." She declared that  "innovation engineering concepts and robust                                                            
technologies"  could  be  implemented  in  the State  to  assist  in                                                            
helping "the  Alaskan economy  evolve into  a 21st century  economic                                                            
powerhouse."  She stressed  that the  proposed task  force would  be                                                            
required to  assist in determining  "how State government  could use                                                            
its resources  to create an environment in which the  private sector                                                            
has  the  incentive   to  provide  information  technology   usually                                                            
broadband  fiber  based  technology  to small  rural  markets."  She                                                            
shared  that  information  task  forces  similar  to the  one  being                                                            
proposed  have been effective  in assisting  rural areas develop  in                                                            
Colorado and North Carolina  and other states to address the digital                                                            
divide between urban and rural areas.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Stancliff informed  the  Committee that  the  task force  would                                                            
consist   of  "two  government   agencies,   three  legislators,   a                                                            
University of Alaska delegate,  and seven at-large members who would                                                            
have the vision  and knowledge of the industry" with  the vision "to                                                            
include  homeland   security  and  missile  defense,   and  economic                                                            
development in rural Alaska."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson voiced appreciation  for the efforts being asserted in                                                            
these planning  efforts. He opined that the Resolution,  as written,                                                            
specifically  denotes "fiber optic  as the only solution  as opposed                                                            
to satellite  or microwave transmission."  He stated that  were this                                                            
the case, it would  present "an unfortunate limitation"  on the task                                                            
force.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Stancliff  responded  that  the  State's  current  fiber  optic                                                            
communication  system   runs  from  Prudhoe  Bay  to  Fairbanks,  to                                                            
Anchorage, to Juneau and  provides telecommunications to the outside                                                            
world.  She  noted  that one  issue  before  the  task force  is  to                                                            
determine  how  to expand  the  infrastructure  of the  fiber  optic                                                            
network  that  is  currently  in  place.  She  noted  that  wireless                                                            
communication would be a related component.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  asked, for the record, whether this  Resolution would                                                            
limit the horizon to just fiber optics.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms Stancliff  replied that  this Resolution  would "absolutely  not"                                                            
limit the scope of the task force to fiber optics.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1:  This amendment would insert "(1) the  commissioner of                                                            
administration or the commissioner's  designee;" into the Resolution                                                            
on page two, line 17.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
In addition,  the amendment  would replace  the number "seven"  with                                                            
the  number "six"  on  page  two, line  22  of the  Resolution.  The                                                            
revised language would read as follows:                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     (5) six at-large members chosen jointly by the Speaker of the                                                              
     House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  moved  to  adopt Amendment  #1  and  objected  for                                                            
explanation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN    JARDELL,    Assistant    Commissioner,     Department    of                                                            
Administration,  explained  that were  this amendment  adopted,  the                                                            
Department, which  currently "has the sole authority  for the design                                                            
and implementation  of all  telecommunication"  in the State,  would                                                            
have  representation  on the  Task Force.  This  representation,  he                                                            
noted, would allow the  Department to "mesh" its planning and policy                                                            
responsibilities  with the other Task  Force members' positions.  He                                                            
cautioned  that omitting the  Department from  the task force  would                                                            
limit  the task  force's  effectiveness.  He  noted that  to  really                                                            
succeed  with this endeavor,  public and  private entities,  working                                                            
together, would  be necessary. He commented that the  bill's sponsor                                                            
is not opposed to the Department's  participation on the task force.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Stancliff  affirmed  that  the sponsor  does not  object to  the                                                            
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken removed his objection.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, Amendment #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WANETTA   AYERS,   Representative,   Southwest    Alaska   Municipal                                                            
Conference (SWAMC) testified  via teleconference from an offnet site                                                            
in support  of the bill, as it would  benefit the SWAMC region.  She                                                            
noted that  SWAMC would  support any technology  that would  further                                                            
telecommunication  connectivity to  the region. She voiced  optimism                                                            
that advances  in this  field would  assist "to  bridge the  digital                                                            
divide" and would  enhance the economy of the region  and the area's                                                            
quality of life.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  understood  that the adoption  of Amendment  #1 would                                                            
require concurrence from the House of Representatives.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Conceptual  Amendment #2:  This amendment  inserts  the words,  "and                                                            
wireless"  following "fiber  optic" on page  one, line eight  of the                                                            
Resolution. The revised language reads as follows:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Whereas  access to fiber optic  and wireless connectivity  will                                                            
     help  bridge the  digital divide  that separates  rural  Alaska                                                            
