Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/19/1994 02:47 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE April 19, 1994 2:47 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman Senator Steve Rieger, Vice Chairman Senator Bert Sharp Senator Georgianna Lincoln Senator Judith Salo MEMBERS ABSENT None OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Johnny Ellis COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 244(STA) "An Act relating to equity investments of the permanent fund; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 300(L&C) "An Act relating to civil liability for commercial recreational activities; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 298(HES) "An Act relating to licensure by the State Medical Board and temporary permits for certain optometrists." SENATE BILL NO. 320 "An Act relating to occupational licensing boards and commissions; and relating to architects, engineers, and land surveyors." CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 358(STA) "An Act relating to the existence and functions of certain multimember state bodies, including boards, councils, commissions, associations, or authorities; and providing for an effective date." Confirmation Hearings: ABC PREVIOUS ACTION SB 244 - See State Affairs minutes dated 1/28/94 and 4/13/94. See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/19/94 and 4/28/94. HB 300 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 4/14/94 and 4/19/94. SB 298 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated 3/9/94 and 4/11/94. See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/19/94. SB 320 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 3/22/94 and 4/19/94. SB 358 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/30/94 and 4/6/94. See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/19/94. WITNESS REGISTER David Gottstein, President Dynamic Research Group Anchorage, Ak. POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 244. Ed Rasmussen, Chairman Board of The National Bank of Alaska Anchorage, Ak. POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 244. Carl Brady Anchorage, Ak. POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 244. Don Leman, President Alaska State Medical Association Sitka, Ak. 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 298. Kristi Leaf Juneau, Ak. 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 358. Jan DeYoung Alaska Labor Relations Association P.O. Box 107026 Anchorage, Ak. 99510 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 358. Senator Johnny Ellis State Capitol Juneau, Ak. 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Questioned Jim McNamee. Jim McNamee P.O. Box 1308 Fairbanks, Ak. 99707 POSITION STATEMENT: Nominee for Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. Jim Elkins 177 Cranberry Rd., North Ketchikan, Ak. 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Nominee for ABC Board. Dwight D. Ornquist HCR-2, Box 7813-G Palmer, Ak. 99645 POSITION STATEMENT: Nominee for the Alaska Public Utilities Commission. Dr. Roger Eichman 9342 Glacier Hwy Juneau, Ak. 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Nominee for Board of Dentistry ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-29, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 2:47 p.m. and announced SB 244 (PERMANENT FUND D INVESTMENTS - LTD PARTNERS) to be up for consideration. DAVID GOTTSTEIN, President, Dynamic Research Group, said he does research on the stock market and he supported SB 244. He felt it is critical in the evolutionary process of the Permanent Fund to, as part of their investment arsenal, be able to invest in "alternative investments," because over time, this is the logical next step to keep up with competitors with capital flow. ED RASMUSSEN, Chairman, Board of The National Bank of Alaska, supported SB 244. He said he didn't know of a fund in America that doesn't have some sort of authority for alternative investments. Without it, our ability to compete in the international markets is hamstrung. SENATOR SALO asked what "alternative investments" means. MR. GOTTSTEIN said that it means the ability to enter an investment class that is not restricted. It's important to include these types of investments or we won't be able to get the incremental returns that we need. CARL BRADY, Anchorage, said that alternative investment is a strategy. SENATOR SHARP said the original bill had mentioned not having an aggregate of over 5% of the total PF being in alternative investments. He asked someone to explain "ownership in a collective investment vehicle." MR. BRADY explained that the vehicle would be an institutional investor in a fund or pool with other investors. It could be a partnership or any number of things; it's investing with other investors. SENATOR SHARP asked if they were looking at a mutual fund for the big boys. MR. RASMUSSEN said it is not a mutual fund concept. It is co-investing based on recommendations of the institutional management. Number 214 SENATOR LINCOLN asked if they wouldn't meet more regularly than once a year to review the policies and investments. MR. BRADY answered that they would meet more, but once is the minimum. SENATOR LINCOLN thought the wording should be amended to say "at a minimum" before "annually." SENATOR LINCOLN asked why there was such a major rewrite of the original bill. JIM KELLY, Research and Liaison Officer, Permanent Fund Corp., explained the reason for the changes was there was a lot of confusion when it was first introduced because of the way it was written and the CS accomplishes the same thing in either case. SENATOR LINCOLN asked what the gate keeper fee is. MR. KELLY explained that it was an outside disinterested third party hired to give them expert advise on purchases. SENATOR RIEGER asked if there were any particular investments the Permanent Fund had in mind. MR. BRADY said they were a long ways away from any specific investment although they have received testimony from several advisors. Number 330 SENATOR RIEGER suggested amending page 1, line 7 to add "nonrecourse" in front of "partnership" and "collective investment vehicle"; on page 2, line 1 delete "oil and gas"; on page 2, line 3 insert "at least" in front of "annually"; and delete the letter (l). MR. BRADY said it wouldn't make any difference to him to have "at least" in front of "annually", but he couldn't speak for the Board. He had no problem with deleting "oil and gas". He didn't have a problem with inserting "nonrecourse." SENATOR KELLY said he didn't necessarily concur with deleting "oil and gas" since he thought there was some public policy reason for it. MR. BRADY said the reason they put in reference to oil and gas operations was simply to stop a fear that they would be purchasing stock of a corporation that has substantial oil and gas operations in Alaska, or substantial income. The reason being if the price of oil would go down, presumably the price of the stock would go down and the state's revenue stream would go down as well. That would be like a double whammy. The Permanent Fund owns some of Arco and Exxon besides. SENATOR LINCOLN said she had problems with deleting "oil and gas" also. SENATOR KELLY said they would continue to work on this bill and bring it back before committee. Number 464 SENATOR KELLY announced HB 300 (LIABILITY: COMMERCIAL RECREATION ACTIVITY) to be up for consideration. SENATOR SHARP moved to pass CSHB 300 (L&C) with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR KELLY announced SB 298 (LICENSING OF PHYSICIANS) to be up for consideration. DON LYMAN, President, Alaska State Medical Association, supported SB 298. He suggested that "shall" be changed to "may" on page 1, line 5. SENATOR SALO and SENATOR RIEGER had problems with changing that, because they thought a face to face interview would be helpful. SENATOR SALO asked if he knew of anyone being rejected after an interview. MR. LYMAN said he wasn't certain. He had talked to a member of the Medical Board who thought the language change was a good idea. SENATOR RIEGER moved to pass CSSB 298(HES) with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. Number 559 SENATOR KELLY announced SB 320 (OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING) to be up for consideration. SENATOR LEMAN, sponsor, said he had a CS deleting section 4. SENATOR RIEGER asked if it still required a registered land surveyor in order to teach at the University. SENATOR LEMAN said that is still in the bill. SENATOR RIEGER moved to adopt the CS to SB 320. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR RIEGER moved to pass CSSB 320 (L&C) with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR KELLY announced SB 358 (ELIMINATE SOME STATE MULTIMEMBER BODIES) to be up for consideration. KRISTI LEAF said this is basically a government efficiency bill. It deletes 8 boards that are no longer funded and haven't been active for a number of years. TAPE 94-29, SIDE B SENATOR RIEGER said he is concerned with occupational licensing boards that exist to perpetuate a closed shop more than enforce high standards for members of their profession. MS. LEAF agreed with that position. SENATOR SALO asked if this would apply to new people, not the existing Board. An unidentified speaker explained that the Board is composed of 3 members, one a staff member. There is a hearing officer and 2 lay Board members - one from industry and one from labor. When the full Board meets it's an 11 member Board, including the Commissioner of Labor. SENATOR SALO asked if the backlog in hearings would be helped by section 7. The speaker said they saw this as broadening the pool. A panel still has to meet to hear the case, whether they draw from a 10 or 8 member pool wouldn't increase the cost. They would just improve the availability of members. SENATOR RIEGER asked if section 14 applied to labor relations. JAN DEYOUNG, Alaska Labor Relations Association, said it did apply to the Railroad and they do have right to strike. Section 14, regarding binding arbitration, is in law because the railroad employees should be eligible to strike must exhaust any agency requirement of arbitration. At the conclusion of the mediation, if they are deadlocked, the workers may strike. The Railroad may go to court to seek an injunction to bring them back. The cost of doing that is binding interest arbitration. This is where the possibility of an arbitrator becomes important. What this bill does to section 14, Ms. DeYoung said, is remove the requirement that the individual that served as the mediator before the strike also serve as the arbitrator in the later binding interest arbitration. The reason for this change is to permit the Railroad to use the federal mediation facilitation service which provides trained labor mediators at no cost. But it does not allow the mediators to serve as arbitrators. SENATOR RIEGER asked if this phase is required by federal law or is it at the discretion of the state. MS. DEYOUNG said these are the procedures that the state adopted. SENATOR RIEGER said he has not been very happy with any binding arbitration awards he has seen. He did not want to perpetuate them without cleaning them up. SENATOR SHARP moved to pass CSSB 358 (STA) from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. Number 459 SENATOR KELLY said they would have the confirmation hearings for Jim McNamee, Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS said in his time of serving the neighborhoods in downtown Anchorage, there has never been another subject with more complaints than the effect of alcohol on society. He asked if there was a reason why the renewal process isn't staggered so it's not an overwhelming workload at one time. MR. MCNAMEE said as of this year they are staggered, half this year and half next year. SENATOR ELLIS said there is a lot of criticism of the staffing level of the Board. He asked if he thought last year's enforcement was adequate and if their funding was adequate for the next fiscal year. MR. MCNAMEE said, being from Fairbanks, they had been without an investigator for over 2 years. He said their main concerns are under age drinking, inebriates, and drunks buying liquor in liquor stores. He thought enforcement would drastically reduce that. He thought they would need 4 investigators to do a minimum job of enforcing the statutes. SENATOR ELLIS asked if he could comment on license hearings for a particular community being held in a different community. MR. MCNAMEE said they couldn't travel to all the communities because they don't have the money, but they are going into teleconferencing quite heavily. Number 404 JIM ELKINS, Nominee, said by statute the ABC Board is required to meet in the 4 judicial districts around the state every year. When they travel and they always have a meeting in Anchorage to take care of the immediate Anchorage area. A situation like he mentioned would be unusual. SENATOR ELLIS commented that it seems like the Board has come down hard on Cyrano's Bookstore, but haven't done much to The Hub, a lower division bar on 4th Street. MR. ELKINS said in relation to Cyrano's, they asked the Attorney General's office if the license was defendable in court. The staff of Cyrano's was out of character and the AG's office said it was defendable all the way to the Supreme Court. He said the Board is working on a statute change to broaden the license concept from a restaurant eating place to a theater and other categories which would make enforcement easier. MR. MCNAMEE commented that he didn't think the City of Anchorage had ever filed a notice on The Hub. SENATOR ELLIS asked how he balanced the rights of the owner of a liquor license to own a legal establishment and to sell a legal drug and make a profit with neighbor concerns with all the nuisances that go along with a liquor operation. MR. MCNAMEE said his first concern was the public, and if the establishment was out of line, they would have to come down on it. Number 253 DWIGHT D. ORNQUIST, Nominee for APUC, answered SENATOR KELLY'S remarks regarding Senator Jacko's letter stating the University he attended was not accredited at the time. MR. ORNQUIST said the letter was in error and the director of the Alexandria Technical Institute had written a letter to the Governor saying his assistant was wrong. SENATOR LINCOLN said she was concerned whether he, as a computer programmer, could justify that as an engineering field. MR. ORNQUIST explained that many universities around the country recognize that information systems engineering is a valid degree. SENATOR LINCOLN asked how that was going to help him with his position on the APUC. MR. ORNQUIST answered that it already has helped him in the area of communications. SENATOR KELLY commented that his history of experience and employment is very impressive. MR. ORNQUIST added that information systems engineering is the process of constructing a very complex system. Number 99 SENATOR RIEGER asked what was the role of the APUC oversite with a utility that is doing a project. MR. ORNQUIST said the APUC's role is geared toward regulation of monopoly organizations. SENATOR RIEGER asked how the cost goes into the rate base they approve. MR. ORNQUIST explained that first they look at the cost of the operation and add in a profit margin. If a utility makes a bad decision, they can cover it out of their margins. SENATOR KELLY said they would contact the Alexandria Technical Institute and try to resolve that issue and thanked Mr. Ornquist. He then announced they would hear from Dr. Roger Eichman. He noted there was a letter from the Board of Dental Examiners not recommending him to be confirmed. TAPE 94-30, SIDE A Number 001 SENATOR KELLY announced a recess from 3:20 - 3:25 p.m. DR. EICHMAN said he is not a member of the State Dental Society and he doesn't use silver mercury filling materials. He said he disagrees with some of the Board's scientific standings on the silver fillings and he briefly explained the method he uses. He said he has a very stable practice and he thought if his dentistry was not of quality care he wouldn't have that stable of a practice. SENATOR RIEGER asked if it was correct that he was attempting to influence the Board to list dental amalgam as a hazardous material. DR. EICHMAN said that was not true and that the subject had never come up at a Board meeting. He said using the new filling materials makes other dentists uncomfortable because they require a greater degree of skill and take more time. SENATOR KELLY asked him if a dentist came up and applied for a license, and was an amalgam silver man, would that influence his judgement on whether he would receive a license. DR. EICHMAN said it wouldn't affect it at all. SENATOR RIEGER asked if the other dentists would license a non- amalgam silver dentist. DR. EICHMAN said he didn't think the subject would ever come up. Number 115 SENATOR LINCOLN asked him to comment on the letter where it questions his ability to judge and critic others. DR. EICHMAN said he didn't have a problem with judging others and he said he has been doing it, since he has been on the Board for a few months already. SENATOR LINCOLN asked why the Board would make such allegations. DR. EICHMAN said they are very uncomfortable because he doesn't do amalgam fillings. He knew of no other reasons. He had heard no complaints. He has not spoken in public on this issue or written any papers. SENATOR KELLY asked him if the sentence, "At this time Dr. Eichman has attempted to influence the Board of Dental Examiners to list dental amalgam, the most used dental filling material for the last 160 years, as a hazardous material." was true. DR. EICHMAN said it wasn't true. He does have a difference with them in that he thinks the mercury is released from amalgam fillings. This conviction comes from his field studies as a prospector and he explained a test he conducted that showed him that mercury is released from amalgam fillings. SENATOR RIEGER said that his dentist in Anchorage, also, has chosen not to use amalgam fillings. DR. EICHMAN said this was why he did not belong to the Dental Society. Number 229 SENATOR LINCOLN commented that he hadn't spoken publicly, but yet he said he had conducted this experiment. DR. EICHMAN explained this was in a study group of 4 or 5 dentists that meet regularly for continuing education in Southeast Alaska. SENATOR KELLY thank Dr. Eichman for his testimony and adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m.