Legislature(2019 - 2020)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/13/2019 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 53 UNIVERSITY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ SB 43 EXTEND BIG GAME COMMERCIAL SERVICES BOARD TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 36 EXTEND BOARD OF NURSING TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 36 Out of Committee
                  SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                       March 13, 2019                                                                                           
                          9:02 a.m.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:02:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  called the  Senate  Finance  Committee                                                                    
meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Natasha von Imhof, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Mike Shower                                                                                                             
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Senator David Wilson                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Cathy Giessel; Sara  Chambers, Director, Division of                                                                    
Corporations,    Business   and    Professional   Licensing,                                                                    
Department of Commerce,  Community and Economic Development;                                                                    
Senator Gary  Stevens, Sponsor;  Tim Lamkin,  Staff, Senator                                                                    
Gary  Stevens;  Kris  Curtis,  Legislative  Auditor,  Alaska                                                                    
Division of  Legislative Audit;  Scott Ogan,  former member,                                                                    
Big Game Commercial Services Board, Juneau.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Paul  Layer,  Vice  President for  Academics  and  Research,                                                                    
University  of Alaska,  Fairbanks; Henry  Tiffany, Chairman;                                                                    
Big Game Commercial Services  Board, Fairbanks; Jason Bunch,                                                                    
Member,  Big Game  Commercial  Services  Board, Kodiak;  Sam                                                                    
Rohrer, President, Alaska  Professional Hunters Association,                                                                    
Kodiak; Mark Richards,  Executive Director, Resident Hunters                                                                    
of Alaska, Fairbanks.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 36     EXTEND BOARD OF NURSING                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          SB 36 was REPORTED out of committee with a "do                                                                        
          pass" recommendation and with one previously                                                                          
          published fiscal impact note: FN1(CED).                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SB 43     EXTEND BIG GAME COMMERCIAL SERVICES BOARD                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          SB 43 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 53     UNIVERSITY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          SB 53 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von  Imhof shared that Senator  Hoffman was excused                                                                    
from committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 36                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of                                                                     
     Nursing; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:03:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von Imhof  relayed that  the  committee had  first                                                                    
heard the bill on March  1, 2019; public testimony was taken                                                                    
during the first hearing.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:04:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARA CHAMBERS, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS, BUSINESS                                                                    
AND   PROFESSIONAL   LICENSING,  DEPARTMENT   OF   COMMERCE,                                                                    
COMMUNITY AND  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,  stated that  there had                                                                    
been several questions from the  committee pertaining to the                                                                    
bill, and  the division  had responded  in writing  (copy on                                                                    
file). She  noted that  the division  had been  working with                                                                    
the  board to  ensure that  the telehealth  regulations were                                                                    
reviewed in  April 2019. The regulation  should be available                                                                    
for public comment  and then would go back to  the board for                                                                    
discussion and adoption.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:05:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilson MOVED  to report SB 36 out  of Committee with                                                                    
individual  recommendations  and   the  accompanying  fiscal                                                                    
note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SB  36  was REPORTED  out  of  committee  with a  "do  pass"                                                                    
recommendation  and  with  one previously  published  fiscal                                                                    
impact note: FN1(CED).                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 53                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the duties of the Board of Regents                                                                     
     of the University of Alaska."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:05:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS,  SPONSOR, thanked  the committee  for                                                                    
hearing the bill.  He pondered how many  college degrees had                                                                    
been  completed by  the committee  members.  He thought  the                                                                    
loss of accreditation  by the University of  Alaska for it's                                                                    
teaching  program  in  Anchorage  was tragic.  He  had  been                                                                    
surprised that  the president and  Board of Regents  had not                                                                    
known  of  the impending  loss  of  accreditation. The  bill                                                                    
would  require   that  the  legislature  to   twice  a  year                                                                    
investigate   the  accreditation   of  the   University.  He                                                                    
lamented that once  accreditation was lost it  could take up                                                                    
to 5  years to gain it  back. He relayed that  there were 65                                                                    
accreditations around  the University.  He said that  it was                                                                    
very important  that the Board  of Regents and  the resident                                                                    
track the accreditation of the University.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:10:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM  LAMKIN,  STAFF,  SENATOR GARY  STEVENS,  discussed  the                                                                    
Sectional Analysis for SB 53 (copy on file):                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von Imhof  asked how  the Board  of Regents  could                                                                    
have   approached  Senator   Stevens  with   the  issue   of                                                                    
accreditation.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Stevens  had not  communicated  with  the Board  of                                                                    
Regents regarding  the issue.  He thought  that the  loss of                                                                    
accreditation  had been  an error  on the  board's part.  He                                                                    
discussed teacher accreditation.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:12:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson asked whether the Universitys accreditation                                                                       
could have been saved if legislation like SB 53 had already                                                                     
existed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stevens replied in the affirmative. He noted that                                                                       
the bill required the Board of Regents to report to the                                                                         
legislature twice a year concerning accreditation.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:13:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lamkin reviewed the      Explanation of Changes: From                                                                       
Version A to Version U (copy on file):                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1 & 2: Conforming Report Recipients                                                                            
     For   consistency   with    other   various   reporting                                                                    
     requirements  of  state  agencies,  both  the  existing                                                                    
     requirement for  reporting on UA teacher  training, and                                                                    
     the  new UA  accreditation  report are  required to  be                                                                    
     submitted to the Legislature  (Senate Secretary / House                                                                  
                            th                                                                                                  
     Chief Clerk)  by the 30   legislative day.  The reports                                                                    
     are subsequently  to be presented  in a  formal hearing                                                                  
     setting to the education committees:                                                                                       
          a. The teachers report remaining biennial                                                                             
          (beginning of each new Legislature)                                                                                   
          b. The accreditation report being submitted                                                                           
          semiannually, twice per year:                                                                                         
               i. By the 30th legislative day (approx. Feb                                                                      
               15); and                                                                                                         
               ii. On or by July 1st                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2: Report Detail                                                                                               
     Language detailing report content  was amended to align                                                                    
     with  common   terms  used   in  academia   as  regards                                                                    
     accreditation, and cross referenced from:                                                                                  
          a. a current report submitted to the Board of                                                                         
        Regents, disaggregating report components;                                                                              
          b. the fiscal note, citing existing Board of                                                                          
          Regents policy (P10.06.010).                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The intent  of the changes  in this section is  to make                                                                    
     this new  reporting requirement fairly align  with what                                                                    
     is  currently   reported  to  the  Board   of  Regents,                                                                    
     broadening  the awareness  of such  reports to  include                                                                    
     the legislature.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Reporting detail  calls for particular emphasis  on any                                                                    
     potential loss of accreditation in the future.                                                                             
9:15:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Micciche wondered  why there was not  a reference to                                                                    
meeting the  requirements for the Council  for Accreditation                                                                    
of Educator Preparation (CAEP).                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Lamkin  stated  that the  bill  was  an  accountability                                                                    
measure. It  was presumed that the  report would necessitate                                                                    
more  scrutiny   of  the  process   and  the   following  of                                                                    
regulation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stevens  reminded the committee  that there  were 65                                                                    
accreditation agencies, and that CAEP  was only one of those                                                                    
agencies. He  did not think  it was easy for  the university                                                                    
to keep  track of  all the  various accreditations  but that                                                                    
they  had a  responsibility  to do  so.  He reiterated  that                                                                    
there  had been  a lack  of attention  that resulted  in the                                                                    
loss of accreditation.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:17:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Micciche   referenced   Section   1,   which   was                                                                    
specifically about  teachers. He  thought that the  bill was                                                                    
important but wondered  what set of standards  would be used                                                                    
to craft the biannual report sent to the legislature.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Stevens  was  not  sure   how  to  address  Senator                                                                    
Micciche's question.  He reiterated that the  review process                                                                    
was complicated.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von  Imhof thought after reading  the accreditation                                                                    
requirements  for  the School  of  Education,  there were  5                                                                    
standards that had to be  met in order to meet accreditation                                                                    
standards. She  suspected that in the  reporting there would                                                                    
be  a  listing  of   each  requirement  needed  to  maintain                                                                    
accreditation,  along   with  a   description  of   how  the                                                                    
University was meeting those requirements.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stevens  did not want  to go overly into  detail. He                                                                    
wanted  the  bill  to  result   in  increased  attention  to                                                                    
accreditation. He did not think  that the bill needed to get                                                                    
into  the minutia,  due to  the  65 different  accreditation                                                                    
agencies.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:21:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  LAYER,  VICE  PRESIDENT FOR  ACADEMICS  AND  RESEARCH,                                                                    
UNIVERSITY  OF   ALASKA,  FAIRBANKS   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support  of  the   bill.  He  said  that  the                                                                    
University  had  the  ability to  reply  with  the  requests                                                                    
outlined  in  the  bill.  He   stated  that  the  University                                                                    
currently  reported   annually  to  the  Board   of  Regents                                                                    
regarding   accreditation.   He   described  the   loss   of                                                                    
accreditation as  an avoidable tragedy. He  noted that there                                                                    
were problems that  the University had not  been unaware but                                                                    
that steps were  being taken for quarterly  reporting to the                                                                    
board and to  the president of the University.  He said that                                                                    
the   different   national   organizations  that   did   the                                                                    
accreditation  had  different  requirements and  methods  of                                                                    
reporting, some  were very specific,  and some did  not want                                                                    
their recommendations made public.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:24:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  understood  that  the  University  was                                                                    
looking  to  get  accreditation   back  for  the  School  of                                                                    
Education at  the University of Alaska  Anchorage (UAA). She                                                                    
asked how long the process was expected to take.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Layer  responded that  an assessment  was being  done to                                                                    
determine whether  the UAA programs should  be reaccredited.                                                                    
He  stated that  the University  was drafting  documentation                                                                    
about the  process and the  board would be meeting  in April                                                                    
2019  to make  a recommendation.  He continued  that UA  was                                                                    
also considering  whether the currently  accredited programs                                                                    
at the  University of Alaska Southeast  (UAS) and University                                                                    
of Alaska Fairbanks  (UAF) could meet the  needs of students                                                                    
in  Anchorage  who  were  pursuing  teaching  accreditation.                                                                    
Moving forward  with reaccreditation  of UAA  programs would                                                                    
take a  couple of  years to compile  the necessary  data and                                                                    
demonstrate proficiency. He said  that the question was what                                                                    
to  do  for students  in  the  meantime who  were  currently                                                                    
enrolled in those programs.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:25:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Shower   had   concerns    about   the   loss   of                                                                    
accreditation.   He  thought   it  was   the  duty   of  the                                                                    
legislature to  investigate the issue. He  asked whether Mr.                                                                    
Layer  thought the  loss of  accreditation would  lead to  a                                                                    
more robust focus on requirements.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Layer thought  the incident would lead to  a more robust                                                                    
analysis   and   feedback   mechanism.  He   lamented   that                                                                    
information and  concerns for the  teaching program  had not                                                                    
been conveyed  up through  the administrative  structure. He                                                                    
thought  there   would  be   more  scrutiny   and  increased                                                                    
transparency as a  result of the process.  He continued that                                                                    
the university  was considering  how the  different programs                                                                    
reported  to   the  board.  He  thought   reporting  to  the                                                                    
legislature would help in the process.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:28:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bishop hoped  that the  University  would take  the                                                                    
lessons learned from the event  and move forward with a plan                                                                    
for it  never to happen  again. He discussed  his experience                                                                    
in the oil and glass  and construction business; where there                                                                    
would be a "stand down"  process after an incident. He hoped                                                                    
that there  would be internal  controls and the  addition of                                                                    
checks  and  balances. He  noted  that  the University  used                                                                    
general fund dollars and should  be making all accreditation                                                                    
information public.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:30:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  asked  whether  Mr.  Layer  wanted  to                                                                    
respond to Senator Bishop's comments.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Layer thought Senator Bishop's  analogy of an industrial                                                                    
accident was apt.  He opined that there had  been checks and                                                                    
balances  in place  but there  had  clearly been  a lack  of                                                                    
oversight. He  assured that committee that  steps were being                                                                    
taken  to  make sure  that  loss  of accreditation  did  not                                                                    
happen again.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:31:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilson  was concerned about  the students  who might                                                                    
be  relocated  from  Anchorage.   He  wondered  whether  the                                                                    
University had considered transferring  student to a private                                                                    
entity in the area.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Layer  affirmed that  UAA had  been working  with Alaska                                                                    
Pacific University (APU), which did  not have the breadth of                                                                    
programs offered by UAA. He  reiterated that APU had limited                                                                    
capacity.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:32:57 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Micciche wondered  how the  report proposed  by the                                                                    
bill was  different than the  status quo, if there  were not                                                                    
guidance  documents that  relayed  standards. He  referenced                                                                    
his background  in engineering. He thought  most often there                                                                    
were multiple  layers of  failure at  work that  resulted in                                                                    
the  loss of  accreditation.  If the  University provided  a                                                                    
report to  the legislature, he  wondered how the  body would                                                                    
have  any reference  to  act  as a  check  against what  the                                                                    
University provided.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Layer stated  that  he  was not  an  expert in  teacher                                                                    
accreditation,   and  had   difficulty  assessing   what  an                                                                    
accreditor might  recommend. He  thought it was  a challenge                                                                    
to  assess  a comment  from  an  accreditor. He  recalled  a                                                                    
report  with  concerns, but  it  was  unclear whether  those                                                                    
concerns were of the caliber that  would result in a loss of                                                                    
accreditation. Most accreditation  reviews had comments, but                                                                    
he found  it difficult  to assess the  severity. He  was not                                                                    
sure how  the legislature  would assess the  report proposed                                                                    
in the  bill. He  relayed that all  the University  could do                                                                    
was  provide the  reports  from  accrediting agencies,  when                                                                    
possible, of quality concerns.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:36:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bishop   commented  that   UAS  and  UAF   had  not                                                                    
experienced problems with accreditation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:36:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Shower  asserted that accountability  was important.                                                                    
He asked  whether anyone had  been held accountable  for the                                                                    
loss of accreditation at UAA.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Layer wanted to clarify  that UAF underwent a successful                                                                    
review  in   the  previous  year,  and   UAS  was  currently                                                                    
undergoing an accreditation review process and self-study.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Layer  thought  accountability  was  a  big  issue  and                                                                    
reminded that  there was  new leadership at  UAA and  in the                                                                    
School of  Education. New reporting would  identify a person                                                                    
as a responsible party for  an accreditation review. The new                                                                    
reporting would require  that a person be  identified as the                                                                    
lead  for the  accreditation  review, those  names would  be                                                                    
associated  with  each  of  the  accreditation  reviews  and                                                                    
responsible parties would be identified.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:39:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof OPENED public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:40:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bishop reviewed FN 1 from University of Alaska, OMB                                                                     
component 1296. He read from the analysis on page 2 of the                                                                      
fiscal note:                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The   University   of   Alaska  estimates   that   this                                                                    
     legislation  would have  no  fiscal  impact on  current                                                                    
     operations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Under current  law, AS 14.40.190, the  Board of Regents                                                                    
     of the University of Alaska  must prepare a report that                                                                    
     provides:                                                                                                                  
          a) the condition  of university property; receipts                                                                    
          and  expenditures; administration  and disposition                                                                    
          of  appropriated and  restricted funds,  including                                                                    
          the  unexpended  balance of  university  receipts;                                                                    
          and on  the educational  and other  work performed                                                                    
          by the university during  the preceding year. This                                                                    
          report is  due annually  at the beginning  of each                                                                    
          regular legislative session.                                                                                          
          b) information  on teacher  preparation, retention                                                                    
          and  recruitment programs  and initiatives  at the                                                                    
          University  of  Alaska.  This   report  is  to  be                                                                    
          entitled   "Alaska's   University   for   Alaska's                                                                    
          Schools" and is due no  later than the 30th day of                                                                    
          the  first  regular  legislative  session.  It  is                                                                    
          sometimes referred to as the  SB 241 Report, after                                                                    
          the   2008  bill   establishing  the   requirement                                                                    
          [Chapter 71, SLA 2008].                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     This   legislation   would   add  a   third   reporting                                                                    
     requirement  by  adding  a new  subsection  (c)  to  AS                                                                    
     14.40.190.  The board  would be  required to  prepare a                                                                    
     biennial report  on the  status of  national, regional,                                                                    
     and  programmatic accreditations  at the  University of                                                                    
     Alaska,  and  describing  the  efforts  being  made  to                                                                    
     maintain  or achieve  those accreditations.  The report                                                                    
     would be  presented to the  House and  Senate Education                                                                    
     Committees  no later  than the  30th day  of the  first                                                                    
     regular legislative session.                                                                                               
9:41:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SB  53  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 43                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act extending the termination  date of the Big Game                                                                    
     Commercial  Services   Board;  and  providing   for  an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:41:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof relayed that  previous discussions on the                                                                    
bill  had  concerned  guides keeping  their  licenses  while                                                                    
under  investigation. She  reminded the  committee that  the                                                                    
division staff,  board members,  and legislators,  could not                                                                    
comment  on any  specific  details on  any issues  currently                                                                    
being  investigated,   or  in  an   administrative  process,                                                                    
including appeals.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:42:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator David  Wilson, Sponsor,  spoke to  SB 43.  He stated                                                                    
that the bill was originally  thought to be simple, but many                                                                    
issues had arisen. He reminded  that the bill only concerned                                                                    
a board extension.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson read  from the  sponsor  statement (copy  on                                                                    
file):                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Senate  Bill 43  extends the  termination date  for the                                                                    
     Big  Game Commercial  Services Board  until June  30th,                                                                    
     2025.  The board  consists of  two licensed  Registered                                                                    
     Guide-Outfitters,   two   licensed  Transporters,   two                                                                    
     private  landholders,  two   public  members,  and  one                                                                    
     member from the Board of Game.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Legislative Audit conducted their  review of this board                                                                    
     and  determined  that  "The audit  concluded  that  the                                                                    
     board  served  the   public's  interest  by  conducting                                                                    
     meetings in  accordance with applicable  laws, amending                                                                    
     regulations  to improve  occupations under  the board's                                                                    
     purview, and  supporting changes  by the  Department of                                                                    
     Law  to  improve  the timeliness  of  the  disciplinary                                                                    
     process.  In accordance  with  AS 08.03.010(c)(9),  the                                                                    
     board is  scheduled to terminate  on June 30,  2019. We                                                                    
     recommend  that  the  legislature  extend  the  board's                                                                    
     termination to June  30, 2025, which is  two years less                                                                    
   than the eight-year maximum allowed for in statute."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  Big  Game  Commercial   Services  Board  plays  an                                                                    
     important   role   in   managing  the   activities   of                                                                    
     commercial game hunters in the  interest of the State's                                                                    
     wildlife resources.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   Thank you for your consideration of this legislation.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilson  noted that Legislative Audit  had made three                                                                    
recommendations for improvement to  the board. He noted that                                                                    
the recommendations were not only  the purview of the board,                                                                    
but   of  the   Division  of   Corporations,  Business   and                                                                    
Professional Licensing. He read  the recommendations on page                                                                    
1  of the  document "A  Sunset Review  of the  Department of                                                                    
Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Big   Game                                                                       
Commercial   Services Board (board)," (copy on file):                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     1.   The  Division   of  Corporations,   Business,  and                                                                    
