Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/19/1994 02:47 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                               
  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            
 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)           
 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                
 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            
 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                  
 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               
 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                 
 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             
 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"             
 SENATOR KELLY said they would continue to work on this bill and               
 bring it back before committee.                                               
 Number 464                                                                    
 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.             
 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           
 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            
 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                 
 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.                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects