Legislature(2005 - 2006)SENATE FINANCE 532

02/17/2006 09:00 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 210 VIOL. OF ALCOHOLIC BEV. LAWS/FORFEITURE TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 210 Out of Committee
+= SB 237 ADDITIONAL JUDGES FOR THIRD DISTRICT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 237(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                         February 17, 2006                                                                                    
                             9:07 a.m.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Lyda Green convened the meeting at approximately 9:07:27                                                             
AM.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyda Green, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Con Bunde, Vice Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Also Attending: HEATHER BRAKES, Staff to Senator Gene Therriault;                                                             
CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, Deputy Administration Commissioner, Alaska Court                                                             
System                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Attending via Teleconference: There were no teleconference                                                                    
participants.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SB 210-VIOL. OF ALCOHOLIC  BEV. LAWS/FORFEITURE                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The bill heard from the bill's sponsor and reported the bill from                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SB 237-ADDITIONAL JUDGES FOR THIRD DISTRICT                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The Committee heard from the Alaska Court System and reported the                                                               
bill from Committee.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 210                                                                                                        
     "An  Act relating  to  the manufacture  and  transportation  of                                                            
     alcoholic  beverages; relating  to forfeitures of property  for                                                            
     violations   of  alcoholic  beverage  laws;   and  relating  to                                                            
     violations of alcoholic beverage laws."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the second  hearing for  this bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:07:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER  BRAKES,  Staff  to  Senator  Gene  Therriault,  the  bill's                                                            
sponsor,  informed   the  Committee   that  no  additional   sponsor                                                            
testimony would be presented.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green spoke in support of the bill.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In response to  a question from Co-Chair Green, Senator  Olson noted                                                            
that he had no continuing concerns in regards to the bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde  moved  to  report  the  bill   from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, SB 210  was REPORTED from Committee  with                                                            
zero fiscal note #1 from the Department of Public Safety.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:09:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 237(JUD)                                                                                            
     "An  Act  increasing  the  number   of superior   court  judges                                                            
     designated  for  the third  and  fourth judicial  districts  to                                                            
     provide additional  superior court judges at Anchorage, Palmer,                                                            
     Kenai, and Fairbanks; and providing for an effective date."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the second  hearing for  this bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green stated  that  this legislation  would  increase  the                                                            
number of  judges in the  State, would  address expenses  associated                                                            
with Courthouse  expansions,  and  would allow  judge's salaries  to                                                            
conform  with  the  salary increases  that  had  been  approved  for                                                            
Commissioners  the previous  year. She  had been  unaware that  that                                                            
legislation had not included compensation for judges.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:10:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Stedman  voiced  confidence  that  the  Committee's  budget                                                            
subcommittees  would  qualify  the fiscal  notes  accompanying  this                                                            
legislation within their budget recommendations for FY 07.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green voiced  appreciation  of Senator  Stedman's  concern                                                            
that the various  fiscal notes accompanying  this bill "would  muddy                                                            
up the appropriations  process" in  the capital budget. Legislative                                                             
approval is required in  order to increase the number of judges. She                                                            
noted that the Mat-Su Courthouse  expansion had been included in the                                                            
FY 06 capital  budget. Were the decision  made to include  the Kenai                                                            
Courthouse  expansion  expenses in  the FY  07 capital  budget,  the                                                            
Alaska  Court System's  fiscal  note accompanying  this legislation                                                             
would be  zeroed out.  There would  be no "double  funding"  concern                                                            
either  for  the  increased   judge  positions  or  for   courthouse                                                            
expansion.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde  moved  to  report  the  bill   from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  noted  that  although   the  legislation  would  be                                                            
accompanied  by "substantial  fiscal notes",  the provisions  of the                                                            
bill  are  "badly   needed".  The  Mat-Su,  Kenai,  Anchorage,   and                                                            
Fairbanks courts are in dire need of more judges.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Stedman  asked   for  confirmation   that  the   committee                                                            
substitute Version 24-GS2077\F was before the Committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green affirmed.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked the reason that  the bill's title specifically                                                             
identifies  that the number  of superior court  judges in the  third                                                            
and fourth  judicial districts  would be  increased; as language  in                                                            
Sec. 6 page 2, line 29  also make a reference to judges in the first                                                            
judicial district.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:12:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, Deputy  Administrative Commissioner, Alaska Court                                                            
System agreed  that the language  in Sec.  6 could be confusing.  He                                                            
explained that  while the total number of the superior  court judges                                                            
would be increased  from 34 to 40 by this bill, the  increases would                                                            
be specific to  the third and fourth judicial districts.  The number                                                            
of third  judicial  district superior  court  judges would  increase                                                            
from 19 from 24 and the  fourth judicial district would be increased                                                            
from seven to  eight. The first and second judicial  district courts                                                            
would be unaffected by this legislation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson acknowledged.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no  objection,  CS  SB  237(FIN)   was  REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee  with previous  $71,900  fiscal  note #2  from the  Alaska                                                            
Judicial  Council, a new  zero fiscal note  dated February  13, 2006                                                            
from the  Division of Elections,  a new $293,700  fiscal note  dated                                                            
February  15,  2006  from  the  Department  of  Corrections,  a  new                                                            
$198,800 fiscal note dated  February 15, 2006 from the Department of                                                            
Law, and a new  $5,722,000 fiscal note dated February  14, 2006 from                                                            
the Alaska Court System.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Lyda Green adjourned the meeting at 9:14:42 AM                                                                       

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