     from the  benefits of technological advances  realized by urban                                                            
     areas; and                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment #2.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment #2 was ADOPTED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  moved to report the bill, as amended,  from Committee                                                            
with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green objected.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green voiced concern  regarding the $99,500 fiscal note #3,                                                            
dated  March   4,  2004   from  the  Legislative   Affairs   Agency;                                                            
specifically that  funding for a fulltime eleven-month  staff person                                                            
would be required.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection,  Senator  Dyson  removed his  motion  to                                                            
report the bill from Committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken ordered  the  bill HELD  in Committee  in order  to                                                            
address concerns regarding fiscal note #3.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 511(HES)                                                                               
     "An Act relating to the certificate of need program for health                                                             
      care facilities; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  noted that the Senate  Health, Education,  & Social                                                            
Services Committee (HES)  committee substitute, Version 23-LS1755\X,                                                            
is  before  the Committee.  He  noted  that two  Letters  of  Intent                                                            
accompany the legislation.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SARA NIELSEN,  Staff  to Representative  Ralph  Samuels, the  bill's                                                            
sponsor, stated  that this bill would attempt to "level  the playing                                                            
field," by altering  current Certificate of Need (CON)  requirements                                                            
such  as  those  that pertain  to  a  relocation  of  an  ambulatory                                                            
surgical  facility to a new  site. In addition,  she explained  that                                                            
the bill  would  further define  the term  "expenditure"  to aid  in                                                            
correcting  a  current  "loophole"  in  the  CON  process  in  which                                                            
"facilities  are  leasing  space and  equipment  to  themselves"  to                                                            
circumvent  "the one million dollar  threshold," which is  the point                                                            
at which a CON would be required.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Nielsen  noted   that  the  bill  would  also:  eliminate   the                                                            
requirement  that  an  additional   CON  be required   for  expenses                                                            
associated  with  routine maintenance  and  replacement;  would  not                                                            
require a CON to be issued  in the case of an emergency or temporary                                                            
situation  such   as  an  earthquake;  and  would  add  independent                                                             
diagnostic  facility and residential  psychiatric treatment  centers                                                            
to the definition  of a health care  facility. She pointed  out that                                                            
the inclusion of these  two entities in the definition would require                                                            
them to adhere to CON requirements.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Nielsen stated  that the bill would also require  the Department                                                            
of Health  and  Social Services  to  process CON  applications  more                                                            
expeditiously  by specifying  a 60-day rather  than a 90-day  review                                                            
process.  She  noted  that  the bill  also  specifies  that  were  a                                                            
residential psychiatric  treatment center under construction  at the                                                            
time this legislation  enacted, it  would not be required  to adhere                                                            
to CON guidelines.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Nielsen explained  that  the Senate  HES  committee  substitute                                                            
addressed concerns  regarding the CON process that  was provided for                                                            
in the House of Representatives Letter of Intent.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1: This amendment  inserts new language into Section 2 of                                                            
the bill on page two, line one, as follows.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     (d) Beginning July 1, 2005, the $1,000,000 threshold in (a) of                                                             
     this section shall be increased by $50,000 annually until July                                                             
     1, 2014.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green moved to adopt Amendment #1.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken objected for explanation.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green explained  that while  she had  originally sought  a                                                            
larger annual  CON limit  increase, the $50,000  annual increase  is                                                            
acceptable  to most concerned  parties. She  informed the  Committee                                                            
that Alaska  is one  of only six  states with a  CON ceiling  of one                                                            
million dollars  or less as others have no ceiling  or incorporate a                                                            
significantly  higher ceiling pertinent to such things  as long-term                                                            
care facilities  or renovations.  She stated  that Alaska's  current                                                            
ceiling was  established in the 1980s  and has never been  inflation                                                            
proofed. She stated that,  while this issue would continue to be re-                                                            
addressed every  few years, this amendment would serve  as a step in                                                            
adjusting the "woefully"  low CON rate in that, by the year 2014, it                                                            
would be to "at least half  of the level" it should be. This gradual                                                            
rise, she noted, would not be implemented until January 1, 2005.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  noted that  the  Department  of Health  and  Social                                                            
Services'  Commissioner voiced  concern that  too rapid an  increase                                                            
might negatively affect programs such as Medicaid.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  asked for  further  clarification  regarding  what                                                            
would be affected in Sec. 2(a) were this amendment adopted.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  clarified  that  Sec.  2(a)  pertains  to  the  CON                                                            
