Legislature(2011 - 2012)SENATE FINANCE 532

01/20/2012 09:00 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 51 STATE VENDING LICENSES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 53 COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 103 WORKERS' COMPENSATION FOR FIREFIGHTERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 68 COMMERCIAL FISHING & AGRICULTURE BANK TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 30 RETURN OF SEIZED PROPERTY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     January 20, 2012                                                                                           
                         9:01 a.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:01:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman   called  the  Senate   Finance  Committee                                                                    
meeting to order at 9:01 a.m.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Lesil McGuire, Vice-Chair                                                                                               
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bettye  Davis;  Thomas  Obermeyer,  Staff,  Senator                                                                    
Bettye  Davis;  Katya   Wassillie,  Intern,  Senator  Bettye                                                                    
Davis; Celeste  Hodge, Staff, Senator Bettye  Davis; Barbara                                                                    
Belknap,  Juneau;   Marie  Darlin,  Alaska   Association  of                                                                    
Retired  Persons;  Caren  Robinson,  Alaska  Women's  Lobby;                                                                    
Senator Hollis  French; Cindy  Smith, Staff,  Senator Hollis                                                                    
French;  Senator  John  Coghill; Lela  Klingert,  President,                                                                    
Alaska  Commercial  Fishing  and Agriculture  Bank;  Senator                                                                    
Fred Dyson; Chuck Kopp, Staff, Senator Fred Dyson.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Lynne Koral, Alaska Independent  Blind; James Swartz, Alaska                                                                    
Independent Blind; Rose Stokes,  Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority;                                                                    
Jane Angvik,  Girls Scouts of  Alaska; Doris  Robbins, Self;                                                                    
Tami  Jerue,   Alaska  Native  Women's   Coalition;  Rosalie                                                                    
Nadeau,  Self;  Garen  Tarr,  Anchorage  Women's  Coalition;                                                                    
Ouida Morrison,  Anchorage; Arliss  Sturgulewski, Anchorage;                                                                    
Doug Schrage,  University of Alaska Fairbanks;  Tom Wescott,                                                                    
Director, Alaska  Professional Firefighters;  Victor Kestor,                                                                    
Alaska Office of Victims' Rights.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 30     RETURN OF SEIZED PROPERTY                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          SB 30 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 51     STATE VENDING LICENSES                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          SB 51 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 53     COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          SB 53 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 68     COMMERCIAL FISHING & AGRICULTURE BANK                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          SB 68 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 103    WORKERS' COMPENSATION FOR FIREFIGHTERS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          SB 103 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 51                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the operation of vending                                                                               
     facilities on public property."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:02:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BETTYE  DAVIS,   introduced  Thomas  Obermeyer  and                                                                    
thanked the committee for the opportunity.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS OBERMEYER, STAFF, SENATOR  BETTYE DAVIS, explained SB                                                                    
51. He referred to the  Sponsor Statement (copy on file). He                                                                    
explained that  SB 51 would  restore to blind  persons first                                                                    
priority for  a contract  to operate  a vending  facility on                                                                    
state and other  public property. This bill  would amend the                                                                    
Alaska  Chance  Act  of  1976  to  require  that  the  State                                                                    
Division  of Vocational  Rehabilitation Business  Enterprise                                                                    
Program  provide the  same first  priority to  the blind  on                                                                    
state  and  other  public  property as  it  did  on  federal                                                                    
property enforced  under the Randolph-Sheppard Act  of 1936.                                                                    
The  Alaska Chance  Act for  the first  time added  disabled                                                                    
persons in addition  to the blind in  preference for vending                                                                    
licenses on  public facilities. This loss  of first priority                                                                    
and expansion  of beneficiaries had thwarted  the spirit and                                                                    
letter of the Randolph-Sheppard  Act. The resulting decrease                                                                    
in  vending  opportunities  for blind  merchants  in  Alaska                                                                    
exacerbated their already  extraordinarily high unemployment                                                                    
rates among  all types  and severities  of the  disabled and                                                                    
the population in general.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Obermeyer  stated that SB  51 recognized that  the blind                                                                    
were  dissimilarly  situated   compared  to  other  disabled                                                                    
persons who  did not  suffer the  same degree  of impairment                                                                    
and unemployment  as an economic matter.  Although the state                                                                    
had combined management and  training opportunities for both                                                                    
the  blind and  other  persons with  disabilities under  one                                                                    
Business Enterprise  Program of  the Division  of Vocational                                                                    
