Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/02/1994 02:20 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                        February 2, 1994                                       
                           2:20 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Steve Rieger, Chairman                                                
 Senator Bert Sharp, Vice-Chairman                                             
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 217                                                           
 "An Act relating to land of the University of Alaska and                      
 authorizing the University of Alaska to select additional state               
 public domain land."                                                          
 SENATE BILL NO. 225                                                           
 "An Act relating to credits against certain insurance taxes for               
 contributions to certain educational institutions; and providing              
 for an effective date."                                                       
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 79(FIN) am                                              
 "An Act relating to recovery from a parent or legal guardian of               
 wilful or malicious destruction of property by a minor."                      
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 37                                                 
 Urging the Congress to enact H.R. 1033 or similar legislation                 
 authorizing construction grants for publicly-owned treatment works            
 in economically distressed rural communities.                                 
 SENATE BILL NO. 248                                                           
 "An Act relating to services for and protection of vulnerable                 
 adults; and providing for an effective date."                                 
 SENATE BILL NO. 249                                                           
 "An Act relating to assisted living homes; repealing references to            
 residential facilities for dependent adults; and providing for an             
 effective date."                                                              
 SENATE BILL NO. 250                                                           
 "An Act relating to the Older Alaskans Commission and staff of the            
 commission; changing the name of the Older Alaskans Commission to             
 the Alaska Commission on Aging and extending the termination date             
 of the commission; relating to the Alaska Pioneers' Homes Advisory            
 Board; relating to services and programs for older Alaskans; and              
 providing for an effective date."                                             
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB 217 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated                
 SB 225 - No previous action to record.                                        
 HB 79 - No previous action to record.                                         
 HJR 37 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated                       
 SB 248 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 249 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 250 - No previous action to record.                                        
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Senator Frank                                                                 
 Prime Sponsor                                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 217.                                        
 Jack Chenoweth                                                                
 Legal Services                                                                
 Legislative Affairs Agency                                                    
 130 Seward Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-2105                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed CSSB 217.                                       
 Brian Rogers                                                                  
 Vice-President of Finance                                                     
 University of Alaska                                                          
 207 D Butrovich Bldg.                                                         
 University of Alaska                                                          
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99775                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 217.                                        
 Senator Kerttula                                                              
 Prime Sponsor                                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 225.                                        
 Carol Carrol                                                                  
 Staff to Senator Kerttula                                                     
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed SB 225.                                         
 Representative Bunde                                                          
 Prime Sponsor                                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed HB 79.                                          
 Vincent Usera                                                                 
 Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division                                    
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered to answer questions.                             
 George Bingham                                                                
 Superintendent of Claims                                                      
 State Farms, Southeast                                                        
 3329 Park Place                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information.                                     
 Roger McKowan                                                                 
 Aide to Representative Hoffman                                                
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed HJR 37.                                         
 Keith Kelton                                                                  
 Division Director                                                             
 Department of Environmental Conservation                                      
 410 Willoughby Ave.                                                           
 Suite 105                                                                     
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1795                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information.                                     
 Jenny Norris                                                                  
 Volunteer, Alaska Environmental Lobby                                         
 P.O. Box 22151                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 37.                                        
 Sherrie Goll                                                                  
 Kid Pac                                                                       
 P.O. Box 22156                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 37.                                        
 Nancy Usera                                                                   
 Commissioner, Department of Administration                                    
 P.O. Box 110200                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0200                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed SB 248, SB 249, SB 250.                         
 Donald Hoover                                                                 
 Chairman, Older Alaskans Commission                                           
 1029 Kodiak Street                                                            
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 248, SB 249, SB 250.                        
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 94-4, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER called the Senate Health, Education and Social                
 Services (HESS) Committee to order at 2:20 p.m.                               
 Number 015                                                                    
 ALASKA) as the first order of business before the committee.                  
 SENATOR FRANK stated that Jack Chenoweth had a new committee                  
 substitute incorporating the previously discussed amendments.                 
 JACK CHENOWETH explained, as does his memorandum, the six changes             
 incorporated in his committee substitute.                                     
 SENATOR MILLER moved to adopt Chenoweth's 1/31/94 work draft of               
 CSSB 217, letter J.  Hearing no objections, it was so ordered.                
 SENATOR LEMAN asked for further explanation of Chenoweth's changes            
 to AS 14.40.365.  MR. CHENOWETH directed Senator Leman to page 4              
 lines 14 - 20 and explained that his expansion of (a)(1) into                 
 (a)(1) - (3) and his new version of (a)(3) attempt to clarify the             
 land selection issue.                                                         
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked what the reference to "other than" means.               
 MR. CHENOWETH specified that there are many possessory interests              
 and the five listed on page 4 line 14 are the only ones allowing              
 the university selection; any other possessory interest or                    
 encumbrance not of the five listed cannot be selected by the                  
 Number 182                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER moved CSSB 217 HES out of committee with individual            
 recommendations.  SENATOR LEMAN objected.                                     
 SENATOR LEMAN stated that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)           
 has expressed their desire not to include oil and gas lease land to           
 the university, but reserve it for the state.  He did not know if             
 this issue would hamper the bill.  Senator Leman removed his                  
 SENATOR FRANK acknowledged DNR's objection to include oil and gas             
 land.  He said they should be able to reach a compromise that is              
 reasonable and can be worked on in Resources.                                 
 SENATOR MILLER said that this issue is a policy call.  He stated              
 that at some point the university is a state agency.  He pointed              
 out that good lands should be available to the university for                 
 selection in order to provide income for the university and jobs in           
 the community.                                                                
 BRIAN ROGERS, Vice-President of Finance for the University of                 
 Alaska system, stated support for SB 217 in its current form and is           
 prepared to deal with the oil and gas issue in the next committee.            
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked if there were any objections to the motion to           
 move CSSB 217 out of committee with individual recommendations.               
 Hearing no objections, it was so ordered.                                     
 Number 231                                                                    
 COLLEGES) as the next bill before the committee.                              
 SENATOR KERTTULA, the prime sponsor, stated that he was prepared to           
 answer questions, but preferred that Carol Carrol read his                    
 CAROL CARROL, staff to Senator Kerttula, reviewed SB 225.                     
 SENATOR KERTTULA emphasized that private institutions provide a               
 great deal of private support for education in this state which               
 decreases the tax payers burden, therefore, continuing private                
 support is in the best interest of everyone.  He said that SB 225             
 is strongly pushed by the University of Alaska and the Alaska                 
 Pacific University.  He does not see a downside to this                       
 legislation, particularly since insurance companies are not allowed           
 to contribute more than fifty percent.                                        
 Number 303                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN asked why there is no extension of support to K-12 as           
 there is for higher education.                                                
 SENATOR KERTTULA stated that he had not considered such for K-12              
 whether public or private.  He explained that higher education's              
 increasing tuition costs for out of state institutions were                   
 creating more responsibilities.  He expressed the need to provide             
 broad opportunities to Alaskan students.  He pointed out the                  
 historic background in providing annuity programs for universities            
 across the country.                                                           
 SENATOR RIEGER asked if the language located on the bottom of page            
 1 and the top of page 2 referring to a "qualified institution" is             
 the same language describing institutions eligible for contribution           
 under existing statutes.  MR. CHENOWETH said yes.                             
 JACK CHENOWETH discussed the errors made in the statutes from the             
 1991 legislature which are also present in SB 225.  He suggested              
 correcting it in SB 225 by deleting the words "or by an Alaska                
 university foundation" from the bottom of page 1 and the top of               
 page 2 and move them behind "accredited by a regional accreditation           
 association."  This change would then speak to two or four year               
 colleges accredited by a regional accreditation association or by             
 an Alaska university foundation which was the original intent of              
 the 1991 legislature.                                                         
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER expressed concern with the language used in the               
 requirement for accreditation for the two or four year colleges.              
 He asked if it would be the same as a foundation, which is on                 
 behalf of an Alaskan university.  MR. CHENOWETH stated that he                
 cannot find that foundations are accredited and that is not what              
 the 1991 legislature intended.  This can be written to the                    
 committee's desire with respect to this particular tax, but Mr.               
 Chenoweth was offering the corrections for consistency with the               
 publisher's corrections of the statutes.                                      
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER requested that the change include a description of            
 foundation which would link it to the institutions, which are the             
 subject of the bill.  This would make the foundations for the same            
 purposes as the description of institutions.  SENATOR KERTTULA                
 agreed to clean-up the language for this bill.                                
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER held SB 225 until the committee meeting on Friday.            
 Number 426                                                                    
 (FIN) AM as the next order of business before the committee.                  
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE, representing District 18 and prime                  
 sponsor, reviewed HB 79 and the desire to increase the recovery               
 from $5000 to $10,000.                                                        
 SENATOR SHARP clarified that the district court allows up to                  
 $50,000 in recovery.  He posed an example to clarify how HB 79                
 would actually work.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE stated that existing statute limits                  
 recovery to $2000, HB 79 would raise that limit to $5000.  He                 
 expressed the need to raise the recovery to $10,000.  He noted that           
 a $2000 recovery for a $20,000 car is not much; furthermore, one is           
 often not able to seek recovery from juveniles.  There is runaway             
 legislation to protect parents against financial obligation when              
 the juvenile is delinquent.                                                   
 SENATOR MILLER asked if section 2 of HB 79 addresses the runaway              
 issue.  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE was concerned that the section may not           
 carry strength of law in court.                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked if section 2 addresses when the runaway has to             
 be reported in order to eliminate the parents financial obligation,           
 while disallowing retrospective claims.  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said            
 that investigators would deal with such issues.  CHAIRMAN RIEGER              
 pointed out that line 1 page 2 only eliminates parental obligation            
 for acts of the minor after the runaway is reported.                          
 Number 500                                                                    
 SENATOR SALO requested clarification of the $50,000 liability limit           
 for civil damages regarding HB 79.  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE noted that           
 a $5000 limit for juveniles was small in comparison to a $50,000              
 limit for adults.                                                             
 SENATOR LEMAN commented that the responsibility for compensation of           
 damages should lay closest to the person doing the damage.  He                
 suggested that $5000 was too little and should be raised.                     
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE specified that the average in other states           
 is between $10,000 and $15,000.  The question of who should suffer            
 the greater loss was mentioned.                                               
 VINCENT USERA, Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of            
 the Department of Law, offered to answer questions.                           
 SENATOR SALO stated that the House HESS testimony referred to                 
 $50,000, but the bill ended up only raising the money to $5000.               
 She reiterated the desire to clarify the $50,000 limit.                       
 VINCENT USERA said that $50,000 was the jurisdictional limit of               
 district court.  He pointed out that district court, a court of               
 minimal jurisdiction, could take cases up to $50,000.  The                    
 comparison is $5000 to $50,000 in terms of the magnitude of the               
 offense.  Without this statute, there would be no way to recover at           
 all from the parent for a child.  He noted that the legislation               
 increases the limit of the common law currently in effect.                    
 SENATOR MILLER asked if the definition of "person" in the first               
 section includes a corporation.  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that             
 yes the definition includes a corporation.                                    
 SENATOR MILLER asked if a person recovers the $5000 in a civil                
 court action, who would be responsible for the attorney's fee.                
 VINCENT USERA said that attorney's fees are awardable under the               
 discretion of the court, normally 20 percent of the award.  These             
 cases seeking under $5000 would usually be limited to Small Claims            
 Court which would not require an attorney.  The defendant has the             
 opportunity to move the case to district court and be subject to              
 the formal rules.  Mr. Usera agreed with Senator Miller's                     
 speculation that a $2000 recovery is not worth the time and effort            
 to go to court.                                                               
 Number 580                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN moved to amend the amount on line 7 of page 1 from              
 $5000 to $25,000.  CHAIRMAN RIEGER objected.                                  
 TAPE 94-4, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 578                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN explained that he believed in the principle of                  
 restitution and that raising the limit to $25,000 comes closer to             
 allowing pay back of damages.                                                 
 SENATOR SALO expressed interest in the circumstance of people                 
 unable to pay.  She proposed that one would find a greater pool of            
 people unable to pay at $25,000 than at $5000; in this case what              
 would happen.                                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE specified that like any legal situation if           
 the court places a judgement against you it could result in                   
 garnishing wages, permanent fund dividends and assets.                        
 GEORGE BINGHAM, Superintendent of Claims for State Farms for                  
 Southeast, commented that in these type situations an insurance               
 recovery limit of $2000 would probably cover 40-50 percent of the             
 claims, $5000 would cover 80 percent, $10,000 would probably cover            
 95 percent of the claims.  There is always 5 to 10 percent that               
 will not be covered.                                                          
 SENATOR SHARP asked if the 80 to 90 percent that Mr. Bingham spoke            
 of included auto claims whether insured or not.  MR. BINGHAM said             
 that was correct and only 5 percent of the claims by minors are               
 over $10,000.  SENATOR SHARP expressed his dislike with                       
 establishing a maximum limit; why should someone damaged over the             
 maximum amount be penalized he asked.                                         
 SENATOR MILLER pointed out that most of the 5 percent are protected           
 with the $25,000 limit.  Chances are that 95 percent of the claims            
 will not get up to the $25,000 range.                                         
 SENATOR LEMAN asked what percentage $25,000 would cover.  MR.                 
 BINGHAM stated that 97 percent would be covered.                              
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER reminded the committee of the previous motion to              
 amend the amount on page 1 line 7 from $5000 to $25,000.  A hand              
 vote was taken with the following result:  Senators Miller, Sharp,            
 and Leman voted "Yea" and Senators Rieger and Salo voted "Nay".               
 The motion was carried.                                                       
 SENATOR MILLER moved Senate Committee Substitute for CSHB 79 (HES)            
 out of committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing no                 
 objections, it was so ordered.                                                
 Number 518                                                                    
 PROJECTS) as the next order of business before the committee.                 
 ROGER MCKOWAN, Aide to Representative Hoffman, discussed                      
 Representative Hoffman's resolution.                                          
 SENATOR MILLER asked if this legislation would require a 50 percent           
 state match.  ROGER MCKOWAN clarified that this would require a 10            
 percent state match to a 90 percent federal contribution, $300                
 million nation-wide.                                                          
 ROGER MCKOWAN mentioned that the unique needs of the state of                 
 Alaska had been presented to the sponsor in Washington.  Three                
 quarters of the native waste problems of this country are located             
 in Alaska.  He said that these needs would be considered.                     
 SENATOR LEMAN asked if this program was the same as the programs              
 for funding along the Texas boarder.                                          
 KEITH KELTON, Division Director, the Department of Environmental              
 Conservation, clarified that Senator Leman was referring to the               
 Colonias program which has been receiving direct appropriations               
 through the efforts of their congressional staff.  These                      
 appropriations have been coming from Environmental Protection                 
 Agency (EPA) money for this type of authorization.  This is a                 
 separate funding program outside of what the EPA currently has                
 JENNY NORRIS, Volunteer for the Alaska Environmental Lobby, stated            
 the support of HJR 37 by the lobby.  She said that the success of             
 such programs is dependent upon active community participation in             
 planning and implementation.  These communities must have access to           
 appropriate technology and training, regulations sensitive to                 
 cultural needs, and solutions that are environmentally and                    
 economically practical in design and maintenance.  She urged                  
 support for HJR 37.                                                           
 SENATOR LEMAN asked for an example of an unethical response.  MS.             
 NORRIS specified that unethical means not appropriating training or           
 technology within the community, in other words, not allowing                 
 community participation.                                                      
 SHERRIE GOLL, representing Kid Pac, supported HJR 37.  She pointed            
 out that a 1993 Alaskan community survey of communities with                  
 populations under 1,000 revealed that 48 percent of the children              
 living in those communities were living without piped water and               
 sewer.  Such circumstances make the children vulnerable to the                
 health risks mentioned in the bill.                                           
 SENATOR LEMAN suggested that in some instances in this state a non-           
 pipe system can and should be used.  SHERRIE GOLL agreed with                 
 Senator Leman and she said that alternatives should be considered.            
 She reiterated that the sanitation risks are present and should be            
 dealt with.  If federal money is available to help, she expressed             
 the desire to use that money to correct the situation.                        
 SENATOR SHARP made a motion to move HJR 37 out of committee with              
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objections, it was so                 
 Number 425                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced  SB 248  (ASSIST & PROTECT VULNERABLE              
 ADULTS) as the next order of business before the committee.                   
 NANCY USERA, Commissioner of the Department of Administration,                
 discussed the background of SB 248, SB 249, and SB 250.  She                  
 explained that SB 248 goes in tandem with the Administrative Order            
 of the Governor which provides for one central division to deal               
 with senior services, the Division of Senior Services.  By                    
 consolidating these services there is a more efficient use of                 
 administrative time and expenses as well as creating a central                
 resource center for seniors.                                                  
 Ms. Usera explained that SB 249 offers independence and variety for           
 seniors in assisted housing.  SB 249 allows alternative care in               
 order to foster and maintain people's independence as affordably as           
 Ms. Usera stated that SB 250 moves the responsibility for adult               
 protection services into the Division of Senior Services.  She                
 commented that this bill represents a shift in thinking for the               
 state.  With this legislation, the state is considering the                   
 consumer in its providing of services.  She emphasized that SB 250            
 maximizes the use of existing senior network programs in the                  
 Division of Senior Services to support the adult protection                   
 Ms. Usera specified that all of these bills would work together               
 forming an improved network for senior citizens in Alaska and a               
 more productive use of the available funding for senior services.             
 Number 350                                                                    
 DONALD HOOVER, Chairman of the Older Alaskans Commission, stated              
 that the commission supports all three of the bills with their full           
 concept with one exception.  The bills call for the Governor to               
 appoint the chair persons of the Advisory Board and the Commission.           
 He did not believe that those appointments were in complete                   
 accordance with the Older Alaskans Commission's bill.                         
 SENATOR LEMAN asked what Mr. Hoover would recommend.                          
 DONALD HOOVER explained that the Commission and the Advisory Board            
 were appointed by the Governor, therefore, they were all Governor             
 appointees.  In that respect, he suggested that the commission                
 should elect their own chairman, which would help to free it from             
 SENATOR SHARP asked how the position of the chairman is arrived at            
 now.  MR. HOOVER explained that currently the Commission and the              
 Advisory Board for Pioneer Homes elect their chairman from the                
 Governor appointed members.                                                   
 SENATOR LEMAN inquired about a resolution of this issue.                      
 NANCY USERA offered another point of view.  She stated that if one            
 of the roles of these boards is to be an advocate for their                   
 programs then that advocacy is served best if there is a personal             
 relationship between the Governor and the chairman.  She said that            
 advocacy is politics and access.  She suggested that having the               
 Governor appoint the chairman enhances and illustrates the                    
 importance of the program.                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN did not know if Ms. Usera's point of view would                 
 violate the principle of creating a board that can work with the              
 Governor.  MS. USERA replied that there are many different models.            
 SENATOR SHARP suggested that if the Governor appoints the chairman            
 the cohesiveness of the committee could be distorted.                         
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER requested the presence of the Department of Law for           
 SB 248 which will be held over to Friday's meeting.  Chairman                 
 Rieger also held SB 249 and SB 250 until Friday.                              
 There being no further business to come before the committee,                 
 Chairman Rieger adjourned the meeting at 3:30 p.m.                            

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