Legislature(2005 - 2006)SENATE FINANCE 532

05/06/2006 09:00 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Time Change --
+= HB 381 TOBACCO REV. FOR CAPITAL PROJECTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 381(FIN) Out of Committee
+ HB 266 VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 266(FIN) Out of Committee
+ HB 403 NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 403(TRA) Out of Committee
+ HB 304 COMMERCIAL FISHING LOAN PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 304(FIN) am Out of Committee
+ HB 409 NO WORKERS' COMP. FOR REAL EST. LICENSEE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 409(L&C) Out of Committee
+ HB 240 BREWERY& BREWPUB LICENSEE/SALES BY WINERY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 240(FIN) Out of Committee
+ HB 150 LICENSING RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIANS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                            MINUTES                                                                                           
                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                  
                          May 6, 2006                                                                                         
                           9:04 a.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Lyda  Green  convened   the  meeting  at  approximately                                                               
9:04:57 AM.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyda Green, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Gary Wilken, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Con Bunde, Vice Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Also Attending:  REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COGHILL;  REPRESENTATIVE BOB                                                             
LYNN;  BRYAN BUTCHER,  Director,  Governmental  Affairs &  Public                                                               
Relations,  Alaska  Housing  Finance Corporation,  Department  of                                                               
Revenue; CRAIG  JOHNSON, Staff  to Representative  Lesil McGuire;                                                               
JENNIFER  BAXTER,  Staff  to   Representative  Jim  Elkins;  AVES                                                               
THOMPSON,   Director,  Division   of   Measurement  Standards   &                                                               
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement,  Department of Transportation and                                                               
Public  Facilities;  IAN  FISK,   Staff  to  Representative  Bill                                                               
Thomas;   GREG  WINEGAR,   Director,  Division   of  Investments,                                                               
Department  of  Commerce,  Community  and  Economic  Development;                                                               
PEGGY   ANN  MCCONNOCHIE,   Licensed  Real   Estate  Broker   and                                                               
Representative,  Alaska Association  of Realtors;  PAUL LISANKIE,                                                               
Director, Division of Workers'  Compensation, Department of Labor                                                               
and    Workforce   Development;    HEATH   HILYARD,    Staff   to                                                               
Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Attending  via   Teleconference:  From  Anchorage:   MATT  JONES,                                                             
representing Moose's  Tooth Pub  and Pizzeria;  ROBERT MCCORMICK,                                                               
representing    Glacier   BrewHouse;    CLYDE   PEARCE,    Chief,                                                               
Radiological Health,  Department of  Health and  Social Services;                                                               
from offnet  locations: MICHAEL  BELL, Director,  Alaska Trucking                                                               
Association;  DONNA   RUFSHOLM,  Chair,   Legislative  Committee,                                                               
Alaska Society of Radiological Technologist                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 381-TOBACCO REV. FOR CAPITAL PROJECTS                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
This  bill was  addressed  twice during  this  hearing. First,  a                                                               
committee  substitute was  adopted and  reported from  Committee.                                                               
That  action was  later rescinded,  and the  committee substitute                                                               
was amended and reported from Committee.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 240-BREWERY & BREWPUB LICENSEE/SALES BY WINERY                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
The Committee heard  from the bill's sponsor and  the industry. A                                                               
committee substitute  was adopted. An amendment  to the committee                                                               
substitute   failed  adoption,   and  the   bill  reported   from                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB 266-VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the  bill's sponsor, the  Department of                                                               
Transportation and Public Facilities,  and the industry. The bill                                                               
reported from Committee.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 403-NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The  Committee heard  from the  bill's sponsor  and reported  the                                                               
bill from Committee.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HB 304-COMMERCIAL FISHING LOAN PROGRAM                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the  bill's sponsor and  the Department                                                               
of  Commerce, Community  and Economic  Development. The  bill was                                                               
reported from Committee.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 409-NO WORKERS' COMP. FOR REAL EST. LICENSEE                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the  bill's sponsor, the  industry, and                                                               
the Department of  Labor and Workforce Development.  The bill was                                                               
reported from Committee.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 150-LICENSING RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIANS                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the  bill's sponsor, the  Department of                                                               
Health and Social Services, and  the medical profession. The bill                                                               
was held in committee.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
[NOTE: Due to technical  difficulties, Committee action occurring                                                               
between 9:04:57 AM  and 9:18:11 AM was not  recorded. The minutes                                                               
for that portion of the  hearing are based on Committee Secretary                                                               
notes.]                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 381(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An  Act relating  to the  financing of  construction, major                                                               
     maintenance,  and renovation  of  certain capital  projects;                                                               
     authorizing the  commissioner of  revenue to sell  the right                                                               
     to  receive a  portion  of the  anticipated  revenue from  a                                                               
     tobacco  litigation  settlement   to  the  Northern  Tobacco                                                               
     Securitization Corporation,  and relating  to that  sale and                                                               
     the  use of  the revenue;  authorizing the  Northern Tobacco                                                               
     Securitization  Corporation  to  issue  bonds  and  use  the                                                               
     proceeds  to  acquire the  right  to  receive a  portion  of                                                               
     anticipated  revenue from  a  tobacco litigation  settlement                                                               
     and for  other purposes,  and relating  to those  bonds; and                                                               
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was the  second hearing for this bill in  the Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken   moved  to   adopt  Senate   Finance  committee                                                               
substitute Version 24-GH2071\L as the working document.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, the  Version "L"  committee substitute                                                               
was ADOPTED.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  stated  Version   "L"  would  clarify  that  the                                                               
proceeds from the bonds secured  by the Tobacco Master Settlement                                                               
Agreement  revenue would  be  utilized  to finance  construction,                                                               
major maintenance  and renovation  projects at the  University of                                                               
Alaska; to  construct a  new correctional  facility; and  to fund                                                               
other capital  projects such as  facility replacement  and sewage                                                               
projects.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:06:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde   understood  that  20  percent   of  the  revenue                                                               
generated  from the  Tobacco  Master  Settlement Agreement  would                                                               
continue   to  support   preventive  health   care  and   smoking                                                               
cessation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:07:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRYAN   BUTCHER,   Director,   Governmental  Affairs   &   Public                                                               
Relations,  Alaska  Housing  Finance Corporation,  Department  of                                                               
Revenue affirmed Senator Bunde's remark.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to report  the bill  from Committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, SCS  CS HB 381(FIN) was  REPORTED from                                                               
Committee with  previous zero fiscal  note #1 dated  December 23,                                                               
2005 from the Department of Administration.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[NOTE: This bill  was readdressed later in the  meeting. See Time                                                               
Stamp 9:35:11 AM.]                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 240(RLS) am                                                                                          
     "An Act relating to brewery and brewpub licensing and                                                                      
     relating to sales of wine by a winery licensee."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the first hearing for  this bill in the  Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  moved to adopt  committee substitute  Version 24-                                                               
LS0734\W as the working document. She objected for explanation.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:08:48 AM / 9:18:11 AM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
[NOTE: The  FTR Recording  issues were  resolved and  the meeting                                                               
from this point forward was recorded.]                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CRAIG JOHNSON, Staff to Representative  Lesil McGuire, the bill's                                                               
sponsor,  informed  the  Committee  this bill  was  developed  in                                                               
conjunction  with   the  Brewers   Guild  which   represents  six                                                               
breweries and five brewpubs in  the State. Brewpubs are currently                                                               
restricted  to selling  their product  for  consumption on  their                                                               
premise  and must  contract with  a  distributor for  off-premise                                                               
sales. Breweries  are currently limited to  selling their product                                                               
off-premise  and  can  only  provide   free  samples  to  brewery                                                               
visitors.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Johnson stressed  that  the  bill, which  is  the result  of                                                               
compromises between the breweries  and the brewpubs, would "level                                                               
the  playing  field  between"  them in  that  brewpubs  would  be                                                               
allowed to increase the amount  of product they produce and would                                                               
be allowed  to self-distribute a  limited amount of  product. The                                                               
increased production would assist in  growing the industry as the                                                               
small quantity  currently produced  by brewpubs  was unattractive                                                               
to distributors. In  addition, the bill would  allow breweries to                                                               
charge  for their  on-premise samples,  thereby allowing  them to                                                               
recoup some of their costs.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Johnson stressed  that both  breweries and  brewpubs support                                                               
the bill.  He pointed out that  the provisions of the  bill would                                                               
be  limited  to  the  Anchorage   and  Fairbanks  areas,  as  the                                                               
determination was  that breweries and brewpubs  in less populated                                                               
areas  of   the  State   would  be   better  served   by  limited                                                               
competition.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:20:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson asked the amount of  product that could be sold for                                                               
consumption on a premise.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Johnson stated  Version  "W" would  increase  the amount  of                                                               
product a  brewery could sell  to a consumer "for  consumption on                                                               
premises" from 24 to 36 ounces.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson asked  whether the  product would  be sold  by the                                                               
bottle or by draft.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson stated  that the distribution method would  be at the                                                               
discretion  of the  brewer.  Typically, the  product  is sold  in                                                               
draft form as a matter of economics.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  understood   numerous  discussions  had  occurred                                                               
regarding  the  consumption  limit during  the  bill's  committee                                                               
hearing process.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson affirmed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Dyson  asked   for   further   information  about   the                                                               
consumption limit discussions.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Johnson  reiterated  the  bill  "represents  a  compromise".                                                               
Brewpubs, being licensed premises, are  obligated not to serve an                                                               
intoxicated person.  Thus, there is  no limitation on  the amount                                                               
of  product they  could sell  for on-site  consumption. Breweries                                                               
are currently  prohibited from selling  onsite samples.  The bill                                                               
is  "a compromise  between  what  a brewpub  can  do  and what  a                                                               
brewery cannot do  now. So this limitation of being  able to sell                                                               
basically three  beers, allows  the breweries  to recoup  some of                                                               
their money".  The bill is  "a give and take"  compromise between                                                               
the two competing entities.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:22:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  ascertained therefore  that the 36-ounce  limit on                                                               
on-site  consumption was  based  on  "commercial aspects"  rather                                                               
than public safety issues.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson concurred.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:23:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  asked whether Version "W"  included the provisions                                                               
pertaining  to  wineries   that  had  been  included   in  CS  HB
240(RLS)am, Version 24-LS30734\B.A.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson explained  that prior to HB 240  being transmitted to                                                               
the  Senate, the  House of  Representatives adopted  an amendment                                                               
which incorporated a separate bill  pertaining to wineries. Those                                                               
provisions would  have allowed  "an in-State  winery to  ship and                                                               
distribute  wine inside  the State  of Alaska".  Those provisions                                                               
were not included in the Version "W" committee substitute.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson understood  that the bill's sponsor  was amiable to                                                               
incorporating the winery language into the bill.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson  communicated that the bill's  sponsor was respectful                                                               
of  the committee  process.  Thus,  the will  of  a committee  or                                                               
action  taken during  a  floor session  would  be respected.  The                                                               
bill's  sponsor has  "particular respect"  for this  Committee in                                                               
that regard.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:25:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green affirmed  that the  winery  language included  in                                                               
Version "B.A" had been incorporated from a separate bill.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:26:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MATT  JONES,  Representative,  Moose's Tooth  Pub  and  Pizzeria,                                                               
testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  in support  of the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:26:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT    MCCORMICK,    Glacier    BrewHouse,    testified    via                                                               
teleconference from Anchorage in support of the bill.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  asked whether Glenn  Brady, a  representative of                                                               
the  Alaska Cabaret,  Hotel, Restaurant  & Retailers  Association                                                               
(CHARR) would be  testifying, as he had recently  spoken with him                                                               
about this legislation.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  noted that only  Mr. Jones and Mr.  McCormick had                                                               
signed up to testify.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken asked whether Mr.  Brady had presented a position                                                               
on the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson understood Mr. Brady was in support of the bill.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to report  the bill  from Committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  objected. He supported  Version "B.A"  rather than                                                               
Version "W".                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green pointed  out that Version "W" had  been ADOPTED as                                                               
the working document.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken moved  and asked unanimous consent  his motion to                                                               
report the committee substitute from Committee be withdrawn.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, the  motion to  report the  bill from                                                               
Committee was WITHDRAWN.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Conceptual  Amendment #1:  This amendment  inserts the  following                                                               
language  into Sec.  6(b)(1)  page  4 following  line  13 of  the                                                               
committee substitute.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
               (A) to an individual who is present on the                                                                       
          licensed premises; or                                                                                                 
               (B) by shipping to an individual if the shipment                                                                 
          is not to an area that has prohibited the importation                                                                 
          or possession of alcoholic beverages under this                                                                       
          chapter or to an area that has limited the importation                                                                
          or possession of alcoholic beverages unless the sales                                                                 
          complies with the limitation;                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson moved the amendment.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde and Co-Chair Green objected.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson asked the purpose of the language being proposed.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  stated  that this  amendment  would  restore  the                                                               
language  adopted on  the House  floor that  would allow  Alaskan                                                               
wineries to ship  to markets within the  State. Currently, Alaska                                                               
wineries are limited to exporting their products.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  shared she  had  a  "different understanding  of                                                               
sponsor's  desire"  in  this  regard  in  that  the  sponsor  was                                                               
"delighted" that Version  "W" did not include  the language being                                                               
proposed in the amendment.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:31:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator Dyson, Co-Chair Wilken and Senator Olson                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator Stedman, Senator Bunde and Co-Chair Green                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ABSENT: Senator Hoffman                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The motion FAILED (3-3-1)                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1 FAILED to be adopted.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to report  the bill  from Committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, SCS  CS HB 240(FIN) was  REPORTED from                                                               
Committee with previous zero fiscal  note #1 dated March 21, 2006                                                               
from the Department of Public Safety.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:32:16 AM / 9:35:11 AM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 381(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An  Act relating  to the  financing of  construction, major                                                               
     maintenance,  and renovation  of  certain capital  projects;                                                               
     authorizing the  commissioner of  revenue to sell  the right                                                               
     to  receive a  portion  of the  anticipated  revenue from  a                                                               
     tobacco  litigation  settlement   to  the  Northern  Tobacco                                                               
     Securitization Corporation,  and relating  to that  sale and                                                               
     the  use of  the revenue;  authorizing the  Northern Tobacco                                                               
     Securitization  Corporation  to  issue  bonds  and  use  the                                                               
     proceeds  to  acquire the  right  to  receive a  portion  of                                                               
     anticipated  revenue from  a  tobacco litigation  settlement                                                               
     and for  other purposes,  and relating  to those  bonds; and                                                               
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The  bill  was brought  back  before  the Committee  for  further                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  moved to rescind the  Committee's earlier action                                                               
of reporting the bill from Committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, the action was RESCINDED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Committee substitute,  Version 24-GH2071\L, was again  before the                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1:  This amendment deletes "$2,000,000"  in Section 1,                                                               
page 4 line 18 and replaces it with "$4,000,000".                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
In addition,  line 19 on  page 4 of Section  1 is deleted  in its                                                               
entirety.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken moved to adopt Amendment #1.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green communicated  the  amendment was  offered at  the                                                               
request of the [unspecified]  Legislator who originally requested                                                               
the affected projects.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1 was ADOPTED without objection.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  moved to  report  the  bill, as  amended,  from                                                               
Committee  with   individual  recommendations   and  accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Without  objection,   SCS  CS  HB  381(FIN)   was  REPORTED  from                                                               
Committee with  previous zero fiscal  note #1 dated  December 23,                                                               
2005 from the Department of Administration.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:36:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 266(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An  Act  relating to  penalties  for  violation of  vehicle                                                               
     weight limitations; prohibiting the use  of a violation of a                                                               
     vehicle  weight limitation  for certain  personal automobile                                                               
     insurance  actions;  amending  Rule 43.6,  Alaska  Rules  of                                                               
     Administration; and providing for an effective date."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the first hearing for  this bill in the  Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER  BAXTER,  Staff  to Representative  Jim  Elkins,  Chair,                                                               
House  Transportation   Committee,  which  sponsors   this  bill,                                                               
explained the bill  would modify existing laws  pertaining to the                                                               
penalty  structure  for   overweight  vehicle  violations.  These                                                               
penalties  have not  increased since  their establishment  in the                                                               
1970s.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Baxter  professed current penalties  do not  deter commercial                                                               
shipping  companies  and  others from  violating  vehicle  weight                                                               
limitations. In  addition, the bill  would protect  drivers cited                                                               
for  overweight  vehicle  violations  from  insurance  companies,                                                               
which might otherwise penalize  those drivers' private automobile                                                               
insurance  coverage. Oftentimes,  drivers of  commercial vehicles                                                               
have  little  control of  the  weight  loaded on  the  commercial                                                               
vehicles  they  are  assigned  to drive.  Thus,  the  bill  would                                                               
protect  drivers  who  are unknowingly  in  violation  of  weight                                                               
limits on the State's road system.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:37:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson asked  whether  both the  owner  of an  overweight                                                               
truck and its non-owner driver could be cited for an offense.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Baxter affirmed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  understood   therefore  that  the  aforementioned                                                               
insurance coverage  provision would  serve to protect  the driver                                                               
by prohibiting his  or her private vehicle  coverage insurer from                                                               
taking  punitive  action.  In  other  words,  the  driver  of  an                                                               
overweight vehicle  would not  be excused  from operating  a safe                                                               
and legal vehicle.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Baxter stated that was correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:39:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  recognized Aves Thompson, Director,  Division of                                                               
Measurement   Standards   &   Commercial   Vehicle   Enforcement,                                                               
Department of  Transportation and  Public Facilities as  being in                                                               
attendance.  Mr.  Thompson  consistently  acted  in  a  fair  and                                                               
responsible manner during the  numerous occasions Co-Chair Wilken                                                               
met with him about private business matters.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken stated  that under  Mr.  Thompson's tenure,  the                                                               
Division  has used  federal transportation  funds to  upgrade its                                                               
weights and  measures equipment. Commercial trucks  are no longer                                                               
required  to  pull into  weigh  stations  as scales  imbedded  in                                                               
roadways  could now  transmit weight  information to  a scale  as                                                               
trucks  travel along  at  55  miles per  hour.  The readings  are                                                               
accurate  and are  furthering the  effort  to prevent  overweight                                                               
vehicles from damaging State roads.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:40:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AVES  THOMPSON, Director,  Division  of  Measurement Standards  &                                                               
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement,  Department of Transportation and                                                               
Public Facilities,  affirmed Ms. Baxter's testimony  on the bill.                                                               
The Division worked with the  bill's sponsor, the Alaska Trucking                                                               
Association, the  Alaska Teamsters,  and numerous  other entities                                                               
to develop a  bill with "reasonable ground"  that would recognize                                                               
the  Division's  role  in  trying   to  protect  the  State  road                                                               
infrastructure and  deter the  operation of  overweight vehicles.                                                               
This would  be the first  increase in associated  penalties since                                                               
the early  1970s. At  that time, the  penalties were  amongst the                                                               
highest in the nation; now they  are some of the nation's lowest.                                                               
The  proposed penalties  "are a  reasonable  increase" and  would                                                               
position  the  State  at  the mid-range  level.  The  bill  would                                                               
protect drivers  from unfair insurance increases,  would generate                                                               
a "fair increase" in penalty  revenue, and would deter overweight                                                               
vehicles' operation.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:42:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Stedman communicated  the ease  at which  a truck  could                                                               
experience an overweight  axel, particularly a front  axel in the                                                               
case of a  dump truck. Thus, he asked how  such a situation would                                                               
be accommodated, specifically with  the onset of imbedded scales.                                                               
In addition,  he asked  whether weight offenses  in the  range of                                                               
5,000 or 10,000 pounds were common.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Thompson  stated that the  Division would attempt  to address                                                               
these concerns in a couple of  ways. First would be the graduated                                                               
penalty  structure  proposed in  this  bill.  A truck  marginally                                                               
overweight would  not receive  a hefty  fine; however  a severely                                                               
overweight  truck  would  be  fined  "pretty  heavy".  Overweight                                                               
vehicles with  a "low-end"  violation of  between zero  and 2,000                                                               
pounds overweight could avoid a  citation were they able to shift                                                               
the load  weight to  the legal limits  before leaving  the weight                                                               
station. The Division  provides some leeway as  it does recognize                                                               
that  loading trucks  is not  "an exact  science" and  "sometimes                                                               
honest mistakes are made".                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Thompson stated  that the  imbedded  scales were  a work  in                                                               
progress. They would  assist in speeding up the  flow of traffic,                                                               
and  they would  allow  the focus  to be  on  unsafe and  illegal                                                               
trucks rather than those that are safe and legal.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:45:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson appreciated  the Division's "enlightened position",                                                               
as from personal experience he found  that not to have been their                                                               
position in the past.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson   ascertained  that  the  majority   of  the  bill                                                               
addressed penalty levels. The  insurance coverage provisions must                                                               
have  been included  to address  the  insurance methodology  that                                                               
counts  the  number of  citations  a  driver accumulates  against                                                               
their insurance  record; the fact  that these citations  were not                                                               
traffic or  safety related is  not recognized. To that  point, he                                                               
asked  whether this  issue  has been  a  "widespread problem"  in                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Thompson responded that the  Division has received reports of                                                               
this  occurring. The  Alaska  Trucking  Association could  better                                                               
respond to the question.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  understood that the  insurance industry  does not                                                               
object to the inclusion of the provision in the bill.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Thompson  appreciated the Committee's  efforts in  regards to                                                               
the bill, as it is important to the Division.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green acknowledged.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:47:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  BELL, Director,  Alaska Trucking  Association, testified                                                               
via  teleconference from  an offnet  location in  support of  the                                                               
bill. The  provision in the  bill that would  prohibit overweight                                                               
citations   from  affecting   a   driver's  personal   automobile                                                               
insurance  is important  as drivers  are seldom  "responsible for                                                               
loading  their  vehicles  and have  very  little  opportunity  to                                                               
adjust  a load  if  they  are overweight  on  an  axel or  gross"                                                               
weight. Roadways  would also benefit  from the bill, as  it would                                                               
discourage  continual overweight  violations. It  would encourage                                                               
the proper loading of a truck before it arrived at a scale.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stedman  disclosed having  a commercial  driver's license                                                               
(CDL).                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green acknowledged there being a need for such a bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to report  the bill  from Committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no objection,  CS  HB  266(FIN) was  REPORTED  from                                                               
Committee with three  previous fiscal notes: zero  fiscal note #4                                                               
dated  January   23,  2006  from  the   Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community  and Economic  Development; zero  fiscal note  #5 dated                                                               
January  20,  2006  from the  Department  of  Transportation  and                                                               
Public  Facilities; and  zero fiscal  note #6  dated January  25,                                                               
2006 from the Department of Law.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:49:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 403(TRA)                                                                               
     "An Act relating to registration and operation of low-speed                                                                
     vehicles."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the first hearing for  this bill in the  Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:49:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
IAN  FISK,  Staff  to  Representative  Bill  Thomas,  the  bill's                                                               
sponsor, explained the bill would  pertain to vehicles classified                                                               
by federal  statutes as "low  speed vehicles". Rather  than being                                                               
such things as golf carts, the  vehicles in question are "a class                                                               
of vehicles"  that are required to  have "headlights, taillights,                                                               
brake   lights,   seat   belts,   bumpers,   automotive   quality                                                               
windshields, and  emergency brakes"  and other  features required                                                               
on a  traditional car. These  vehicles are also required  to meet                                                               
federal  test standards,  and the  maximum  speed these  vehicles                                                               
could obtain is  25 miles per hour (MPH). In  order not to impede                                                               
traffic, their  use is limited  to roadways with a  maximum speed                                                               
of 35 MPH.  Low speed vehicles are currently legal  in 36 states.                                                               
Their  advantages  would  include  zero emissions  and  low  fuel                                                               
expense. They  are particularly popular in  gated communities and                                                               
retirement communities.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Fisk informed  the  Committee this  bill  would provide  the                                                               
Division of  Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department  of Administration,                                                               
the authority to register and license such vehicles.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green noted  that a  picture  of the  vehicle [copy  on                                                               
file] was included in members' bill packets.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  understood that  the bill  would allow  owners of                                                               
these vehicles to register them.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson countered  that, rather than "allowing"  them to be                                                               
registered, the legislation would "require" them to be licensed.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Fisk responded that DMV would  be required to register such a                                                               
vehicle were someone to visit a DMV office with one.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  stated  that  currently  DMV  could  "refuse  to                                                               
register" such a vehicle.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Fisk  clarified  that  DMV   does  not  currently  have  the                                                               
statutory authority  to register  them. This  legislation mirrors                                                               
the approach other states have  taken regarding this new class of                                                               
vehicles.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked for  examples of  violations such  a vehicle                                                               
might incur.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Fisk  noted that language  in Sec. 4  page 2 line  30 through                                                               
page 3 line 9 would  clarify the operational guidelines for these                                                               
vehicles.  For example,  they  must adhere  to  traffic laws  and                                                               
carry liability insurance.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  reiterated that these vehicles  could not operate                                                               
on roadways with a posted speed limit above 35 MPH.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:53:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  noted that  members'  packets  contain a  letter                                                               
[copy on  file] addressed  to the  Committee from  Duane Bannock,                                                               
Director,  Alaska  Division  of  Motor  Vehicles,  Department  of                                                               
Administration. The letter explains  that DMV could not currently                                                               
license  or  register this  class  of  vehicle. This  legislation                                                               
would allow DMV  to do so for any customers  seeking such action.                                                               
The  letter  also substantiates  that  these  vehicles could  not                                                               
traverse roadways with speed limits exceeding 35 MPH.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to report  the bill  from Committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, SCS  CS HB 403(TRA) was  REPORTED from                                                               
Committee with  previous zero fiscal  note #1 dated  February 22,                                                               
2006  from the  Department of  Public Safety  and $10,500  fiscal                                                               
note  #2  dated   February  21,  2006  from   the  Department  of                                                               
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:54:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 304(FIN) am                                                                                          
     "An Act relating to the commercial fishing loan program;                                                                   
     and providing for an effective date."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the first hearing for  this bill in the  Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN COGHILL,  the  bill's  sponsor, stated  this                                                               
bill  would revise  the Commercial  Fishing  Revolving Loan  Fund                                                               
(CFRLF) program  administered by  the Division of  Investments in                                                               
the Department  of Commerce, Community and  Economic Development.                                                               
His  "philosophical" belief  that government  should not  compete                                                               
with  private  enterprise  has  influenced  his  actions  in  the                                                               
Legislature  and  thus,  prompted   his  interest  in  the  CFRLF                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:55:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill  shared that  he  began  his "journey  of                                                               
understanding"  the  Division's  loan-lending activity  with  the                                                               
commercial fishing  industry, as  allowed by Alaska  Statute (AS)                                                               
16.10.300-370 enacted  in 1972,  several years ago.  Overtime, he                                                               
became  convinced the  program  was  beneficial; particularly  as                                                               
some of the State's commercial  fishing permits are designed in a                                                               
manner  which  has  served  to reduce  the  entities  lending  on                                                               
permits  to only  the Commercial  Fishing  and Agricultural  Bank                                                               
(CFAB) and the  CFRLF program. Thus, "it is probably  not wise to                                                               
take it off the books".                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  specified that his  goal was to  make the                                                               
CFRLF program "the  lender of last resort as much  as possible so                                                               
that  those  who  are  fishing  in  the  fishing  fleet  who  are                                                               
servicing  their loan  through commercial  lenders don't  have to                                                               
compete with people  who are getting probably a  much better deal                                                               
from the State".  To that point, this  legislation "would tighten                                                               
up  some of  the provisions"  and would  codify law  so that,  in                                                               
order  to qualify  for  the  program, a  person  must have  first                                                               
attempted "to apply  for a loan with  another federally chartered                                                               
institution or  CFAB". He reiterated  that the Division  and CFAB                                                               
are "the only  two" entities providing loans  for fishing permits                                                               
in the State. Provisions pertaining  to other loan programs, such                                                               
as the Community Quota Shares  program, are also addressed in the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:57:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill informed  the  Committee that  commercial                                                               
fishermen also  utilize CFRLF to refinance  their commercial bank                                                               
loans. The  Sponsor Statement addressed  this and  other proposed                                                               
provisions as follows.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     HB 304  reduces the amount  of loans for refinancing  a debt                                                               
     to  $200,000 per  person, down  from $300,000.  It increases                                                               
     the loan  limit for  past due  federal tax  obligations from                                                               
     $30,000  to  $35,000. And  it  limits  all loans,  including                                                               
     purchase  of  entry  permits  and  gear,  vessel  purchases,                                                               
     repair of  existing vessels,  and federal  tax debt  for one                                                               
     person  to $400,000.  That limit  now  totals $930,000.  The                                                               
     bill  reduces security  of a  loan from  90% to  80% of  the                                                               
     appraised  value  of  the collateral.  HB  304  changes  the                                                               
     interest rate to  prime rate plus two  percentage points and                                                               
     keeps the cap at 10 1/2%.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  pointed out  that this  legislation would                                                               
also repeal a State Statute,  which required the Division "to set                                                               
aside ten  percent of the  funds" to  support loans of  less than                                                               
$35,000.  This directive  was deemed  unnecessary;  this has  not                                                               
been an issue since the Division has sufficient cash available.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  specified one of the  major components of                                                               
the  bill  as  the  lowering  of "the  aggregate  loan"  limit  a                                                               
commercial fisherman  could obtain  for their boat,  license, and                                                               
equipment  from  $930,000  to $400,000.  The  exception  to  that                                                               
provision would be  the Community Quota Shares  program, which is                                                               
a community loan issue.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:58:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill pointed out  that another key component of                                                               
the  bill would  establish the  interest rate  at prime  plus two                                                               
percent  with a  limit of  10.5 percent.  The 10.5  percent is  a                                                               
"compromised"  rate,  resulting  from a  "reasonable  attempt  to                                                               
tighten  up the  Division  of Investments".  He  worked with  the                                                               
Division as  well as former  State Senator Alan  Austerman, whose                                                               
current  capacity  is Fisheries  Policy  Advisor,  Office of  the                                                               
Governor. Greg Winegar, Director  of the Division of Investments,                                                               
has agreed to the changes proposed in the bill.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  informed the Committee that,  even though                                                               
he had  preferred establishing  a limit  other than  the proposed                                                               
10.5 percent, he was "content" to see how it would function.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  characterized the legislation as  "a work                                                               
in  progress". This  was  the  fifth year  he  had addressed  the                                                               
issue.  It was  "a  reasonable effort"  and  would benefit  those                                                               
fishermen who must compete "in the  same waters for the same fish                                                               
and have to go to a  variety of different banks". The CFRLF would                                                               
continue to provide "flexibilities  that are still very generous"                                                               
even with the 10.5 percent limit.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:00:39 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked for further information  about the $930,000                                                               
limit.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  identified $930,000 as being  the current                                                               
aggregate limit.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green surmised  that,  rather  than being  specifically                                                               
identified in  the bill,  $930,000 was  the sum  of a  variety of                                                               
different things.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill affirmed.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  understood that  the  provision  that required  a                                                               
fisherman applying  for a  CFRLF loan to  have participated  in a                                                               
commercial fishery had  been omitted from the  bill. The language                                                               
deleted  is depicted  in Section  1(a)(1)(D)(i), page  3 lines  5                                                               
through 10.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill  pointed  out that  language  in  Section                                                               
1(a)(1)(A) on page 1 lines 7  through 13 specifies to whom a loan                                                               
could be made. Among the  requirements is that the loan recipient                                                               
must hold a  commercial fishing license and be a  resident of the                                                               
State.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:02:29 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson ascertained  therefore that  Section 1(a)(1)(D)(i)                                                               
was eliminated because it was redundant language.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde concurred.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green affirmed  that the language had  simply been moved                                                               
to a different location in the bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:02:50 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Coghill  stated   that   other  qualifiers   and                                                               
disqualifiers are included in Section  1(a)(1)(B) on page 2 lines                                                               
2 through 29.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GREG WINEGAR,  Director, Division  of Investments,  Department of                                                               
Commerce,  Community and  Economic  Development communicated  the                                                               
bill would revise the qualifiers  for tax obligation loans, which                                                               
are a type of loan offered  to commercial fishermen by CFRLF. The                                                               
bill would retain the lack  of training or economic dependence on                                                               
fishing for  livelihood qualifiers.  In addition, the  bill would                                                               
limit  federal tax  obligation loans  to  people meeting  Section                                                               
1(a)(1)(B)  eligibility   specifications  rather   than  allowing                                                               
people  meeting  either  Section  (a)(1)(A) or  (B)  criteria  to                                                               
qualify. Section  1(a)(1)(B) qualifiers would include  people who                                                               
did not qualify for loans  elsewhere; those who were economically                                                               
dependent on  fishing; and those  residing in rural areas  of the                                                               
State.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:04:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson asked  for further  information about  federal tax                                                               
obligation  loans.  He  understood that  a  qualifying  fisherman                                                               
could his utilize such a loan to pay off their federal taxes.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Winegar affirmed. This program  was created several years ago                                                               
when there was  "an awful lot of  non-compliance problems, mainly                                                               
out in rural  Alaska". The program has not been  utilized much in                                                               
recent years.  Only three  such loans have  been provided  in the                                                               
last  four years.  The  State worked  with  the federal  Internal                                                               
Revenue Service (IRS)  to develop a program  through which people                                                               
could  become  compliant  without   losing  their  limited  entry                                                               
permits through IRS seizures action.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:05:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  ascertained that the  term "compliant"  meant they                                                               
were paying their tax in a timely manner.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Winegar replied "yes".                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:06:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  asked the  number  of  individuals who  would  be                                                               
affected by the proposed changes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:06:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Winegar  stated  that,  as  specified in  the  May  1,  2006                                                               
Department  of  Commerce,   Community  and  Economic  Development                                                               
fiscal note #3,  the bill might lower the number  of loans by two                                                               
per  year.  Currently, only  one  borrower  exceeds the  proposed                                                               
$400,000 loan  limit. That borrower  would be  grandfathered into                                                               
the $930,000 aggregate limit.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  shared the concern  that out-of-state  people were                                                               
acquiring limited  entry fishing permits. They  are attractive as                                                               
the price  being offered for  fish is making the  permits "fairly                                                               
valuable".  Noting  that  the bill  would  require  borrowers  to                                                               
reside in the State for two  years, he asked how residency status                                                               
would be verified.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Winegar expressed that the  two-year residency requirement is                                                               
carefully  evaluated. Such  things as  an applicant's  tax return                                                               
filing, the location of their  car registration, where their bank                                                               
account is located or whether  they had received a Permanent Fund                                                               
Dividend are analyzed.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill  remarked that,  while he  had "pressured"                                                               
the Division  of Investments "to  not hang onto  these licenses",                                                               
the "direction"  sent by the  Legislature was that  limited entry                                                               
permits should  be kept in  the State.  His position is  that the                                                               
Division  has  held onto  permits  "a  little longer"  than  they                                                               
should have.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
No further testifiers or Committee concerns were presented.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:08:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to report  the bill  from Committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, CS  HB 304(FIN)am  was REPORTED  from                                                               
Committee with  previous zero  fiscal note #3  dated May  1, 2006                                                               
from  the   Department  of   Commerce,  Community   and  Economic                                                               
Development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:08:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 409(L&C)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to excluding qualified real estate                                                                        
     licensees from workers' compensation coverage."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the first hearing for  this bill in the  Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:09:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BOB  LYNN, the bill's  sponsor, disclosed  being a                                                               
licensed real  estate agent in  the State.  "Workers Compensation                                                               
is the  means through which  injured workers are  compensated for                                                               
injury sustained on  the job or as a result  of their job." State                                                               
and  federal laws  require "most  companies  to purchase  workers                                                               
compensation insurance  for their  employees". To that  point, he                                                               
noted that 99  percent of real estate licensees in  the State are                                                               
considered independent contractors rather than employees.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Lynn communicated  that  in  Alaska, real  estate                                                               
licensees  "typically sign  an independent  contractor agreement"                                                               
with their real  estate broker and "pay for  their own services".                                                               
The  broker does  not pay  them  a wage/salary  or benefits.  Any                                                               
payment they receive  is "tied directly to the  sales" or service                                                               
they provide rather than hours  worked. The real estate licensees                                                               
themselves  are required  to pay  quarterly federal  income taxes                                                               
and the social  security tax that an employer  would normally pay                                                               
for  an employee.  In addition,  they are  responsible for  their                                                               
business  expenses, including  their  licensing fees,  continuing                                                               
education expenses,  advertising, office equipment,  websites and                                                               
long distance phone  calls. They could be likened  to "a business                                                               
within a  business". The real  estate broker has no  control over                                                               
how the  real estate licensee  under contract with  them conducts                                                               
their business, provided it is  within the boundaries of the law.                                                               
The federal  Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  also recognizes them                                                               
as independent contractors. This bill  would affirm there to be a                                                               
written contract between the broker  and the real estate licensee                                                               
which  states  that the  licensee  would  not  be treated  as  an                                                               
employee  for IRS  or workers'  compensation  purposes. It  would                                                               
also clarify  that the  real estate licensee  would be  paid only                                                               
for what they  produced rather than for the number  of hours they                                                               
might work.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Lynn asked  the Committee  to favorably  consider                                                               
the legislation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:12:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PEGGY   ANN  MCCONNOCHIE,   Licensed  Real   Estate  Broker   and                                                               
Representative, Alaska Association of  Realtors, spoke in support                                                               
of the  bill. She appreciated  the work that  Representative Lynn                                                               
had  conducted  in its  regard.  The  bill would  provide  "clear                                                               
direction" to a question that  has plagued the industry for quite                                                               
some time.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:13:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Wilken  asked   regarding  Governor   Frank  Murkowski                                                               
Administration's position on the bill.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. McConnochie responded that the  bill is supported by both the                                                               
Division of  Insurance in the  Department of  Commerce, Community                                                               
and   Economic  Development   and   the   Division  of   Workers'                                                               
Compensation   in  the   Department   of   Labor  and   Workforce                                                               
Development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:13:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
To  that  point,  Co-Chair  Green  noted  members'  bill  packets                                                               
contain a copy of a letter  [copy on file] dated February 7, 2006                                                               
from Department  of Labor and Workforce  Development Commissioner                                                               
Greg O'Claray  addressed to  Representative Tom  Anderson, Chair,                                                               
House Labor and Commerce Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  asked  whether  the  Department  of  Labor  and                                                               
Workforce  Development   "was  neutral,   for,  or   against  the                                                               
Legislation".                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:14:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  LISANKIE,  Director,  Division  of  Workers'  Compensation,                                                               
Department of Labor and  Workforce Development, communicated that                                                               
the letter  conveyed Commissioner Greg O'Claray's  support of the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:14:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to report  the bill  from Committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, CS  HB  409 (L&C)  was REPORTED  from                                                               
Committee with  two previous  zero fiscal  notes: fiscal  note #1                                                               
dated  February  24,  2006  from   the  Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community  and  Economic Development  and  fiscal  note #2  dated                                                               
February  23, 2006  from the  Department of  Labor and  Workforce                                                               
Development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:14:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 150(L&C)                                                                               
     "An Act requiring licensure of occupations relating to                                                                     
     radiological technology, radiation therapy, and nuclear                                                                    
     medicine technology; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the first hearing for  this bill in the  Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD,  Staff to Representative Tom  Anderson, the bill's                                                               
sponsor,   remarked   this   bill   would   establish   licensure                                                               
regulations for  radiographers and radiological  technologists in                                                               
the   State.   While   some  Statutes   currently   address   the                                                               
administering  of  x-ray  technology for  medical  diagnoses,  no                                                               
express licensure exists. This has  been an oversight for several                                                               
years.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard  noted that  members'  packets  included a  list  of                                                               
states that  have adopted licensure  or certification  laws [copy                                                               
on file]  similar to  the provisions proposed  in this  bill. New                                                               
York and California adopted their  radiological licensure laws as                                                               
early  as  the  1960s.  More  than a  proposal  to  implement  an                                                               
occupational  licensure, this  bill  would  address a  legitimate                                                               
public health issue.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard  read  excerpts from  a  University  of  California,                                                               
Berkeley news release  dated November 16, 1999 [copy  on file] as                                                               
follows.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     "This is a serious public health problem," Gofman [John W.                                                                 
     Gofman, professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology at                                                                
     the University of California  Berkeley] said. "We're talking                                                               
     about  the two  biggest causes  of death  in this  country -                                                               
     cancer  and heart  disease  - which  together  amount to  45                                                               
     percent of all  deaths. Medical X-rays are a  major cause of                                                               
     these deaths."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "There  is the  assumption that,  at these  doses, radiation                                                               
     doesn't make  a significant contribution," he  said. "But X-                                                               
     rays are  very potent  mutagens, even at  low doses.  It's a                                                               
     disaster  that people  still believe  the 'safe  dose myth,'                                                               
     that low doses are harmless."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hilyard  communicated that the  second excerpt  would address                                                               
the common misperception that low dosage X-rays are harmless.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:17:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard   concluded  that  the  health   and  administrative                                                               
benefits the bill would provide are reason to support it.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  asked whether  the  legislation  would create  a                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hilyard responded in the negative.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked whether a  board pertinent to  this subject                                                               
currently existed.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hilyard stated no.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  responded positively  to the  fact that  no board                                                               
existed or would be created by the legislation.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  asked what specific  problem would  be addressed                                                               
by this legislation.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard communicated  that during  the bill's  House Finance                                                               
Committee  hearing, a  question  was asked  about  the number  of                                                               
complaints  filed  in this  regard.  While  the Director  of  the                                                               
Division  of  Occupational  Licensing,  Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community and  Economic Development expressed that  none had been                                                               
filed, the reality  is that the Division would  not have received                                                               
any   complaints  because   this  is   currently  an   unlicensed                                                               
occupation. Medical malpractice lawsuits  have been filed against                                                               
radiologists and other medical  professionals. However, without a                                                               
more thorough review of the  cases, a definitive number could not                                                               
be  provided.  Nonetheless,  "anecdotal evidence"  would  support                                                               
there being  "a problem with overexposure,  radiation burns, and,                                                               
more difficult  to identify, is  the problem of  misdiagnoses, or                                                               
missed diagnoses as a result of improper procedures".                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hilyard reiterated  there is a "significant  problem but it's                                                               
very difficult to quantify".                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken remarked that  the certification requirements for                                                               
large  hospitals  dictate  they  employ  certified  radiologists.                                                               
However, smaller  facilities such as clinics,  particularly those                                                               
in   outlying  areas,   "would  struggle   with  some   of  these                                                               
requirements". Thus,  the question is  whether the extent  of the                                                               
problem  would justify  "putting  them through  the  hoops to  be                                                               
certified and  the costs  of that and  the confusion"  that would                                                               
accompany the licensure process.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard  stated that  during  the  bill's committee  hearing                                                               
process,  changes  were  made to  address  the  "unique  practice                                                               
elements  in Rural  Alaska". He  affirmed larger  facilities were                                                               
required  to employ  fully credentialed  radiographers. The  true                                                               
focus  of the  bill is  "limited imagers,  those are  people that                                                               
have no sort of certification that we  can look at to say yes, we                                                               
are  confident  that  you  have   a  firm  understanding  of  the                                                               
practice" you are conducting.  However, addressing that situation                                                               
must  be done  without diminishing  the care  available in  Rural                                                               
Alaska.  One  example  of  that consideration  is  that,  in  the                                                               
education  component,  limited  imagers receiving  "any  training                                                               
provided  in a  medical facility  by a  licensed practitioner  or                                                               
radiographer  is acceptable  and  they are  eligible  to take  an                                                               
examination."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hilyard stated that an  amendment adopted by the Senate Labor                                                               
&   Commerce  Committee   allowed  "the   definition  of   direct                                                               
supervision  to  be more  open  and  lenient". This  language  is                                                               
depicted  in   Sec.  2,  Article  3.   General  Provisions.  Sec.                                                               
08.89.990(5) on page 11, lines 11 through 14 as follows.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     (5) "direct  supervision" means supervision that  is on-site                                                               
     or  available by  telephonic or  electronic  means; in  this                                                               
     paragraph,  "supervision"  includes  demonstrations,  record                                                               
     review,    evaluation   of    clinical   examinations,    or                                                               
     communications;                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hilyard  stressed there were  efforts taken "to make  this as                                                               
easy  for Rural  Alaska and  the clinics  out there  to meet  the                                                               
requirements".                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:21:57 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked whether  there had  been any  opposition to                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard  noted  that,  while   some  groups  have  expressed                                                               
concern, none  are on record in  open opposition to the  bill. Ed                                                               
Hall with  the Physicians  Assistants' Association  has continued                                                               
to voice  "qualified opposition to  the bill".  The understanding                                                               
is  this  resistance  is based  on  implementation  concerns,  as                                                               
expressed  earlier by  Co-Chair  Wilken. The  bill's sponsor  had                                                               
endeavored to work  with any group having  reservations about the                                                               
bill.  Some  of  the  concerns were  successfully  addressed  and                                                               
others  were not.  Thus,  there continues  to  be some  qualified                                                               
opposition to the bill.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde, who knew both Ed  Hall and a nurse practitioner in                                                               
his district, affirmed that "concerns  about the financial impact                                                               
of the  bill" continue to  exist. Nonetheless, he would  defer to                                                               
the will of the Committee.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
In  response to  a question  from Co-Chair  Green, Senator  Bunde                                                               
understood the financial concern was  that the bill would require                                                               
a clinic  to hire a  certified person  rather than being  able to                                                               
hire and train an individual in-house.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:24:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hilyard clarified that the  bill was amended to redefine what                                                               
would be recognized  as an approved training  program. This would                                                               
assist  in  addressing  the  "frequently  reported  extraordinary                                                               
training  costs". Thus,  "a clinic  with a  physician's assistant                                                               
who  is   providing  the  training"   would  meet   the  training                                                               
requirements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  whether individuals  would be  required to                                                               
take a test.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard stated  individuals  would be  required  to take  an                                                               
examination.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:25:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  asked  whether  the  Division  of  Occupational                                                               
Licensing  had,  during  the bill's  committee  hearing  process,                                                               
shared any concerns it is aware of about this issue.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard affirmed  that  the Division  had  testified on  the                                                               
bill.  Specific policy  concerns  were  addressed; however,  more                                                               
recent  objections appear  to be  "philosophical" in  nature. For                                                               
example, the  Division testified that,  "I don't believe  that we                                                               
need this licensure because there's not a demonstrated need".                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard stated  that  even though  quantifying  the need  is                                                               
difficult,  the communications  received from  physicians in  the                                                               
State  support  the understanding  that  the  problem exists  and                                                               
should be addressed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:26:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  stated that in  a recent conversation he  had with                                                               
Dr.  Richard  Mandsager,  Director, Division  of  Public  Health,                                                               
Department of Health and Social  Services, Dr. Mandsager conveyed                                                               
support  for  the  bill  even  though  the  radiology  field  has                                                               
experienced  vast  equipment  improvements  during  the  past  25                                                               
years.  Older  equipment  was  known   to  overexpose  people  to                                                               
radiation.  "The  long  term  damage to  folks  has  resulted  in                                                               
greatly  reduced  dosages  in  modern  equipment  that  certainly                                                               
limits the  area of  exposure and makes  it far  more effective."                                                               
Dr.  Mandsager believed  more cancers  and leukemia  would become                                                               
apparent in the future as the result of overexposure.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson voiced  being "wary of licensing that  seems …to be                                                               
the  establishment protecting  their turf  against anybody  else,                                                               
and guaranteeing their income stream";  however, he is respectful                                                               
of Dr. Mandsager's position in support of the legislation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  communicated the Department of  Health and Social                                                               
Services'  support  of  the  bill.  The  Division  of  Occupation                                                               
Licensing was neutral on the bill.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  whether  the  licensing requirement  would                                                               
also apply to chiropractic office radiologists.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hilyard affirmed it would.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:28:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CLYDE PEARCE,  Chief, Radiological  Health, Department  of Health                                                               
and   Social   Services,   testified  via   teleconference   from                                                               
Anchorage, and communicated that since  he is the only person who                                                               
conducts radiation  safety compliance  inspections in  the State,                                                               
he would be the person most likely to receive complaints.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Pearce had  received  "complaints from  consumers about  the                                                               
conduct  of their  procedures".  The two  most recent  procedural                                                               
complaints pertained  to two major  hospitals: one in  Juneau and                                                               
the other  in Anchorage. He did  not view this as  a rural verses                                                               
urban issue, as he has  witnessed "significant problems" in large                                                               
facilities in major cities.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Pearce stated  negative biological  affects have  been found                                                               
"at much lower levels of  exposure than previously believed to be                                                               
a matter of  concern". Several research studies  indicate that as                                                               
much as one  percent of all cancers are the  result of diagnostic                                                               
X-rays  nationwide. Since  the State  does not  currently require                                                               
formal operator training, "it could  reasonably be expected" that                                                               
Alaska's  percentages  would be  higher.  These  affects are  not                                                               
obvious  because  the negative  affects  take  time to  manifest.                                                               
There  are  definite  concerns,   as  radiological  exposure  has                                                               
increased.  There  is recognition  that  the  level of  radiation                                                               
overdosing is  lower than historically  thought. The  State "does                                                               
not really require  people to know what they are  doing when they                                                               
apply this carcinogen to patients".  The dangers of radiation are                                                               
not  limited to  patients;  operators are  also exposed.  "Alaska                                                               
allows five  times as  much exposure to  the general  public than                                                               
the federal government  or other states do. We  have some serious                                                               
issues that need to be resolved there."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Pearce  concurred with the  expenses depicted on  fiscal note                                                               
#2  from  the  Department  of Commerce,  Community  and  Economic                                                               
Development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In conclusion, Mr. Pearce, on  behalf of the Department of Health                                                               
and  Social Services,  encouraged  the Committee  to support  the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:31:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken surmised that the  bill would not address the two                                                               
aforementioned complaints pertaining to  the two major hospitals,                                                               
as he understood radiologists working  in major hospitals must be                                                               
trained and certified.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Pearce clarified that radiologists  are medical doctors (MDs)                                                               
who   specialize  in   this   area   of  medicine.   Radiological                                                               
technicians  or operators  are a  different category  of workers.                                                               
Typically,  major hospitals  "only hire  registered technologists                                                               
or operators,  separate from the  MDs," due to the  constraint of                                                               
credentialing   regulations   of    the   Joint   Commission   on                                                               
Accreditation of Hospitals. However,  not all major hospitals are                                                               
accredited and therefore would not  be required to hire certified                                                               
individuals.  One of  the two  aforementioned major  hospitals is                                                               
not accredited  and thus  would be subject  to the  provisions of                                                               
this bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  voiced concern  that the  provisions of  this bill                                                               
would  not  be  uniformly  applied  to  all  medical  facilities,                                                               
regardless of  size. Continuing, he, a  medical doctor, addressed                                                               
the  sponsor's remarks  regarding the  dangers of  heat radiation                                                               
burns,  by  noting  there  are   two  different  types  of  X-ray                                                               
applications.  To  that point,  he  had  never witnessed  a  heat                                                               
radiation burn resulting from a chest X-ray.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson also understood that  rather than having "qualified                                                               
opposition" to  the bill, Ed  Hall with the  Physicians Assistant                                                               
Association was opposed to the bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson asked the bill's  sponsor to disclose the number of                                                               
documented complaints of overexposure.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard  deferred  to  Mr.   Pearce  who  had  provided  the                                                               
"evidence and information" pertaining to the bill.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson asked  Mr. Pearce to also provide the  dates of the                                                               
overexposure cases.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Pearce  concurred   that  a  radiation  burn   would  be  an                                                               
occurrence more likely associated  with "a major facility because                                                               
of  the kind  of procedure"  that  would be  involved. This  bill                                                               
would  address  "lower  level kinds  of  injuries  which  include                                                               
cancer  …"  Current  studies  indicate   that  radiation  has  "a                                                               
negative affect on intellectual  development". A Swedish study of                                                               
approximately  3,000   individuals  concluded   there  to   be  a                                                               
measurable  reduction  in intellectual  ability  as  a result  of                                                               
diagnostic  level X-ray  exposures when  the subject  was between                                                               
one and  one and  a half  years old.  Other studies  support this                                                               
concern. The  problem with  radiation is  the "latent  period" or                                                               
delay  in  the  time  in  which  the  affects  become  "evident".                                                               
Examples  of  "really severe,  gross  burns"  of the  type  being                                                               
referred to  in this  bill could  be viewed  at the  Federal Drug                                                               
Administration's website  at www.FDA.gov.  Rather than  the issue                                                               
being  radiation burns,  the "real  issue"  is that,  due to  the                                                               
"latent effects"  of radiology, "even the  practitioner, licensed                                                               
medical  physicians,  did  not recognize  the  patient  had  been                                                               
injured at the  time of the study". The effects  could take years                                                               
to manifest themselves.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Pearce pointed  out that  even low  levels, particularly  in                                                               
regard  to cancer,  are  a concern.  The  National Institutes  of                                                               
Health  (NIH)   had  "reaffirmed  that  radiation   is  a  potent                                                               
carcinogen".  Their  studies indicate  that  one  percent of  all                                                               
cancers are  the result of  diagnostic X-rays. The  conclusion of                                                               
researchers  who  have studied  a  variety  of people,  including                                                               
survivors  of  Hiroshima,  is   the  Linear  Non-Threshold  (LNT)                                                               
Theory, which  is that "the  only safe dose  is no dose  at all".                                                               
"There  is no  fully safe  dose  of exposure  to radiation,"  Mr.                                                               
Pearce stated.  Any effort to  keep exposures  to a minimum  is a                                                               
good idea. He  was not recommending that people  avoid getting an                                                               
examination  that's  done  properly   and  ordered  for  clinical                                                               
reasons by practitioners. However, "we  don't need to expose them                                                               
to 50 or 60 times the amount  of radiation needed in order to get                                                               
that  diagnostic  information".  He had  witnessed  exposures  at                                                               
those levels occurring in the State.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  pointed out that  the X-ray spectrum  addressed in                                                               
this bill  is different than  that of the Hiroshima  atomic bomb.                                                               
Today's equipment  has more safeguards than  older machines. This                                                               
legislation  is  opposed by  small  rural  clinics, as  it  would                                                               
further increase  the difficulty they historically  experience in                                                               
recruiting  employees,  particularly X-ray  technicians.  "X-rays                                                               
are one of  those necessary elements of the  practice of medicine                                                               
to go  ahead and make  a proper  diagnosis." People must  be able                                                               
"to  have  an  X-ray  at  their disposal"  in  order  to  make  a                                                               
diagnosis.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  share  never  having   seen  a  malpractice  suit                                                               
"dealing  with any  kind of  over-radiation exposure"  during his                                                               
eight years on the State medical board.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:38:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DONNA RUFSHOLM,  Chair, Legislative Committee, Alaska  Society of                                                               
Radiological Technologists, testified  via teleconference from an                                                               
offnet location and  informed the Committee that  the Society was                                                               
involved in  the development of  this bill. One of  the questions                                                               
addressed during the bill's development  was "why do we need this                                                               
regulation in the State of Alaska?"  The answer is "safety to the                                                               
patients, safety to the" equipment  operators, "and the necessity                                                               
to establish standards" to ensure  that Alaskans receive "quality                                                               
care" when undergoing X-ray examinations.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Rufsholm,  a  professional radiology  technologist,  stated,                                                               
"there is no  safe dose of radiation".  Low-level radiation could                                                               
be as harmful as high  levels of radiation. However, patients are                                                               
unaware  of these  facts  and do  not know  how  to evaluate  the                                                               
safety  of  the procedure  being  administered.  "They place  all                                                               
their confidence in  the health care worker  who's performing the                                                               
procedure…" They assume  "that any one that is  providing care in                                                               
a  health care  setting knows  what they're  doing and  that they                                                               
received   the   proper   education  to   perform   their   job."                                                               
Unfortunately  this is  not true  in Alaska.  Absent a  licensure                                                               
policy,  anyone, even  those hired  for  another position,  could                                                               
take an  X-ray without  training or  with minimum  training. This                                                               
scenario is occurring in numerous small facilities in the State.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Rufsholm  stated  that  the  passage  of  this  bill  "would                                                               
establish   standards    for   individuals"    conducting   X-ray                                                               
procedures.   The  State's   Radiological   Health  Program   had                                                               
developed  a listing  of "documented  misuse of  radiation". That                                                               
list [copy  not provided]  included a  small clinic  in Anchorage                                                               
"whose staff  exposed a patient to  at least 64 times  the amount                                                               
of radiation required to obtain  a diagnostic image". The Society                                                               
"cannot blame  those operators for  the errors they've  made", as                                                               
they are not  required to receive training "to  conduct their job                                                               
correctly nor have they been given the opportunity".                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rufsholm addressed the concern  that this bill would create a                                                               
financial  burden.  The expense  to  a  facility to  license  one                                                               
individual  would "equate  to the  cost of  performing one  extra                                                               
procedure".  This is  "a small  amount to  pay to  ensure patient                                                               
safety". Any  training program "sponsored  by a  medical facility                                                               
supervised  and instructed  by a  licensed practitioner  or fully                                                               
licensed  radiographer" would  qualify  as education.  Additional                                                               
criteria would be established in  regulation. This bill would not                                                               
alter the manner  in which small rural clinics  operate. The bill                                                               
was developed in recognition of the  fact that rural areas of the                                                               
State  have different  needs  than urban  areas.  The ability  to                                                               
provide  radiological services  in  rural areas  is of  paramount                                                               
importance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rufsholm  stated major provisions  were included in  the bill                                                               
to ensure  that individuals who  were currently  performing these                                                               
procedures would  be able to  continue to do so.  Clinic services                                                               
would  not be  interrupted while  staff received  training. There                                                               
would be  no loss  of service  or patient  access to  services in                                                               
rural areas.  Internet training courses  would also  be available                                                               
for  a cost  of $229,  which was  approximately the  cost of  one                                                               
chest X-ray procedure.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:43:34 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Rufsholm  shared  that studies  conducted  in  other  states                                                               
indicate the education requirement  would not impact salaries and                                                               
force clinics  to close. "We  need to be advocates  and establish                                                               
standards  for  persons   performing  radiology  procedures."  We                                                               
should be spokesmen  for the patient. Passage of  this bill would                                                               
ensure quality care and safety for individuals.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson asked whether the  dentistry profession had weighed                                                               
in on this legislation.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hilyard replied  that dentists  consider themselves  covered                                                               
under the Dentist Practices Act.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  further discussion,  Co-Chair Green  stated that                                                               
additional work on this legislation would be necessary.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RECESS TO CALL OF CHAIR 10:44:59 AM / 4:34:02 PM                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Lyda Green adjourned the meeting at 4:34:02 PM.                                                                      

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