Rehabilitation, this  bill would  require that it  must give                                                                    
first priority to the blind  for vending contracts on state,                                                                    
federal or other public property.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Obermeyer  reported  that  SB  51  would  comport  with                                                                    
original legislative  intent and  would give  first priority                                                                    
to the blind imposed under  AS 23.15.100 prior to changes in                                                                    
1974  and 2006  which  added persons  with disabilities  and                                                                    
severe  disabilities who  had  currently  competed with  the                                                                    
blind  for   licenses  on   vending  facilities   on  public                                                                    
property.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Obermeyer  explained that blind individuals  who receive                                                                    
Randolph-Sheppard  contracts  acted  as  managers  of  large                                                                    
vending  or cafeteria  facilities, subcontracting  with food                                                                    
service  organizations  to   provide  meals  and/or  vending                                                                    
services on  a day  to day  basis. They  could independently                                                                    
operate lobby  concession stands, or vending  machine banks.                                                                    
In October,  2009 Alaska's  Business Enterprise  Program had                                                                    
only  six  sites  operating   in  federal  facilities  under                                                                    
Randolph-Sheppard,   and  six   sites  operating   in  state                                                                    
facilities under the Chance Act.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olsen wondered how many  people would be affected by                                                                    
SB  51.  Mr.  Obermeyer  replied  that he  was  told  by  an                                                                    
Anchorage  resident  that  there were  approximately  12,000                                                                    
blind people in Alaska.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson referred  to  a  legislative research  report                                                                    
that found that the  United States Department of Education's                                                                    
Rehabilitation Services Randolph-Sheppard  Act programs were                                                                    
often  labeled  as  business enterprises.  He  wondered  why                                                                    
Wyoming was  the only  state that  was not  participating in                                                                    
the programs.  Mr. Obermeyer  did not  know why  Wyoming was                                                                    
considered an exception.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:07:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman noted  there was  a new  zero fiscal  note                                                                    
from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
LYNNE KORAL, ALASKA  INDEPENDENT BLIND (via teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in  support of SB 51.  She pointed out that  there was                                                                    
low unemployment for people  with disabilities. She stressed                                                                    
that blind people were subject  to learned helplessness, and                                                                    
did  not have  many decision-making  models. The  blind were                                                                    
subject to the butt of jokes  and are often considered to be                                                                    
the  "worthy poor."  In 1936  the Randolph-Sheppard  Act was                                                                    
initiated to address under-employment among the blind.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JAMES    SWARTZ,     ALASKA    INDEPENDENT     BLIND    (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke in support of SB 51.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  asked if there  were any  further comments                                                                    
from the bill sponsor.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Tom  Obermeyer commented  that there  were  only two  states                                                                    
that  included the  disabled in  the Randolph-Sheppard  Act:                                                                    
Georgia and Alaska. He felt  that the original intent of the                                                                    
Act was  to include  the severely  disabled for  those blind                                                                    
people  in Alaska  who were  impaired,  but considered  only                                                                    
partially blind.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB  51  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   Committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:17:00 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:17:08 AM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 53                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act reestablishing the Alaska Commission on the                                                                        
     Status of Women; and relating to the purpose and                                                                           
     powers of the Alaska Human Relations Commission."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:17:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATYA  WASSILLIE, INTERN,  SENATOR BETTYE  DAVIS, introduced                                                                    
herself.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CELESTE HODGE,  STAFF, SENATOR  BETTYE DAVIS,  explained the                                                                    
intent  of SB  53,  and referred  to  the Sponsor  Statement                                                                    
(copy on  file). She  stated that  SB 53  would re-establish                                                                    
the Alaska  Commission on  the Status  of Women.  The Alaska                                                                    
Legislature established the Alaska  Commission on the Status                                                                    
of   Women  in   1978.  The   Commission  was   tasked  with                                                                    
implementing   the   recommendations    contained   in   the                                                                    
preliminary  study on  the status  of women.  The Commission                                                                    
aimed  to  improve the  status  of  women  in the  state  by                                                                    
conducting  research,  serving  as a  referral  service  for                                                                    
information and  education on existing resources  for women,                                                                    
and   making  and   implementing   recommendations  on   the                                                                    
opportunities, needs,  problems, and contributions  of women                                                                    
in Alaska.  The Commission was dedicated  to the achievement                                                                    
of  equal  legal,  economic,  social  and  political  status                                                                    
specifically  for  women  in  Alaska  and  was  a  statewide                                                                    
network  for study  and action  on a  variety of  issues. In                                                                    
1983,  the Commission  was renewed  and  renamed the  Alaska                                                                    
Women's Commission.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hodge  stated that the Commission  conducted many public                                                                    
hearings  and  trainings,   developed  manuals  on  violence                                                                    
against women, education and  welfare, conducted research to                                                                    
help women  avail themselves of  existing resources  to meet                                                                    
their   needs  and   implemented   recommendations  on   the                                                                    
opportunities,  needs, problems  and contributions  of women                                                                    
in  the  areas of  education,  homemaking,  civil and  legal                                                                    
rights, and  labor and employment. The  Commission developed                                                                    
a comprehensive statewide plan that  identified the needs of                                                                    
children and  youth and made recommendations  to enhance the                                                                    
quality of life for women  and children, as well as produced                                                                    
annual  reports  on the  status  of  women and  children  in                                                                    
Alaska.    The Alaska  Women's  Commission  merged with  the                                                                    
Alaska Human Relations Commission  in 1993. The Alaska Human                                                                    
Relations Commission was declared inactive in 1996.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hodge  declared that in  the several decades  prior, the                                                                    
participation  and  roles  of women  in  the  workforce  had                                                                    
changed  dramatically. Women  were employed  in more  varied                                                                    
occupations  and were  more likely  to work  year-round than                                                                    
they  had in  the past.    In addition,  women had  attained                                                                    
higher  levels of  education, and  received the  majority of                                                                    
bachelor  degrees granted.  More  mothers were  part of  the                                                                    
workforce,  and  thus,  a  women's  contribution  to  family                                                                    
incomes had  increased and was often  critical for families'                                                                    
economic well-being.  In 2008, working wives  contributed 29                                                                    
percent of  their families' incomes,  up from 24  percent in                                                                    
1988.   Nonetheless, even though  more women  were currently                                                                    
in the workforce  than ever before, the  difference in wages                                                                    
men and women received  for their work remained substantial.                                                                    
The gender wage  gap persisted in Alaska, and  across a wide                                                                    
spectrum of occupations and industries.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hodge  stated that  women and  children continued  to be                                                                    
the most common  victims of domestic abuse.  Women in Alaska                                                                    
lead the nation as victims  of sexual assaults. Alaska had a                                                                    
struggling  foster child  system  and  Alaska's high  school                                                                    
students,  both  male  and  female,  were  dropping  out  at                                                                    
alarming rates. Alaska had one  of the lowest percentages of                                                                    
students entering  and completing higher  education programs                                                                    
and  Alaska had  a significant  economic divide  between our                                                                    
urban and  rural communities, which negatively  impacted all                                                                    
of the state.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Hodge furthered  that Alaska  with its  unique culture,                                                                    
history  and challenges,  combined with  its large  size and                                                                    
small population, called for  innovative forward thinking to                                                                    
deal with many of the  difficult issues that faced women and                                                                    
children  throughout   Alaska.  Reestablishing   the  Alaska                                                                    
Commission on  the Status of  Women would allow  Alaskans to                                                                    
focus attention  on the critical issues  that had negatively                                                                    
impacted women and children.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman queried  some of the highlights  of the old                                                                    
program before  it was abolished.  Ms. Hodge  responded that                                                                    
there  were  many  major  accomplishments  such  as  various                                                                    
events, conference  sponsorships to address suicide,  and it                                                                    
dealt with many educational  issues. Senator Davis furthered                                                                    
that some  of the testifiers  would be able to  address more                                                                    
topics,  because  they had  served  on  the Commission.  She                                                                    
pointed  out that  the Commission  was abolished  because it                                                                    
was  combined with  another Commission  that never  received                                                                    
the necessary  funding. She stressed  that there  had always                                                                    
been a need for the Commission on the Status of Women.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:22:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman pointed  out a  new fiscal  note from  the                                                                    
Governor's Office  that showed the cost  to re-establish the                                                                    
Commission  was $515,400  in General  Funds for  travel, per                                                                    
diem, and a three-person staff.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ROSE    STOKES,   ALPHA    KAPPA    ALPHA   SORORITY    (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke in favor of SB 53.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JANE ANGVIK,  GIRLS SCOUTS  OF ALASKA  (via teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in favor of SB 53.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DORIS ROBBINS, SELF (via teleconference),  spoke in favor of                                                                    
SB 53.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:28:49 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:30:15 AM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:30:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMI   JERUE,   ALASKA    NATIVE   WOMANS   COALITION   (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke in favor of SB 53.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ROSALIE NADEAU,  SELF (via  teleconference), spoke  in favor                                                                    
of SB  53. She  noted the excessive  rate of  alcoholism and                                                                    
its negative effects on woman.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
GAREN TARR, ACHORAGE  WOMENS COALITION (via teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in favor of SB 53.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:36:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA  BELKNAP,  JUNEAU, spoke  in  favor  of SB  53.  She                                                                    
remembered  when  the  Alaska Women's  Commission  shut  its                                                                    
doors  during  Governor  Hickel's  administration.  Governor                                                                    
Hickel replaced it with the  Alaska Family Commission. A few                                                                    
months later, in March 1996,  there was a women's conference                                                                    
in Centennial  Hall and hundreds  of women came  from around                                                                    
the  state.  Governor  Parnell had  made  reducing  violence                                                                    
against Alaskan  women one  of his  top priorities  with the                                                                    
Choose  Respect  Campaign.  She  pointed  out  that  it  was                                                                    
against federal law  to pay a woman less than  a man for the                                                                    
same job,  but women  all over Alaska  made less  money than                                                                    
men in  the same jobs.  She hoped that military  service was                                                                    
the  exception, but  was unsure  if that  was the  case. She                                                                    
noted that  the Juneau  Economic Development  Council's 2011                                                                    
report on Juneau and Southeast  Economic Indicators laid out                                                                    
the  wage  disparity  in  every  civilian  field  and  every                                                                    
education  level. The  report  stated  that nationally,  men                                                                    
earned  29 percent  more than  their female  counterparts in                                                                    
2009. In  Alaska, men earned  37 percent more  for full-time                                                                    
year-round  employment. In  Juneau,  men  earned 42  percent                                                                    
more than their female counterparts.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Belknap stressed that too  many women earn less than men                                                                    
for the  same jobs  in Alaska, which  was illegal.  She also                                                                    
emphasized that  Alaska led the  country in violence  by men                                                                    
against women.  The cost of  living in Alaska was  high, and                                                                    
low income women could get  stuck in dangerous relationships                                                                    
because they  might not  afford to  take care  of themselves                                                                    
and their children.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:44:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARIE  DARLIN,   ALASKA  ASSOCIATION  OF   RETIRED  PERSONS,                                                                    
testified in support  of SB 53. She referred to  a letter of                                                                    
support  from  the  Alaska Association  of  Retired  Persons                                                                    
(copy on file). She agreed with Ms. Belknap's testimony                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CAREN  ROBINSON,  ALASKA  WOMEN'S  LOBBY,  spoke  in  strong                                                                    
support of SB 53.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ellis  Queried whether  the re-establishment  of the                                                                    
Commission could  be a complement  to the  governor's Choose                                                                    
Respect Campaign.  Ms. Robinson  responded that  the Council                                                                    
on Domestic  Violence would be  part of the team,  and would                                                                    
be a complement the Commission.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:50:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator McGuire asked about page  1 of the bill. She noticed                                                                    
that  the Commission  would consist  of two  members of  the                                                                    
executive branch and seven public  members. She noticed that                                                                    
only one public member would  be a person that manages their                                                                    
own household that included a  spouse and at least one child                                                                    
and who  is not  otherwise employed.  She remarked  that the                                                                    
data included  in the bill  highlighted that women  who were                                                                    
unmarried  heads-of-household lived  at  22.6 percent  below                                                                    
poverty  level. She  wondered  why the  bill  did not  state                                                                    
specifically  that there  should be  one of  those types  of                                                                    
women  on the  commission. Ms.  Robinson responded  that she                                                                    
would  consider   that  addition  to  the   Commission.  She                                                                    
stressed  that  the  importance of  representing  those  who                                                                    
needed to  be served. She  added that the  number Commission                                                                    
members be kept to a minimum.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
OUIDA  MORRISON, ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
favor  of SB  53. She  noted  that diversity  in Alaska  had                                                                    
changed since the  1980's, and it was  important for current                                                                    
issues to be addressed.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:55:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ARLISS   STURGULEWSKI,   ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in favor of SB 53.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman closed the public  testimony portion of the                                                                    
SB 53.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Davis  stressed that  SB 53  was important,  and was                                                                    
willing to  work with  the Committee  to address  changes to                                                                    
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman noted  that the  meeting locations  of the                                                                    
Commission  were too  generic, and  requested more  specific                                                                    
language regarding the meeting places.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:00:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  McGuire remarked  that memberships  were referenced                                                                    
twice in bill, and she noticed  that there was only one area                                                                    
of a specific appointment: at  least one public member would                                                                    
essentially be  a "housewife." She wondered  why that person                                                                    
is specific,  when the  data showed that  the area  with the                                                                    
most concern was a  "female head-of-household." She stressed                                                                    
the importance  of including  a female  head-of-household in                                                                    
the Commission.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SB  53  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   Committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:03:16 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:04:02 AM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 103                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act amending the medical examination requirements                                                                      
     for firefighters entitled to a presumption of                                                                              
     compensability for a disability resulting from certain                                                                     
     diseases."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:04:08 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH, introduced SB  103. He stated that in                                                                    
2003,  the Alaska  Legislature passed  statutory changes  to                                                                    
the  Workers' Compensation  program to  provide firefighters                                                                    
with the presumption of  compensability for certain diseases                                                                    
that were  documented to occur  as a result  of occupational                                                                    
exposures  to  smoke and  chemicals  in  the performance  of                                                                    
their  duties. It  was the  intent of  the legislature  that                                                                    
this  benefit be  available to  firefighters who  had served                                                                    
for seven years  and who had received  any required physical                                                                    
examinations  during  that  seven year  period.  However,  a                                                                    
wording change  made by one committee  had the unanticipated                                                                    
effect of  narrowing the scope of  covered firefighters only                                                                    
to those  who had had an  initial physical exam at  the time                                                                    
of  hire. This  effect  was not  intentional  and was  never                                                                    
discussed in that committee or  in any following committees.                                                                    
Instead, it  became an issue when  the Workers' Compensation                                                                    
Board established program regulations.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator French  stated that in recognizing  the problem, the                                                                    
Workers' Compensation  Board passed a  resolution supporting                                                                    
an  amendment  to  the  law to  allow  any  firefighter  who                                                                    
entered  active  service  as  a  firefighter  prior  to  the                                                                    
effective   date  of   AS  23.30.121   the  presumption   of                                                                    
compensability if  during the years prior  to enactment, the                                                                    
firefighter  received all  required  examinations and  those                                                                    
examinations did  not show evidence  of the diseases  in the                                                                    
first seven years of employment.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator French pointed  out that the second  change the bill                                                                    
would  make would  be to  clarify  that the  law applied  to                                                                    
state as well as municipal firefighting agencies.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman stated  that there  were three  new fiscal                                                                    
notes   from  the   Department   of   Labor  and   Workforce                                                                    
Development, Administration, and the University of Alaska.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DOUG   SCHRAGE,   UNIVERSITY   OF  ALASKA   FAIRBANKS   (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke in  favor SB 103. He said  it was not                                                                    
clear if  the student  firefighter would  be covered  in the                                                                    
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TOM  WESCOTT,  DIRECTOR,  ALASKA  PROFESSIONAL  FIREFIGHTERS                                                                    
(via teleconference), spoke in favor of SB 103.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas wondered  if there was a  regular sequence of                                                                    
tests that  were administered to firefighters,  based on the                                                                    
high  risk  of  cancer  and  respiratory  problems.  Senator                                                                    
French  responded  that   firefighters  were  given  regular                                                                    
medical exams, but  noted that the bill  only included full-                                                                    
time  firefighters. He  stressed  that  if the  firefighters                                                                    
attended the exams that were  offered to them, they would be                                                                    
given the presumption.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  queried the  cost to  individual communities.                                                                    
Senator French  responded that the  bill attempted  to cover                                                                    
any costs incurred to communities.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson asked if  emergency medical technicians (emts)                                                                    
would  be  covered  as well.  CINDY  SMITH,  STAFF,  SENATOR                                                                    
HOLLIS  FRENCH, responded  that the  emts were  dropped from                                                                    
the original bill in 2008.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Egan asked  if  emts who  step  in as  firefighters                                                                    
would be  covered. Senator French felt  that the delineation                                                                    
would fall to the  municipalities when determining who would                                                                    
be considered a fulltime firefighter.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:18:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  requested information  regarding potential                                                                    
impacts to the municipalities.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SB  103  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  Committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 68                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the examinations, board, loans,                                                                        
     records, and lobbying contracts of the Alaska                                                                              
     Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank; and providing                                                                     
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:19:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOHN  COGHILL, introduced  SB 68. He  explained that                                                                    
SB   68  would   strengthen  the   Commercial  Fishing   and                                                                    
Agriculture  Bank (CFAB)  and its  ability to  serve member-                                                                    
owners. The CFAB  was created by the  legislature to fulfill                                                                    
a  need for  financing the  agricultural and  fishing permit                                                                    
industries.  The bill  would remove  dollar limitations  for                                                                    
co-op members  seeking loans for  tourism-related activities                                                                    
and the  development or  exploitation of  natural resources.                                                                    
He stated  that SB 68  would also  allow CFAB to  make loans                                                                    
for capital investment or operating capital to a shore-                                                                         
based   fish   processor,   a  timber   processor,   or   an                                                                    
agricultural processor or  harvester with facilities located                                                                    
in  Alaska.  He  furthered  that SB  68  would  extend  this                                                                    
allowance to tourism-related  activities and the development                                                                    
or  exploitation   of  natural  resources  as   outlined  in                                                                    
subsections  15  and 16  of  the  bill.  He noted  that  the                                                                    
legislature supplied  $32 million in  seed money to  CFAB to                                                                    
kick start  it he cooperative  and since the coop  was using                                                                    
dollars borrowed from the general  fund, CFAB was prohibited                                                                    
by law from  hiring a lobbyist because it was  thought of as                                                                    
a  quasi-governmental entity  until  it had  paid the  state                                                                    
back the full amount of  the loan with interest. He informed                                                                    
the committee  that CFAB had  fulfilled that  obligation and                                                                    
was  an  independent business,  so  there  was not  need  to                                                                    
prohibit them from  having a lobbyist. He  explained that SB                                                                    
68 required CFAB's  financial records to be  examined by the                                                                    
Department  of  Commerce  Division of  Banking  at  36-month                                                                    
intervals and required  CFAB to reimburse the  state for the                                                                    
cost of the audit.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:23:40 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Coghill reviewed  the Sectional  Analysis (copy  on                                                                    
file).   He  stated   that  Section   1  would   remove  the                                                                    
requirement  that  one  member  of the  CFAB  board  of  the                                                                    
directors  be a  resident farmer.  He noted  that there  had                                                                    
been  some contention  around the  removal  of the  resident                                                                    
farmer, because some  people prefer the farm  seat. He noted                                                                    
that the  removal did not  preclude the board from  having a                                                                    
resident  farmer,  but  it   was  occasionally  a  difficult                                                                    
position to  fill. He  explained that  Section 2  dealt with                                                                    
sixteen subsections  under the  lending powers of  the bank.                                                                    
He  noted that  Section  2  subsections 5,  6,  and 7  would                                                                    
remove  the dollar  limitations. He  remarked that  in 2002,                                                                    
the  legislature  added the  limitations,  but  there was  a                                                                    
change to  CFAB's authority. Removing the  limitations would                                                                    
allow CFAB  to play a  bigger role in industry.  He reminded                                                                    
the  committee that  CFAB  was  a private,  membership-owner                                                                    
based organization.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:29:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He  explained that  Section 2  subsection 8  would clarified                                                                    
that a person who received  a loan for capital investment or                                                                    
operating capital to a shore-based  fish processor, a timber                                                                    
processor, or  an agricultural processor or  harvester, must                                                                    
meet  all requirements  except  for  residency and  resident                                                                    
ownership   of  company.   He  furthered   that  Section   2                                                                    
subsection  10  would add  new  loans  to non-residents  for                                                                    
capital investment  or operating capital to  operate tourism                                                                    
activities   under  subsection   15   and  development   and                                                                    
exploitation of  natural resources  under subsection  16, to                                                                    
loans secured by liens subordinate  to valid first liens and                                                                    
security agreements granted to another creditor.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Coghill  stated that Section  2 subsection  12 would                                                                    
add  new loans  to non-residents  for capital  investment or                                                                    
operating   capital  to   an  operator   of  tourism-related                                                                    
activities and  facilities dedicated  to the  development or                                                                    
exploitation of  natural resources,  to provisions  for CFAB                                                                    
to participate  with another bank without  the obligor being                                                                    
a member of CFAB. He  furthered that Section 2 subsection 13                                                                    
would allow  CFAB to purchase  or participate in  loans from                                                                    
other lenders for  loans to non-residents whether  or not an                                                                    
obligor is  a member of  the bank.  He noted that  Section 2                                                                    
subsections 15 and  16 would add new  subsections related to                                                                    
non-residents to receive loans.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Coghill pointed  out that  Section 3  would add  an                                                                    
audit  by Department  of Commerce,  Community, and  Economic                                                                    
Development,  Division  of  Banking and  Securities,  as  an                                                                    
exception  to   the  confidentiality  provision   of  CFAB's                                                                    
financial record. He noted that  Sections 4 and 5 related to                                                                    
adding  new  statutes. He  explained  that  Section 6  would                                                                    
repeal the definition of "resident  farmer" and would repeal                                                                    
the prohibition  of CFAB having  a lobbyist. He  stated that                                                                    
Section  7 would  establish a  section prohibiting  any bank                                                                    
examination until one year after  the effective date of this                                                                    
act.  He  concluded  that  Section   8  would  establish  an                                                                    
immediate-effective-date provision to this act.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:31:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman queried  the current  available funds  for                                                                    
loans.  Senator Coghill deferred  to the CFAB ceo, but noted                                                                    
that the bill would expand  the capacity for the loans based                                                                    
on the collateral.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman looked at page 4,  areas 15 and 16 of SB 68                                                                    
and felt "tourism related activities"  was too broad a term.                                                                    
He wondered  what funds were  available for  tourism related                                                                    
activities.  Senator Coghill  did not  know what  funds were                                                                    
available.  He added  that  he was  not  concerned with  the                                                                    
"tourism related  activities", because applicants must  be a                                                                    
member  with collateral,  and maintain  a  brick and  mortar                                                                    
within the state.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  wondered what the  other major  banks thought                                                                    
of  SB 68.  Senator Coghill  did  not know  of any  negative                                                                    
comments from the major banks.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Thomas looked  at page  1,  line 7  and queried  an                                                                    
alternative  to "nine  natural  persons."  He was  concerned                                                                    
with some  of the language  related to the  term "operator."                                                                    
Senator  Coghill agreed  to provide  that  information at  a                                                                    
later date.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman   noted  a  new   fiscal  note   from  the                                                                    
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LELA  KLINGERT,  PRESIDENT,  ALASKA COMMERCIAL  FISHING  AND                                                                    
AGRICULTURE BANK, testified in support of SB 68.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:39:46 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman  asked if the  bill would impact  the funds                                                                    
available to  CFAB. Ms. Klingert  responded that  there were                                                                    
no restrictions on the fund.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas  queried some  of the  language in  the bill,                                                                    
specifically related to  corporations versus natural people.                                                                    
Ms. Klingert responded that she  did not know. She furthered                                                                    
that it was legal terminology.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  requested that  Ms. Klingert to  come back                                                                    
to  the  committee  with   more  information  regarding  the                                                                    
committee members' requests. Senator  Coghill stated that he                                                                    
would make sure the committee received the information.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SB  68  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   Committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 30                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act providing for the release of certain property                                                                      
     in the custody of a law enforcement agency to the                                                                          
     owner under certain conditions."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:45:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRED  DYSON,  stated that  SB  30  would  establish                                                                    
within the Alaska Code of  Criminal Procedure, a process for                                                                    
victims of property  crime to petition the  court for relief                                                                    
in recovering their property held as evidence.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:51:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHUCK KOPP, STAFF, SENATOR FRED  DYSON, stated that the bill                                                                    
allowed the  victim of  property theft  to request  that the                                                                    
agency return  the property through  the Office  of Victims'                                                                    
Rights.  He furthered  that the  Office  of Victims'  Rights                                                                    
would file  a request  with the  agency after  conducting an                                                                    
initial investigation into the  request, to determine if the                                                                    
crime victim  was entitled to  the return of  property under                                                                    
the requirements of whether they  show satisfactory proof of                                                                    
ownership.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  stated that  there  were  two new  fiscal                                                                    
notes: Department  of Public Safety, Alaska  State Troopers;                                                                    
and Department of Law, Criminal Division.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
VICTOR  KESTOR,   ALASKA  OFFICE  OF  VICTIMS   RIGHTS  (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke in strong support of SB 60.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SB  30  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   Committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:57:24 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 10:57 AM.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSSSSB 51(L&C) Explanation of Changes.pdf..pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 America's blind unemployment 70%.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 Docs-Employment Stats for Blind...AFB.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 Docs-Forbes - Blind people in workplace.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 AS 23.15.010-.210 VocRehab.Vending.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 Docs-Leg.Res.Blind Vendor BEP 9-27-2010.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 Docs-Legal Memo -Equal protection 9-2-2010.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 Docs-Lighthouse for the Blind Honored.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 Docs-Unemployment. . .Reasons Dissing Blind.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 Sectional 27-LS0079B 3-18-2011.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 51 Sponsor Statement Rev. 2-9-2011.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 51
SB 53 Background Annual Repor 1990t.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB 53 Sponsor Statement 1.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB 103 Changes Between Versions A and M.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 103 Firefighter presumption - NCCI Analysis.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 103 Worker's Compensation Board Resolution.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 153 Letter of Support.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB103 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 30 - Background Information.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 30
SB 30 - Explanation of Changes.pdf HJUD 2/13/2012 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 30
SB 30 - Letter of Support Alaska Homebuilers.pdf HJUD 2/13/2012 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 30
SB 30 - Letter of Support Nat'l Federation of Indep. Business.pdf HJUD 2/13/2012 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 30
SB 30 - Section Analysis.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 30
SB 30 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 30
SB 103 WCCW Opposition Letter.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 53 Girl Scouts Letter.doc SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB 103 APEI Letter.docx SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 103 FF 1 in AK 2008.pdf SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 53 Opposition Letter-Grimwood.docx SFIN 1/20/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 53