threshold.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken removed this objection to Amendment #1.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, Amendment #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BLAINE GILMAN,  Attorney,  testified via  teleconference from  Kenai                                                            
and noted that  his clients: The Lord's Ranch, Arkansas  Counseling,                                                            
and Alaska  Counseling among others;  currently provide residential                                                             
psychiatric  treatment for approximately  110 children in  the State                                                            
of Arkansas,  some  of whom  are from  Alaska. He  noted that  these                                                            
clients are  in the process of purchasing  land in Kenai  upon which                                                            
to construct  a children's  psychiatric treatment  center.  He asked                                                            
that  consideration  be given  to implementing  an  October 1,  2004                                                            
effective date for the  bill rather than an immediate effective date                                                            
as specified  in Section  9, page  five, line  27, as their  project                                                            
would be negatively  impacted were it required to  adhere to the CON                                                            
specifications.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Gilman  also  requested  adding the  words  "if  necessary"  to                                                            
building  permit  language as  specified  in Section  8,  subsection                                                            
(c)(1)(B)  on page  five,  line 23.  He noted  that  while the  land                                                            
currently  identified  for purchase  by his  clients  is within  the                                                            
Kenai Municipal  Borough city limits,  an alternate site  is located                                                            
outside of  the Municipality and,  as such, is exempt from  building                                                            
permit requirements.  He asked that  consideration be given  to both                                                            
amendment suggestions.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  asked the Department of Health and  Social Services                                                            
to respond  to Mr. Gilman's concern  regarding the bill's  effective                                                            
date.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JOEL  GILBERTSON,  Commissioner,  Department  of Health  and  Social                                                            
Services,   affirmed  that   this  legislation   would  incorporate                                                             
residential psychiatric  treatment centers into the  CON process. He                                                            
noted  that,  due  to  the  unavailability  of  in-state   services,                                                            
approximately  half of the State's  youth in need of these  services                                                            
are receiving  treatment  outside of  the State.  He noted that  the                                                            
effective date  identified in this bill was determined  based on the                                                            
Department's  historical   Certificate  of  Need  process  that  has                                                            
addressed  such things  as how  a project  "in the  works" would  be                                                            
recognized.  He furthered  that  the traditional  interpretation  of                                                            
grandfathering  in a project  that is "in  the works" would  include                                                            
projects  that  have  a  building   permit;  have  a  valid  set  of                                                            
architectural  drawings; and of which valid construction  has begun.                                                            
He stated  that the  Department's historical  interpretation  policy                                                            
was  incorporated  into  the Senate  HES  committee  substitute,  as                                                            
referenced  in Section  8, subsection  (c) beginning  on page  five,                                                            
line 17 of Version "X".                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson  informed  the  Committee that  there  are,                                                            
currently,   a  number   of  private   for-profit   and   non-profit                                                            
organizations  examining  whether or  not to  construct residential                                                             
treatment  centers in  the State, and  he noted  that were they  all                                                            
furthered,  they might provide  more beds  than the State  requires.                                                            
Therefore,  he communicated  that  the Department  is supportive  of                                                            
incorporating  these types of facilities into the  CON program as it                                                            
would provide  the State the opportunity to oversee  what the actual                                                            
needs  of   the  State   are  and  to   determine  the  appropriate                                                             
geographical  placement  of these  centers  in order  to best  serve                                                            
those  in  need  of  services.  He  concluded   therefore  that  the                                                            
Department  supports an  effective date  consistent with  historical                                                            
Department interpretation.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  noted  that  the effective  date  issue  had  been                                                            
discussed  in other committee  hearings on  the bill, and,  while he                                                            
acknowledged  Mr.  Gilman's  concern, he  voiced  understanding  the                                                            
Department's "logic" in this regard.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no further  questions  regarding  the  effective  date                                                            
clause,  Co-Chair  Wilken  asked   the Department   to  address  the                                                            
building permit  issue for facilities  being constructed  outside of                                                            
an organized community                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Gilbertson  stated that Mr. Gilman's  concern regarding                                                            
the appropriateness of  requiring a building permit in an area where                                                            
none  is otherwise  required  is  "a fair  comment."  Therefore,  he                                                            
stated that  the Department  would support  an amendment to  clarify                                                            
that  were a  building permit  not  otherwise necessary,  the  State                                                            
should not require it.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Conceptual Amendment #2:  The intent of this conceptual amendment is                                                            
to  clarify that  a building  permit  would  not be  required for  a                                                            
facility being  constructed in a location  that would otherwise  not                                                            
involve a  building permit,  such as being  outside of an  organized                                                            
borough. The  language being affected  by this amendment  is located                                                            
in Sec. 8, subsection  (c) (1) (B) on page five, line  23 of Version                                                            
