Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/15/2017 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Postponed to 1:00 p.m. --
+ SB 4 NON-CHEMICAL BARBERING;HAIR BRAIDING TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Uniform Rule 23 Waived
+ HB 56 COMMERCIAL FISHING LOANS TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Uniform Rule 23 Waived
+ SB 37 PHARMA BD & EMPLOYEES;DRUG DIST/MANUFAC TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Uniform Rule 23 Waived
+ SB 80 TELECOMMUNICATIONS: DISABLED SUBSCRIBERS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 80(L&C) Out of Committee
Uniform Rule 23 Waived
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 23 INS. FOR DEPENDS. OF DECEASED FIRE/POLICE TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 23(FIN) Out of Committee
+= HB 141 AK WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD;FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS HB 141(FIN) Out of Committee
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      April 15, 2017                                                                                            
                         1:01 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:01:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  called  the  Senate  Finance  Committee                                                                    
meeting to order at 1:01 p.m.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Anna MacKinnon, Co-Chair                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop, Vice-Chair                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                          
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Juli  Lucky, Staff,  Senator  Anna  MacKinnon; Senator  John                                                                    
Coghill, Sponsor; Lisa  Weissler, Staff, Representative Andy                                                                    
Josephson;  Sylvan Robb,  Office of  Management and  Budget,                                                                    
Office   of    the   Governor;   Kelly    Howell   Director,                                                                    
Administrative  Services,   Department  of   Public  Safety;                                                                    
Michele   Michaud,  Chief   Health  Official,   Division  of                                                                    
Retirement and Benefits,  Department of Administration; Greg                                                                    
Cashen Deputy Commissioner, Department  of Labor & Workforce                                                                    
Development;   Paloma   Harbour,   Director,   Division   of                                                                    
Administrative Services,  Department of Labor  and Workforce                                                                    
Development; Mary Aparezuk  Schlosser, Staff, Representative                                                                    
Zach   Fansler;  Senator   Mia  Costello,   Sponsor;  Sorcha                                                                    
Hazelton, Staff, Senator Mia Costello.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Norman  Rokeberg,  Commissioner,  Regulatory  Commission  of                                                                    
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 80     TELECOMMUNICATIONS: DISABLED SUBSCRIBERS                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          CSSB 80(L&C)  was REPORTED  out of  committee with                                                                    
          "no recommendation" and  with previously published                                                                    
          zero fiscal note: FN 1(CED).                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CSHB 23(FIN)                                                                                                                    
         INS. FOR DEPENDS. OF DECEASED FIRE/POLICE                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          SCS  CSHB 23(FIN)  was REPORTED  out of  committee                                                                    
          with  a "do  pass" recommendation  and with  a new                                                                    
          zero   fiscal   note   from  the   Department   of                                                                    
          Administration,  a   new  fiscal  note   from  the                                                                    
          Governor's  Office,  and  a  previously  published                                                                    
          zero fiscal note: FN 2(DPS).                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 141    AK WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD;FUNDS                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
          SCS CSHB  141(FIN) was  REPORTED out  of committee                                                                    
          with  a "do  pass" recommendation  and with  three                                                                    
          new fiscal notes from the  Department of Labor and                                                                    
          Workforce  Development, one  new fiscal  note from                                                                    
          the    Department   of    Education   and    Early                                                                    
          Development,  and one  new  fiscal  note from  the                                                                    
          University of Alaska.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 23(FIN) am                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act  creating a  fund in  the Department  of Public                                                                    
     Safety;  providing  for   payment  of  certain  medical                                                                    
     insurance premiums for  surviving dependents of certain                                                                    
     peace officers or  firefighters who die in  the line of                                                                    
     duty;  relating to  contributions  from permanent  fund                                                                    
     dividends   to  the   peace  officer   and  firefighter                                                                    
     survivors' fund; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:02:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bishop MOVED to ADOPT the proposed committee                                                                         
substitute for CSHB 23(FIN)am, Work Draft 30-LS0258\N                                                                           
(Wayne, 4/14/17).                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon OBJECTED for DISCUSSION.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:03:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULI LUCKY, STAFF, SENATOR ANNA MACKINNON, looked at the                                                                        
"Overview" (copy on file):                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Overview:   SCS HB 23  (FIN) creates the  peace officer                                                                    
     and   firefighter  survivors'   fund  to   pay  medical                                                                    
     insurance   premiums  to   continue  health   insurance                                                                    
     coverage for an eligible  surviving spouse or dependent                                                                    
     child of a  peace officer or firefighter  killed in the                                                                    
     line  of duty.   The  benefit  is only  available to  a                                                                    
     surviving dependent of  a permanent, full-time employee                                                                    
     who   was   covered   by   employer-sponsored   medical                                                                    
     insurance at the  time of death.   The premium payments                                                                    
     will  allow surviving  dependents  to  remain in  their                                                                    
     current  health plan  and are  paid  to the  applicable                                                                    
     employer medical insurance provider.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The  state is  required to  pay the  benefit for  state                                                                    
     employees; a  municipality may elect to  participate by                                                                    
     entering into  an agreement with  the state to  pay the                                                                    
     cost of the program for  its recipients. By December 1,                                                                    
     the commissioner  of public  safety will  determine the                                                                    
     amount  needed  to  pay  the  premiums  and  associated                                                                    
     administrative costs.  Once appropriated, funds  do not                                                                    
     lapse and can be spent without further appropriation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     A  surviving dependent  is "presumed  eligible" for  60                                                                    
     days  after   the  death  of   the  peace   officer  or                                                                    
     firefighter,  to allow  time for  the dependent  to get                                                                    
     documents together  and apply  for the  benefit. Within                                                                    
     30  days of  the  application,  the commissioner  shall                                                                    
     determine eligibility; which is reconfirmed annually.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Surviving spouses  are eligible to receive  the benefit                                                                    
     for  10 years,  until eligible  to receive  other major                                                                    
     medical coverage,  or until eligible for  Medicare.  If                                                                    
     a surviving spouse is the  parent of an eligible child,                                                                    
     the spouse  can continue  to receive the  benefit until                                                                    
     the child is no longer eligible.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Except  for  a child  who  is  totally and  permanently                                                                    
     disabled, a surviving child is  eligible to receive the                                                                    
     benefit until  eligible to receive other  major medical                                                                    
     coverage or age 26.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Surviving dependents who become ineligible due to                                                                          
     receiving other major medical coverage can reapply for                                                                     
     benefits if that coverage is lost.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The definition of "peace officer" is identical to the                                                                      
     definition in CS SB 48 (STA).                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The fund is eligible for donations through "Pick,                                                                          
     Click, Give."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Lucky also  looked  at the  "Major Policy  Differences"                                                                    
(copy on  file), which talked about  the differences between                                                                    
the versions of the bills.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon stressed  that she  hoped that  the bill                                                                    
was   a  collaboration   of  efforts   between  the   entire                                                                    
legislature and public.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:09:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOHN  COGHILL, SPONSOR,  remarked that  the ten-year                                                                    
limit was  an important  addition. He  also stated  that the                                                                    
medical  coverage death  benefit  was  appropriate. He  felt                                                                    
that the "sticking point" would  be the municipal opt-in. He                                                                    
encouraged the committee to include that opt-in.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon  wondered whether Senator Coghill  was in                                                                    
opposition to the committee substitute.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Coghill replied that he  would approve the committee                                                                    
substitute.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  queried  comments  from  Representative                                                                    
Josephson's staff.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:11:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA   WEISSLER,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  ANDY   JOSEPHSON,                                                                    
expressed appreciation on  the work on the  bill. She stated                                                                    
that    Representative    Josephson   supported    requiring                                                                    
municipalities to  provide coverage  to their  employees. He                                                                    
supported all the other provisions.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  queried the seriousness of  the opt-in issue.                                                                    
Ms.  Weissler replied  that  Representative Josephson  would                                                                    
discuss the issue with the members of the House.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon  WITHDREW her  OBJECTION. There  being NO                                                                    
further  OBJECTION, the  proposed  committee substitute  was                                                                    
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bishop  MOVED  to ADOPT  Amendment  1  (copy  on                                                                    
file):                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 6:                                                                                                            
     Delete "spouse"                                                                                                            
     Insert "dependent"                                                                                                         
     Page 3, line 7, following "(c)(2)":                                                                                        
     Insert "or (d)(1)"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon OBJECTED for DISCUSSION.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lucky explained the amendment.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon  WITHDREW the  OBJECTION. There  being NO                                                                    
further OBJECTION, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:14:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SYLVAN ROBB, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT  AND BUDGET, OFFICE OF THE                                                                    
GOVERNOR, explained the fiscal note.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  wondered   whether  the  $70,100  would                                                                    
continue through  FY 23 with  an estimated cost  of coverage                                                                    
of $70,100 per year.  Ms. Robb replied in the affirmative.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:17:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KELLY HOWELL  DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE  SERVICES, DEPARTMENT                                                                    
OF PUBLIC SAFETY, explained the fiscal note.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon wondered  whether there  was someone  to                                                                    
discuss the Department of Administration (DOA) fiscal note.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hughes asked whether  the medical insurance premiums                                                                    
would  remain flat.  Ms. Howell  replied  that the  language                                                                    
required  that  the  commissioner determine  the  amount  of                                                                    
funding  available. She  stated  that they  would monitor  a                                                                    
possible increase,  and factor  those costs into  any future                                                                    
budget requests. She stated that  the current amount was the                                                                    
only known amount.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:20:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE   MICHAUD,  CHIEF   HEALTH  OFFICIAL,   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
RETIREMENT  AND  BENEFITS,   DEPARTMENT  OF  ADMINISTRATION,                                                                    
explained that  it was  a zero fiscal  note. There  was only                                                                    
one  change in  the narrative  as related  to the  community                                                                    
opt-in.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:20:50 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:22:58 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:23:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bishop MOVED  to  ADOPT  Conceptual Amendment  2                                                                    
(copy on file):                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     The   intent  ofthis   amendment   is   to  allow   all                                                                    
     dependents,  not  just  a spouse,  the  opportunity  to                                                                    
     reapply for  benefits if they become  ineligible due to                                                                    
     being  eligible for  other insurance  then subsequently                                                                    
     lose that insurance.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 31, following "becomes"                                                                                       
     DELETE "permanently"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon OBJECTED for DISCUSSION.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lucky explained the amendment.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon  WITHDREW her  OBJECTION. There  being NO                                                                    
OBJECTION, it  was so ordered.  here being NO  OBJECTION, it                                                                    
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bishop  MOVED to REPORT  SCS CSHB 23(FIN)  out of                                                                    
committee  with  individual   recommendations  and  attached                                                                    
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Micciche  OBJECTED. He wondered whether  there was a                                                                    
definition of  "dependence" that covered  unborn dependents.                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon replied in  the negative. She stated that                                                                    
the department would include that definition in regulation.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Micciche WITHDREW the OBJECTION.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There  being  NO  further OBJECTION,  the  bill  moved  from                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SCS CSHB  23(FIN) was REPORTED  out of committee with  a "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation  and with a  new zero fiscal  note from                                                                    
the  Department of  Administration, a  new fiscal  note from                                                                    
the  Governor's  Office,  and a  previously  published  zero                                                                    
fiscal note: FN 2(DPS).                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:26:04 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:27:03 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 141                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to allocations of funding for the                                                                         
     Alaska Workforce Investment Board; and providing for                                                                       
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:27:49 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:28:41 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bishop  MOVED  to ADOPT  Amendment  1  (copy  on                                                                    
file):                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1 Section 1 Line 6 Delete [2018]                                                                                      
     Page 1 Section 1 Line 6 Insert 2020                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon OBJECTED for DISCUSSION.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bishop explained the amendment.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:29:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GREG  CASHEN  DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR  &                                                                    
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, introduced himself.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PALOMA   HARBOUR,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION  OF   ADMINISTRATIVE                                                                    
SERVICES,  DEPARTMENT OF  LABOR  AND WORKFORCE  DEVELOPMENT,                                                                    
introduced herself.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon referred to  a letter from the Department                                                                    
of Labor and Workforce  Development (DLWD) addressing issues                                                                    
at the  previous days  committee meeting.  The issue  was of                                                                    
reporting,  and what  was available  for the  legislature to                                                                    
evaluate the  programs that were receiving  benefit from the                                                                    
investment.  She   wanted  assurance  that   the  three-year                                                                    
extension  would   allow  an  accurate  evaluation   of  the                                                                    
programs and  the value of  the investment in  the programs.                                                                    
Ms.  Harbour replied  that the  department had  engaged with                                                                    
the executive  director of  the Alaska  Workforce Investment                                                                    
Board. She  stated that it  was felt that the  program could                                                                    
be evaluated and determine recommendations  of what would be                                                                    
good suggestions on performance measure changes.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hughes supported the amendment.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon  wanted the  information provided  to the                                                                    
Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon  WITHDREW her  OBJECTION. There  being NO                                                                    
OBJECTION, Amendment 1 was ADOPTED.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:32:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY   APAREZUK   SCHLOSSER,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE   ZACH                                                                    
FANSLER,  supported the  three-year  extension. She  thanked                                                                    
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bishop MOVED  to REPORT SCS CSHB  141(FIN) out of                                                                    
committee  with  individual   recommendations  and  attached                                                                    
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon OBJECTED and WITHDREW her OBJECTION.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCS CSHB 141(FIN)  was REPORTED out of committee  with a "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation  and with  three new fiscal  notes from                                                                    
the Department  of Labor and Workforce  Development, one new                                                                    
fiscal  note  from the  Department  of  Education and  Early                                                                    
Development, and one new fiscal  note from the University of                                                                    
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:33:52 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:35:06 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 80                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act relating  to  telecommunications services  for                                                                    
     certain  disabled  subscribers;  and providing  for  an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:35:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MIA COSTELLO,  SPONSOR, explained  the legislation.                                                                    
She stated  that the bill allowed  the Regulatory Commission                                                                    
of Alaska to  assess a surcharge to  provide technology that                                                                    
met 21st  century needs  of the deaf,  hard of  hearing, and                                                                    
speech disabled communities.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:36:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SORCHA HAZELTON, STAFF, SENATOR  MIA COSTELLO, explained the                                                                    
Sectional Analysis.  She stated that the  first section made                                                                    
the  changes  that  allowed the  commission  to  expand  its                                                                    
surcharge  allowance.  She stated  that  Section  2 was  the                                                                    
effective date.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hazelton explained the bill:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Senate  Bill  80  updates   state  statute  to  improve                                                                    
     technology service for Alaska's  deaf, hard of hearing,                                                                    
     and   speech   impaired    community.   The   Committee                                                                    
     Substitute  incorporates  "person  first"  language  to                                                                    
     respectfully   acknowledge   those   individuals   with                                                                    
     disabilities.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     In  the  early  1990s,   the  Legislature  granted  the                                                                    
     Regulatory Commission of Alaska  (RCA) the authority to                                                                    
     require telephone utilities to  serve the deaf, hard of                                                                    
     hearing, and speech impaired  citizens of Alaska. These                                                                    
     policies   allowed  telephonic   communication  between                                                                    
     impacted  Alaskans and  those without  impairment. This                                                                    
     is  accomplished  through  a  telecommunications  relay                                                                    
     service  (TRS)   that  provides   interpretive  service                                                                    
     operators  to   relay  tele-typed,  voice,   or  signed                                                                    
     messages from  one party to another.  The provider also                                                                    
     runs  an equipment  distribution  and outreach  program                                                                    
     allowing access  to public  telephone service  for this                                                                    
     subscriber group.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Currently,  the  program's  scope  and  the  surcharges                                                                    
     which fund it  are limited in statute  to wired devices                                                                    
     like tele-type units (TTY)  and CapTel telephones. This                                                                    
     limitation  is antiquated  given  the  expanded use  of                                                                    
     cell phones and other technology.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     RCA  regulations provide  for cost  recovery through  a                                                                    
     surcharge  which  is  currently  only  applied  to  the                                                                    
     dwindling  number   of  landline  telephones.   With  a                                                                    
     statewide   move   toward  wireless   (mobile/cellular)                                                                    
     phones   and  Voice   over  Internet   Protocol  (VoIP)                                                                    
     technology,  the most  efficient and  effective service                                                                    
     to this subscriber group is  lacking resources from the                                                                    
     diminished wirelines  to which a surcharge  applies. SB
     80  allows the  RCA to  provide equipment  and services                                                                    
     that best serve the communities' needs.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     This bill allows  the RCA to more  equitably assess the                                                                    
     TRS surcharge  to a  growing number  of cell  phone and                                                                    
     VoIP  users,  expand   the  type  of  telecommunication                                                                    
     devices    and   software    available   to    disabled                                                                    
     subscribers,  and   provides  for   a  July   1,  2017,                                                                    
     effective  date  which  correlates with  the  operating                                                                    
     agreement cycle with the current TRS provider.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     SB  80 modernizes  and  enhances  services provided  to                                                                    
     Alaskans  with  disabilities  and  allows  for  greater                                                                    
     independence and an improved quality of life.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Micciche wondered  if there would be  an increase in                                                                    
consumer's bills.  Ms. Hazelton deferred to  the commission.                                                                    
She stated that the surcharge  would be lowered, because the                                                                    
base would expand.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  queried the  effect on  the rural  and remote                                                                    
sites. Senator Costello deferred to Mr. Rokeberg.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:43:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NORMAN  ROKEBERG,  COMMISSIONER,  REGULATORY  COMMISSION  OF                                                                    
ALASKA (via  teleconference), spoke in support  of the bill.                                                                    
He  pointed  out that  the  surcharge  was not  a  universal                                                                    
access  charge,   but  rather  a   telecommunications  relay                                                                    
service surcharge. He stated that  the bill would enable the                                                                    
commission  to   lower  the  surcharge  by   two-thirds.  He                                                                    
announced that  there were currently  over 900,000  lines in                                                                    
Alaska, and only 258,000 were  paying a surcharge. He stated                                                                    
that the  concept was to  more equitably spread  the charge,                                                                    
and lower the cost overall.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson queried  the  expected  average surcharge  as                                                                    
compared to the current  surcharge, especially for those who                                                                    
were  not currently  paying. Mr.  Rokeberg  stated that  the                                                                    
current  level was  nine cents  per wire  line and  eighteen                                                                    
cents per business  multi-line. He felt that  the rate could                                                                    
be  lowered  to  four  to  five  cents  per  line  for  both                                                                    
residential  and  business.  He  explained  that  there  was                                                                    
currently a  two-tiered system,  with residents  paying less                                                                    
than business lines.  He stated that there  was a discussion                                                                    
with the industry,  and it appeared that the  rates could be                                                                    
lowered  by up  to  57 percent.  He  stressed that  cellular                                                                    
customers  would  be  charged  a  fee  that  they  were  not                                                                    
currently paying.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:47:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson surmised  that  the  600,000 individuals  who                                                                    
were  not  currently  paying  the  surcharge  would  see  an                                                                    
increase.  Mr.  Rokeberg  replied  in  the  affirmative.  He                                                                    
stressed that  the mobile  and cellular  users would  see an                                                                    
increase four to five cents per month.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson queried  the number of users  in rural Alaska.                                                                    
Mr. Rokeberg  responded that he  did not know the  number as                                                                    
related  to  geographic   dispersion  between  cellular  and                                                                    
landlines.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  assumed that  some  people  in rural  Alaska                                                                    
would see an increase on their bills. Mr. Rokeberg agreed.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Micciche surmised  that the  user currently  paid 9                                                                    
cents  per  line per  month  at  $1.08  per line  for  wired                                                                    
communications. Mr.  Rokeberg replied that wired  lines were                                                                    
paying 9  cents for residential  and 18 cents  for multiline                                                                    
businesses. The objective  was to lower the  overall cost to                                                                    
4   cents  for   both  residential.   He  stated   that  the                                                                    
approximately 600,000  mobile phone  users would see  a very                                                                    
small increase of 50 cents per year.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:50:58 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:51:21 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bishop addressed the fiscal note.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bishop MOVED to REPORT CSSB 80 (L&C) from                                                                            
committee with individual recommendations and attached                                                                          
fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CSSB 80(L&C) was REPORTED out of committee with "no                                                                             
recommendation" and with previously published zero fiscal                                                                       
note: FN 1(CED).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:53:25 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:53:57 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   MacKinnon   discussed   the   committee   meeting                                                                    
schedule.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
1:54:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 1:54 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 23 SCS HB 23 FIN v. N.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 23
HB 23 SCS HB23 FIN Overview.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 23
HB 141 - DOLWD Response 2017.04.14.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 141
HB 23 Amendment 2 MacKinnon.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 23
HB 23 Amendment 1 MacKinnon.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 23
HB 23 Support Letter Olsen.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 23
HB 23 Support for Municipals Hallett.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 23
HB 23 Public Testimony Dupee.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 23
HB141 - Amendment 1 Bishop, Hoffman, Olson, Micciche, MacKinnon.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 141
SB 80 Support Letter - Statewide Independent Living Council of Alaska.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
SB 80
HB 23 Major Policy Differences.pdf SFIN 4/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 23