     Professional   Licensing's   (DCBPL)  director   should                                                                    
     improve  management  oversight   procedures  to  ensure                                                                    
     required  documentation  is   obtained,  reviewed,  and                                                                    
     retained to support licensure.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     2.   DCBPL's   chief   investigator   should   increase                                                                    
     oversight to improve the timeliness of investigations.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     3. The  Office of the Governor,  Boards and Commissions                                                                    
     director  should  work  with   the  board  to  identify                                                                    
     potential applicants in a timely manner.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilson continued that DCBPL  had recognized the need                                                                    
for  additional  supervisory   support  to  provide  quality                                                                    
control. Also, DCBPL had added  supervisors - an addition to                                                                    
examiner's  work in  improving training  and procedures.  In                                                                    
addition,  there  was  a new  chief  investigator,  and  two                                                                    
senior investigators  to provide more quality  assurance. He                                                                    
asserted  that  the  division had  heard  the  message  from                                                                    
Legislative  Audit and  was  working  to hold  investigators                                                                    
accountable for paperwork.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:45:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson directed  attention to  a letter  from Jason                                                                    
Bunch, a member  of the Big Game  Commercial Services Board,                                                                    
(copy on  file) that addressed  open cases. He  relayed that                                                                    
in FY 2015, the board  carried a deficit of approximately $1                                                                    
million, but  would end FY  2018 with a positive  balance of                                                                    
approximately  $100,000.  He  said  that the  board  had  56                                                                    
current open cases, 19 of  which were prepared for review by                                                                    
the  board  in  April  2019.  He said  that  13  cases  were                                                                    
currently  active with  Alaska Wildlife  Troopers, 10  cases                                                                    
were at some level of  litigation, 2 cases were complete and                                                                    
awaiting  action,  12  cases  were  ongoing.  He  said  that                                                                    
investigations  could  be  lengthy  and  consisted  of  many                                                                    
levels  of scrutiny.  He said  that once  DPS closed  a case                                                                    
they would  contact the division with  direction for guides.                                                                    
He noted  that the duties of  the board were outlined  in AS                                                                    
08.54.60.  He mentioned  that the  main  issue stemmed  from                                                                    
imposing disciplinary  sanctions upon licensees.  He thought                                                                    
that perhaps  the issue  could be  addressed in  a different                                                                    
bill and was not addressed in SB 43.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:50:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilson  reviewed the did a  brief sectional analysis                                                                    
of the bill. He said that  Section 1 would extend the sunset                                                                    
date  to  June 30,  2025,  and  Section  2 provided  for  an                                                                    
immediate effective date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:50:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  noted that the  board extension  was proposed                                                                    
for  six  years.  He  wondered   about  the  length  of  the                                                                    
extension and asked whether the  proposed extension had come                                                                    
from the auditor's report.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilson had relied upon  expertise of the Division of                                                                    
Legislative  Audit and  had considered  their recommendation                                                                    
when crafting the bill.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:51:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von  Imhof reminded  that  there  would be  public                                                                    
testimony. She relayed the list of invited testifiers.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:52:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KRIS  CURTIS,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  ALASKA   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
LEGISLATIVE AUDIT,  addressed the document "A  Sunset Review                                                                    
of  the  Department  of Commerce,  Community,  and  Economic                                                                    
Development,  Big Game  Commercial Services  Board (board),"                                                                    
(copy on  file). She  stated that  the audit  concluded that                                                                    
the  board  served  the   public's  interest  by  conducting                                                                    
meetings  in  accordance   with  applicable  laws,  amending                                                                    
regulations  to   improve  occupations  under   the  board's                                                                    
purview, and supporting changes by  the Department of Law to                                                                    
improve   the  timeliness   of  the   disciplinary  process.                                                                    
Additionally,  the board  worked  to eliminate  the over  $1                                                                    
million deficit reported in the prior 2015 sunset audit.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Curtis furthered  that the  audit  also concluded  that                                                                    
board licenses  were not consistently supported  by adequate                                                                    
documentation,   a  high   number   of  investigations   had                                                                    
unjustified   periods  of   inactivity,   and  three   board                                                                    
positions were  vacant for an  extended period.  She relayed                                                                    
that  the division  recommended a  6-year extension  for the                                                                    
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Curtis referenced Page 8 of the audit:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     As of May  31, 2018, there was a total  of 1,219 active                                                                    
     licensees, representing a 20  percent decrease from the                                                                    
     1,532 reported in the 2015  sunset audit.5 According to                                                                    
     the  board chair,  the  decrease is  due,  in part,  to                                                                    
     guides  retiring   and  a   reduced  interest   in  the                                                                    
     profession.  Additionally,  the  chair  reported  there                                                                    
     were   less  transporters   because  many   changed  to                                                                    
     operating   as  air   taxis  to   avoid  the   licensed                                                                    
     transporter reporting requirements and fees.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     As of April 2015,  there were 151 licensed transporters                                                                    
     compared  to  90 as  of  May  2018, representing  a  40                                                                    
     percent  reduction  in   the  number  of  transporters.                                                                    
     Auditors also  noted a large  drop in  assistant guides                                                                    
     and  registered   guide-outfitters.  The   prior  audit                                                                    
     reported  742  and  399 licensees  respectively  as  of                                                                    
     April 2015.  The numbers dropped  to 583 and 322  as of                                                                    
     May 2018.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Curtis  noted the schedule of  revenues and expenditures                                                                    
on Page  10. She  relayed that  the board  had a  surplus of                                                                    
just  over  $132,000  at  the  end of  FY  2018,  which  was                                                                    
significant  because the  board had  been able  to eliminate                                                                    
and over $1 million deficit.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Curtis read the recommendations for improvements found                                                                      
on Page 14:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Recommendation No. 1:                                                                                                    
     DCBPL's  director should  improve management  oversight                                                                  
     procedures   to   ensure  required   documentation   is                                                                  
     obtained, reviewed, and retained to support licensure.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The audit  found that DCBPL staff  did not consistently                                                                    
     license   individuals   according   to   statutes   and                                                                    
     regulations. Fourteen  of 25 new licenses  (56 percent)                                                                    
     tested as  part of  the audit  did not  have sufficient                                                                    
     documentation to support  licensure and four applicants                                                                    
     had  more  than  one deficiency  identified.  Deficient                                                                    
     documentation included:                                                                                                    
          .notdef seven license files were missing   or  had                                                                    
          outdated   background  checks   required  by   law                                                                    
         (public safety or wildlife enforcement);                                                                               
          .notdef two lacked  adequate    investigatory   or                                                                    
          supervisory  review  and   one  lacked  additional                                                                    
          board  approval  of   applicants  potentially  not                                                                    
          meeting    professional    fitness    requirements                                                                    
          required by AS 08.01.075(c) and DCBPL policy;                                                                         
          .notdef one license lacked a board majority vote to                                                                   
          support  licensure  when  an  investigation  of  a                                                                    
          professional fitness  question was  completed. Per                                                                    
          DCBPL  policy, the  application  should have  been                                                                    
          approved by the board;                                                                                                
          .notdef one lacked a valid first aid certification                                                                    
          required by 12 AAC 75.130(a)(3); and,                                                                                 
          .notdef one lacked verification of an out-of-state                                                                    
          license  in  good  standing  required  by  12  AAC                                                                    
          75.130(a)(8).                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     In 2005 the  board delegated to DCBPL  the authority to                                                                    
     review   applications  and   issue  licenses.   Per  AS                                                                    
     08.01.050(a)(3),  (9), and  (14), DCBPL  is responsible                                                                    
     for overseeing  the licensing  activity for  the board.                                                                    
     The  deficiencies  were  caused,   in  part,  by  DCBPL                                                                    
     management's lack  of adequate oversight  procedures to                                                                    
     ensure all  board required documentation  was obtained,                                                                    
     reviewed,   and   retained    to   support   licensure.                                                                    
     Additionally,  seven  of  the 25  new  licensing  files                                                                    
     lacked  complete  application  checklists.  Application                                                                    
     checklists  are  DCBPL's  internal  control  to  ensure                                                                    
     files are  complete and that  all requirements  are met                                                                    
     prior  to  licensure.  According to  DCBPL  management,                                                                    
     there  was turnover  in  the  staff position  providing                                                                    
     support  for   this  board  that  contributed   to  the                                                                    
     deficiencies.  Not licensing  in  accordance with  laws                                                                    
     increases  the risk  to public  safety and  the State's                                                                    
     wildlife resources.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     We  recommend   DCBPL's  director   improve  management                                                                    
     oversight procedures  to ensure  required documentation                                                                    
     is   obtained,  reviewed,   and  retained   to  support                                                                    
     licensure.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:56:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.   Curtis    continued   to   discuss    the   divisions                                                                     
recommendations:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Recommendation No. 2:                                                                                                    
     DCBPL's  chief investigator  should increase  oversight                                                                  
     to improve the timeliness of investigations.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The audit  reviewed 22 of  145 cases open for  over 180                                                                    
     days between July  2015 and May 2018. Twenty  of the 22                                                                    
     cases  were  found  to   have  unjustified  periods  of                                                                    
     inactivity  ranging  from  two  months  to  18  months.                                                                    
     According  to   the  chief  investigator,   periods  of                                                                    
     inactivity were  due, in  part, to  a lack  of adequate                                                                    
     resources  to  investigate  the  large  case  load  and                                                                    
     supervisors not adequately monitoring cases.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Per  AS  08.01.050(a)(19),  DCBPL  is  responsible  for                                                                    
     investigating  and  monitoring  occupational  licensing                                                                    
     activity. Investigations  and complaints that  sit idle                                                                    
     for  extended  periods  increase  the  risk  to  public                                                                    
     safety and the State's wildlife resources.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     We  recommend   DCBPL's  chief   investigator  increase                                                                    
     oversight to improve the timeliness of investigations.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Recommendation No. 3:                                                                                                    
     The  Office of  the  Governor,  Boards and  Commissions                                                                  
     director  should  work  with   the  board  to  identify                                                                  
     potential applicants in a timely manner.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                              
     From   July  2015   through   May   2018,  a   licensed                                                                    
     transporter  board position  and  a private  landholder                                                                    
     board position  were vacant  for six  months due  to an                                                                    
     inability    to    identify   interested    applicants.                                                                    
     Furthermore, one  board position  occupied by  a member                                                                    
     of  the  Board of  Game  was  vacant for  eight  months                                                                    
     because Office of the  Governor, Boards and Commissions                                                                    
     staff  were   not  notified  of  the   vacancy.  As  of                                                                    
     September 2018, all board  positions were filled except                                                                    
     one landholder position.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Per AS 08.54.591, the board  is statutorily required to                                                                    
     consist  of nine  members  covering  specific areas  of                                                                    
     expertise   and  experience   including  two   licensed                                                                    
     transporters  and  two  members who  represent  private                                                                    
     landholders  affected by  guided hunting  activities or                                                                    
     transportation   services.   The   private   landholder                                                                    
     positions  must   not  hold  a  guide   or  transporter                                                                    
     license.  According  to   the  Boards  and  Commissions                                                                    
     staff, the  two licensed  transporters and  two private                                                                    
     landholder positions  have been  difficult to  fill due                                                                    
     to  a limited  pool  of  qualified candidates.  Private                                                                    
     land  affected  by  guided  hunting  or  transportation                                                                    
     activities is often owned  by large private landholders                                                                    
     which   limits  the   pool  of   potential  applicants.                                                                    
     Additionally,  the  number   of  licensed  transporters                                                                    
     decreased  40  percent from  FY  15  to FY  18  further                                                                    
     limiting the pool of potential applicants.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Board vacancies  reduce input from the  specific groups                                                                    
     represented  by  the  vacant positions.  Vacancies  may                                                                    
     also result  in a  lack of quorum  and an  inability to                                                                    
     efficiently conduct board business.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     We recommend  the Boards and Commissions  director work                                                                    
     with the  board to  identify potential applicants  in a                                                                    
     timely manner.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Curtis stated  that response to the audit  began on Page                                                                    
23. She relayed  that the commissioner of  DCCED agreed with                                                                    
recommendations 1 and 2 and  had taken steps to resolve both                                                                    
recommendations. The Office of  the Governor  response could                                                                    
be found on  Page 27; they agreed to work  to fill vacancies                                                                    
in  a timely  manner. She  concluded that  the chair  of the                                                                    
boards  response  was on Page  29. The chair agreed  to work                                                                    
with  the governors   office to  fill vacancies  and assured                                                                    
the division  that at  the time of  the response,  all board                                                                    
seats were filled.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:57:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof solicited questions from the committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:57:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson asked  why the  6-year  extension was  chosen                                                                    
over a shorter sunset timeframe.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Curtis stated  that the  most recent  sunset audit  had                                                                    
been three  years previously, which  was a  short extension.                                                                    
She stated  that due to  the deficit the  recommendation had                                                                    
been for the shorter extension  of 3 years. She related that                                                                    
the board was serving the  public interest but did typically                                                                    
have  issues   with  investigations.  She  noted   that  the                                                                    
licensing  issues  were  new.  She  said  that  rather  than                                                                    
recommending the maximum  extension of 8 years,  6 years had                                                                    
been determined in recognition of the two lingering issues.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:59:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski thought that  there had been continuing                                                                    
problems with  the board. In  2011, the board had  only been                                                                    
extended for  4 years,  and for  3 in  2015. He  thought the                                                                    
issues   had   been   substantial.  He   asked   about   the                                                                    
recommendation  for   the  6-year  extension   and  wondered                                                                    
whether  there this  was because  of  improvements in  board                                                                    
practices.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Curtis  responded  that the  board  had  addressed  the                                                                    
matter   of   hunt  records,   which   were   now  used   by                                                                    
municipalities  in the  assessment of  taxes. She  noted the                                                                    
board  had  addressed  the  deficit   and  stated  that,  in                                                                    
general, the board had improved.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:00:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski asked whether  the board had placed the                                                                    
responsibility of its issues on the DCBPL.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.   Curtis  thought   it  was   a  fair   assessment  with                                                                    
recommendations  1  and  2.  She said  that  the  board  had                                                                    
delegated the responsibility for  issuing licenses to DCBPL,                                                                    
but  the board  was still  accountable for  issues and  were                                                                    
required to provide oversight.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:01:50 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wielechowski  asked  how  to fix  the  problems  of                                                                    
deficiencies at DCBPL.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Curtis stated  that the  Division of  Legislative Audit                                                                    
would  not  be  looking  at   DCBPL  for  another  6  years,                                                                    
regarding   this  board.   She  stressed   that  DCBPL   was                                                                    
investigated every year for sunset  audits for various other                                                                    
boards.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:02:36 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Shower was  concerned about  the continuing  issues                                                                    
with the board. He wondered  whether the extension should be                                                                    
shorter than 6 years. He  asked what mechanism was available                                                                    
to  consider  the  issues  after the  passage  of  a  6-year                                                                    
extension.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Curtis stated  that  consideration  through the  sunset                                                                    
audit process  would not  be available  for six  years after                                                                    
the passage of  the bill, however, a special  audit could be                                                                    
done.  The  legislature  could always  go  directly  to  the                                                                    
department for updated information.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Shower  wondered   whether  special   audits  took                                                                    
additional time and money.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Curtis  stated that  the  performance  audit would  not                                                                    
increase the budget of the division.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof noted that  Ms. Curtis had several audits                                                                    
to  balance and  was only  one layer  in evaluating  various                                                                    
boards.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:05:24 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SARA CHAMBERS, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS, BUSINESS                                                                    
AND   PROFESSIONAL   LICENSING,  DEPARTMENT   OF   COMMERCE,                                                                    
COMMUNITY  AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT,  stated  that she  had                                                                    
been  asked to  provide a  response from  the administration                                                                    
and   focus  on   some  concerns   that  had   been  raised,                                                                    
particularly  regarding  investigations.   She  stated  that                                                                    
DCBPL  oversaw  21  licensing   boards,  and  22  additional                                                                    
professions that  were managed  without a board,  within the                                                                    
division. She  stated that  the division  always appreciated                                                                    
the audit process and agreed  with the audit findings. There                                                                    
had  been  significant  turnover  in  the  single  licensing                                                                    
position for  the program,  as well  as the  supervisor that                                                                    
oversaw the program. she relayed  that the audit, as well as                                                                    
other audits  of other boards, had  shared similar concerns;                                                                    
it was a matter of  balancing keeping government lean, while                                                                    
being able to  do mandated work. Since she  was appointed as                                                                    
director, she  felt accountable for her  staff responding to                                                                    
audit concerns.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Chambers thought  Senator Wilson  had provided  a great                                                                    
overview of  some of the  concerns about  investigations and                                                                    
the  governor had  recently authorized  Administrative Order                                                                    
306, which  provides for the consolidation  of investigative                                                                    
activities and personnel in the  Department of Law during FY                                                                    
2020. She shared that the  division would be partnering with                                                                    
other  agencies   during  the  transition  to   assure  that                                                                    
everyone  understood   the  expectations   of  investigative                                                                    
responsibilities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:08:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Chambers addressed  the subject  of investigations  and                                                                    
noted  that  concerns  raised  in  the  audit  pertained  to                                                                    
documentation.    There   could    be    long   delays    in                                                                    
investigations, but if the  matters were well-monitored, the                                                                    
delays  could  be  substantiated and  justified.  Since  the                                                                    
closure  of the  May 2018  audit period,  standard operating                                                                    
procedures  required mandatory  documentation  of each  case                                                                    
must be  completed every 30  to 45 days; meaning  that there                                                                    
would be no  case, in any of the 43  professions, that would                                                                    
go longer  than 45  days without written  justification. She                                                                    
said that  a supervisory  review was  mandated for  every 90                                                                    
days, at which time every  supervisor would sit down with an                                                                    
investigator  to assess  the cases  in each  profession. She                                                                    
believed  that maintaining  management accountability  would                                                                    
alleviate the issue.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:10:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Chambers asserted  that there could be  many reasons for                                                                    
delays in investigations. She thought  there had been public                                                                    
concern over the  length of delays. She  thought due process                                                                    
could  delay  the process.  She  said  that Alaska  Wildlife                                                                    
Troopers  were  often  pursuing  criminal  indictments  that                                                                    
would  ten  result  in  a  licensing  finding.  Because  the                                                                    
division was  not trained to  be criminal  investigators, it                                                                    
partnered  with the  Department of  Public Safety  (DPS) and                                                                    
put  cases   in  a   monitor  status    in  case  management                                                                    
software, updating them every 30 to 45 days.                                                                                    
10:12:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Chambers continued  to say  that  the criminal  process                                                                    
could take  up to two  years but stressed that  the division                                                                    
recognized   the   responsibility   to  review   the   cases                                                                    
regularly.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:12:25 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Chambers relayed  that any  board was  able to  issue a                                                                    
summary  suspension   if  it  were  found   that  there  was                                                                    
immediate  danger,  or  risk   of  danger,  to  the  public.                                                                    
Examples  of a  summary  suspensions  included a  healthcare                                                                    
provider accused  of sexual assault  of a patient.  She used                                                                    
the example  of a real  case that included the  discovery of                                                                    
child pornography  on a physicians  computer.  She said that                                                                    
in such  cases summary suspensions  were swift. She  did not                                                                    
often  find that  wildlife violations  posed the  same risk.                                                                    
She explained that if a  licensee wounded a fellow guide, or                                                                    
brandished a  weapon, that would be  strictly scrutinized by                                                                    
the  board.  She added  that  wonton  waste  of game  was  a                                                                    
serious  concern  in  the  state   and  was  an  example  of                                                                    
something that  happened that was  not of immediate  risk to                                                                    
the public.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:14:40 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Chambers  said that  often the  process could  be slowed                                                                    
with the  wait of  a response from  a defendant.  She stated                                                                    
that defendants  sometimes did not  want to respond  or were                                                                    
waiting on an  attorney. She relayed that  a reviewing board                                                                    
member  would meet  with investigators  and  then provide  a                                                                    
professional review.  She said  that without the  board, the                                                                    
division would  have to hire  out for that  expertise, which                                                                    
would increase cost to the state and licensees.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:15:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Chambers  continued, citing  a  delay  in board  action                                                                    
regarding  the appeal  process. She  reminded the  committee                                                                    
that  the license  was a  property  right and  could not  be                                                                    
easily curtailed  or taken  away. She  noted that  the board                                                                    
took  disciplinary   action  on  a  license   when  one  was                                                                    
warranted by the states administrative process.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:17:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von Imhof  thanked Ms.  Chambers for  the thorough                                                                    
report. She  pointed out the  two layers  to investigations:                                                                    
criminal and civil. She thought  it was important to discuss                                                                    
the differences  between criminal and  civil investigations;                                                                    
and acknowledge  that there should be  more frequent updated                                                                    
to pending files.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von  Imhof continued her remarks.  She related that                                                                    
wildlife  violations  were  not  seen as  risky  as  medical                                                                    
license  violations. She  wondered whether  the grounds  for                                                                    
revocation   of  wildlife   licenses  could   be  found   in                                                                    
regulation  or statute.  She  felt  that hunters  recreating                                                                    
outside of  season, or outside  designated areas,  could put                                                                    
the public in harms way.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:19:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski referenced the audit:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The audit  reviewed 22 of  145 cases open for  over 180                                                                    
     days between July  2015 and May 2018. Twenty  of the 22                                                                    
     cases  were  found  to   have  unjustified  periods  of                                                                    
     inactivity  ranging  from  two  months  to  18  months.                                                                    
     According  to   the  chief  investigator,   periods  of                                                                    
     inactivity were  due, in  part, to  a lack  of adequate                                                                    
     resources  to  investigate  the  large  case  load  and                                                                    
     supervisors not adequately monitoring cases.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski  stated that there had  been no mention                                                                    
of  waiting  for  criminal   investigation  or  the  appeals                                                                    
process. He  asked whether Ms.  Chambers disagreed  with the                                                                    
findings and whether the division  had adequate resources to                                                                    
monitor cases.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Chambers thought  the findings  were reflective  of her                                                                    
testimony. She  had checked with the  senior investigator to                                                                    
ask whether  there were  enough investigative  resources and                                                                    
that they did not believe that  there was a current need for                                                                    
additional investigators  for the program. She  assured that                                                                    
committee that cross training work was being done.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:21:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Micciche  referenced a case where  wildlife troopers                                                                    
had  incurred  significant  cost  investigating  a  case  of                                                                    
wonton  waste and  falsification of  hunt records.  He noted                                                                    
that  the   defendants  license  was  currently   valid.  He                                                                    
wondered  whether the  defendants license  should have  been                                                                    
revoked while under investigation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:22:58 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:24:06 AM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof requested the  current status of the case                                                                    
referenced by Senator Micciche.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Chambers  stated  that  the case  was  in  process  and                                                                    
currently  with the  Office  of  Administrative Hearings  as                                                                    
part  of  the  civil  process. She  could  not  specifically                                                                    
address the case.  In general, there was an  ability for the                                                                    
board to act  and any licensee to have  that action reviewed                                                                    
by an administrative law judge.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:25:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Micciche  asked  if hypothetically,  in  a  similar                                                                    
case, the  department would make a  recommendation to revoke                                                                    
or suspend the license.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Chambers  stated  that  once  a  criminal  process  was                                                                    
concluded, and the  licenses was found guilty  of a criminal                                                                    
violation,  the  board  would  review  the  information  and                                                                    
documentation and  make a  recommendation for  discipline up                                                                    
to revocation if necessary. She  thought the board had shown                                                                    
great leadership in setting forth  a disciplinary matrix and                                                                    
would  take appropriate  action. The  licensee could  appeal                                                                    
any decision.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:27:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von Imhof  hoped Henry  Tiffany could  clarify the                                                                    
disciplinary matrix written in statute.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bishop  asked if  Ms. Chambers  had seen  the letter                                                                    
from  BGCSB board  member  Jason Bunch  (copy  on file).  He                                                                    
quoted the letter:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     As a member  of the Big Game  Commercial Services Board                                                                    
     (BGCSB), I am  amazed at the amount of mis- information                                                                    
     that  is  placed  on  public  record  during  committee                                                                    
     hearings.   I would  like to  respond to  one statement                                                                    
     that has been made repeatedly during public testimony.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     "The BGCS  Board has an  extensive case backlog  with a                                                                    
     resounding 200 plus investigations open".                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Currently, the  Investigative Division of  the Division                                                                    
     of Commerce  who provides  services for  licenses which                                                                    
     are under  the purview  of the BGCSB  has approximately                                                                    
     56 open  cases.  It  is important to realize  case logs                                                                    
     are  ongoing, some  will close  soon while  others will                                                                    
     surface.    The  number  of open  cases  is  constantly                                                                    
     changing due to the  consistent and extremely efficient                                                                    
     work completed daily by                                                                                                    
     investigations.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The  following is  an account  of the  current 56  open                                                                    
     cases.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     19 Cases  prepared for board  review and  ruling during                                                                    
     the next annual meeting April 2-4, 2019                                                                                    
     13  Cases currently  active  with  the Alaska  Wildlife                                                                    
     Troopers.  (Investigations is monitoring awaiting AWT                                                                      
     action)                                                                                                                    
     10 Cases  are at some  level of litigation  through the                                                                    
     Office of Administration Hearings.                                                                                         
       2  Cases  are  complete  and  in  the  hands  of  the                                                                    
     respondents to  accept or  reject the  proposed actions                                                                    
     in                                                                                                                         
     accordance with the administrative process.                                                                                
     12  Cases  are  ongoing;   7  are  Breach  of  Contract                                                                    
     Complaint issues, 4 are license application problems.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     As you can see by  this factual information provided by                                                                    
     the Division of  Commerce Investigations division, much                                                                    
     information is being provided that is blatantly false.                                                                     
     I send  you this letter  because I truly believe  it is                                                                    
     our    responsibility    to    identify    fact    from                                                                    
     unsubstantiated claims when  making decisions that will                                                                    
     effect the people of Alaska and its natural resources.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Chambers  felt that sometimes information  was presented                                                                    
to legislators  by people who  were not fully  informed. She                                                                    
agreed with  Mr. Bunch's documentation of  numbers of active                                                                    
cases.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bishop had  heard the bill previously  in the Senate                                                                    
Resources  Committee.  He  found it  troubling  that  guides                                                                    
might  not be  held  to the  highest  ethical standards.  He                                                                    
asked whether  the caseload was  out of  the norm or  was on                                                                    
par with other boards.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Chambers offered to follow  up with Senator Bishop later                                                                    
to   review   investigative   statistics  and   a   caseload                                                                    
comparison.  She  stated  that each  profession  had  wildly                                                                    
differing   number  of   licensees.  She   thought  that   a                                                                    
comparison  from  profession  to  profession  regarding  the                                                                    
investigative caseload  could be  helpful to  the committee.                                                                    
She wondered  whether a review  of the  statutory thresholds                                                                    
for guiding could be in order in the future.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:32:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HENRY  TIFFANY,  CHAIRMAN;   BIG  GAME  COMMERCIAL  SERVICES                                                                    
BOARD, FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), testified in support                                                                    
of the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von Imhof  asked  Mr. Tiffany  to  comment on  the                                                                    
board's  statutory disciplinary  matrix and  whether it  was                                                                    
enough  to address  the wide  variety of  violation seen  in                                                                    
current cases.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Tiffany stated  that  the matrix  was  now referred  to                                                                    
Disciplinary  Guidelines and  Precedence.  He asserted  that                                                                    
the board  and members  were very concerned  with individual                                                                    
licensees   due   process.  He  relayed  that   it  was  not                                                                    
allowable for the  board to seek action on  a license unless                                                                    
the  issue   was  brought  before   the  board   through  an                                                                    
investigative  arm  or  a  complaint  made  directly  to  an                                                                    
investigator.  He shared  that there  was a  simple form  to                                                                    
fill out to  alert investigators to issues and  the form was                                                                    
an accountability measure. He said  that he might hear about                                                                    
a  possible violation  but until  the complain  went through                                                                    
proper due process no board action could be taken.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:36:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Tiffany   continued  to  discuss  violations   and  the                                                                    
disciplinary  matrix.  He  said  that the  matrix  had  been                                                                    
developed  to be  fair and  unbiased  in the  doling out  of                                                                    
appropriate sanctions.  He thought  the matrix  worked well.                                                                    
He  said  that  if  an individual  felt  they  were  treated                                                                    
unfairly the matrix could be referenced for clarity.                                                                            
Co-Chair von Imhof noted that  there were 4 people signed up                                                                    
for public  testimony. She asked  whether Mr.  Tiffany could                                                                    
stand by for questions.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Tiffany replied in the affirmative.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:38:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof OPENED public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JASON  BUNCH, MEMBER,  BIG GAME  COMMERCIAL SERVICES  BOARD,                                                                    
KODIAK  (via teleconference),  testified in  support of  the                                                                    
bill. He opined  that the sunset process  was time consuming                                                                    
for board  volunteers. He  said that the  time spent  on the                                                                    
sunset process  could be  better used  by board  members. He                                                                    
shared that  he had put in  many hours on the  sunset issue.                                                                    
He  asserted  that  licensees  under  the  board  were  good                                                                    
businessmen.  He  noted that  the  139  open cases  did  not                                                                    
necessarily represent 139 different individuals.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:42:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SAM   ROHRER,   PRESIDENT,   ALASKA   PROFESSIONAL   HUNTERS                                                                    
ASSOCIATION,  KODIAK (via  teleconference), spoke  in strong                                                                    
support of the bill. He felt  that the board was critical to                                                                    
the  health the  guiding industry  in Alaska.  He reiterated                                                                    
the  boards  work  in getting  out of  significant debt.  He                                                                    
spoke to  the beneficial work  done by the board.  He feared                                                                    
that  if the  board  were not  renewed, licensing  standards                                                                    
would  suffer. He  added that  the board  provided the  only                                                                    
interface between the Division  of Licensing and the guiding                                                                    
industry.  Without the  board the  public would  have little                                                                    
opportunity to  influence the  regulations that  control the                                                                    
guiding industry.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:44:39 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARK  RICHARDS,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  RESIDENT  HUNTERS  OF                                                                    
ALASKA,  FAIRBANKS   (via  teleconference),  spoke   to  the                                                                    
investigative issues  raised by the  audit. He spoke  to his                                                                    
letter  (copy  on  file).  He  expressed  concern  with  the                                                                    
current  matrix   used  in  the  disciplinary   process.  He                                                                    
believed that there  were serious issues within  the Title 8                                                                    
statutes  that   should  be  seriously  looked   at  by  the                                                                    
legislature. He supported only a  two-year extension for the                                                                    
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:48:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT  OGAN, FORMER  MEMBER,  BIG  GAME COMMERCIAL  SERVICES                                                                    
BOARD, JUNEAU, testified in support  of the bill. He offered                                                                    
some history of  his relationship with the  board. He feared                                                                    
that eliminating the board would embolden unethical guides.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:50:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:50:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Tiffany  fully  supported  the  six-year  extension  as                                                                    
proposed  in the  bill.  He thought  the  board provided  an                                                                    
asset in  the publics  best  interest. He thought  the board                                                                    
had a clear  record of transparency. He  referenced a letter                                                                    
from Mr. Robert  Cassell (copy on file).  He considered that                                                                    
the  issue raised  in the  letter was  out-of-date. He  said                                                                    
that   he   had   investigated  Mr.   Cassells    case   and                                                                    
investigators  revealed   that  his  3  licenses   had  been                                                                    
revoked.  He  said   that  Mr.  Cassell  had   not  been  in                                                                    
compliance with the requirements  laid out by the Department                                                                    
of Fish  and Game and  would not  be able to  practice until                                                                    
her did so. He stressed that  the issue would not be brought                                                                    
before the  board until due  process had been  concluded. He                                                                    
clarified that the  board could not address  issues that had                                                                    
not been  formally brought before  them. He  reiterated that                                                                    
the backlog of 200 cases was not factual information.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:54:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von  Imhof summarized the committee  discussion for                                                                    
SB 43.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SB  43  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
10:55:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 a.m.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB053_UA_Accred_Reporting_SponsorStatement_20Feb2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_CAEP Report_Dec2018.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_CAEP_RevocationLetter_11JAN2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_Existing UA Accred Summary_21Feb2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
07_SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_BOR Policy_April2014.pdf SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
11_SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Sectional_VersionU.pdf SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
12_SB053_UA_Accred_Reporting_ExplainChanges_Version A to U.pdf SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB 43 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 Big Game Commercial Services Board Sunset Review Audit.pdf HRES 5/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 Letters of Opposition.pdf HRES 5/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 4/9/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 Letters of Support.pdf SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 4/9/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 Senator von Imhof.docx SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 4/9/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 RHAK Letter Senate Finance - Extend Big Game Commercial Services Board.pdf SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 4/9/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 CBPL Timeline of Investigations.pdf SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 4/9/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 36 Letter of Support APRN 3-4-19.pdf HL&C 4/24/2019 3:15:00 PM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 36
SB 43 Bunch Testimony.pdf HRES 5/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 4/9/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 Additional Testimony Huttunen.pdf HRES 5/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 4/9/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43