"X".                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment #2.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Conceptual Amendment #2 was ADOPTED.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  whether the  Senate HES  Committee Letter  of                                                            
Intent  would  supersede  the House  of  Representatives  Letter  of                                                            
Intent.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson affirmed that it would.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson moved  to adopt the  Senate HES  Committee Letter  of                                                            
Intent.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Nielsen  acknowledged  that the Senate  HES Committee Letter  of                                                            
Intent was appropriate.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green objected to the motion.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green brought to  the Committee's  attention her  on-going                                                            
concern regarding the discrepancies  that exist "between regulations                                                            
and  current statutes;"  particularly   in regards  to  some of  the                                                            
decision  making that is  conducted in regards  to the CON  process.                                                            
She noted that  this Letter of Intent  specifies that CON  applicant                                                            
information  should not be  made available  before the CON  has been                                                            
declared complete  by the Department,  as those involved  in the CON                                                            
process should  be assured that their preliminary  information would                                                            
be kept confidential until that point.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green removed her objection.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further objection,  the Senate HES Committee  Letter                                                            
of Intent was ADOPTED.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green moved to report the bill from Committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  interjected that the  CON process has evolved  beyond                                                            
its original intent. Continuing,  he declared that there is a belief                                                            
that  the CON  process  is  used as  a  tool  by large  health  care                                                            
organizations  to refrain  smaller local health  care entities  from                                                            
advancing  their service.  Therefore, he asked  how he could  assure                                                            
small entities  that this  bill would not  inhibit their ability  to                                                            
compete with larger organizations or businesses.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Gilbertson  agreed that the Certificate of Need program                                                            
has been  an issue  of debate for  a long time.  He stated that  the                                                            
Department endeavors to  manage the CON program in a fair manner. He                                                            
stated that  when reviewing a CON,  one of the Department's  primary                                                            
considerations is whether  there is a need for the service. He noted                                                            
that  the  lone exception  would  be  that  the  cost factor  is  an                                                            
additional  concern in  the case  of long-term  care facilities.  He                                                            
stated, therefore, that  the CON program has provided the State with                                                            
the  ability to  appropriately  determine  the level  of  need in  a                                                            
community and statewide.  He stressed that the Department has worked                                                            
aggressively  to expand health  care services  in the State,  and he                                                            
opined that  the CON  program "is  not a barrier"  to this goal.  He                                                            
stated that  this legislation would  affect residential psychiatric                                                             
care  facilities,   imaging  facilities,   and  ambulatory   surgery                                                            
centers,   as  they   are  not   currently  included   in  the   CON                                                            
requirements.  He agreed  that  health care  has  changed since  the                                                            
inception  of  the  CON  process;  however,  he  stressed  that  the                                                            
Department   is  aware   of  the   on-going   challenge  of   fairly                                                            
administering the CON program during these "changing times."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  reiterated the concern that the CON  is a complicated                                                            
program  and  that  providers  in  rural  areas  of  the  State  are                                                            
concerned  that larger organizations  could  use the program  to the                                                            
disadvantage of smaller programs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson  replied that  the Department  reviews  and                                                            
approves  appropriate applications  and denies  inappropriate  ones,                                                            
both from large and small organizations.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Dyson  declared   that  this  bill   would  provide   some                                                            
improvement  to the current process.  He stated that, in  the bigger                                                            
picture,  the process might  not work well  for a small entity  that                                                            
wishes  to  offer  services  also  offered  by  a  larger  facility.                                                            
However,  he stated that  assistance in the  effort to address  "the                                                            
deeper underlying  problems" of providing  health care in  the State                                                            
is welcome.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  restated her motion to report the  bill, as amended,                                                            
and  the  HES Letter  of  Intent,  from  Committee  with  individual                                                            
recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, SCS  CS HB  511(FIN)  was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee,  accompanied  by  the HESS  Letter  of Intent,  and  zero                                                            
fiscal  note #1, dated  March 1,  2004 from the  Division of  Public                                                            
Health, Department  of Health  and Social  Services and zero  fiscal                                                            
note  #2, dated  March  1,  2004 from  the  Division  of  Behavioral                                                            
Health, Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 11:20 AM / 11:21 AM                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RECESS TO THE CALL OF THE CHAIR 11:21 AM / 3:54 PM.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, the adjournment of the                                                                    
meeting was not recorded.]                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Gary Wilken adjourned the meeting at 03:54 PM.                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects