Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/02/1995 01:35 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE February 2, 1995 1:35 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman Senator John Torgerson, Vice Chairman Senator Mike Miller Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Jim Duncan COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 55 "An Act repealing the sunset of the enhanced 911 emergency reporting systems." SENATE BILL NO. 47 "An Act relating to the extent to which the Alaska Public Utilities Commission may exercise its powers when regulating utilities; establishing a regulatory cost charge on public utilities and pipeline carriers; relating to the allocation of costs in hearings before the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; relating to the method by which utilities are exempted from and made subject to regulation by the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; relating to the monetary threshold for regulation of certain kinds of utilities by the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; extending the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; relating to staggered terms for members of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; and providing for an effective date." SL&C - 2/2/95 SB 45 (DAMAGES & ATTY FEES FOR UNPAID WAGES) was scheduled, but not taken up this date. PREVIOUS ACTION No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER Senator Torgerson State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime sponsor of SB 55. Mary Jackson Legislative Assistant, Senator Torgerson State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information regarding the sunset clause. Sherman Ernouf, Aide Labor & Commerce Staff to Senator Kelly State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Stated the Anchorage Chief of Police's support for SB 55. Mark Johnson, Chief Emergency Medical Service Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110616 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0616 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 55 and suggested extending enhanced 911 service to rural areas. Josh Fink, Legislative Aide Staff to Senator Kelly State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Explained SB 47. Alyce Hanley Alaska Public Utilities Commission 4007 Brentwood Circle Anchorage, Alaska 99502 POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed concern with the language of Section 1, but urged that SB 47 be moved. Don Schoer 1016 W 6th, Suite 400 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported quick action of SB 47 with no amendments. Jim Rowe, Executive Director Alaska Telephone Association 4341 B Street, Suite 304 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 47 in its current form. Jimmy Jackson GCI 2550 Denali Street Anchorage, Alaska 99503 POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed concerns with SB 47. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-2, SIDE A SL&C - 2/2/95 SB 55 REPEALING SUNSET OF ENHANCED 911 SYSTEM Number 001 CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Labor and Commerce meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. and introduced SB 55 as the first order of business before the committee. SENATOR TORGERSON, Prime Sponsor of SB 55, explained that SB 55 would repeal the sunset clause in the original bill which allowed enhanced 911 emergency systems. He noted letters of support from the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the city of Juneau as well as others coming from Anchorage and Fairbanks. SENATOR SALO said that she supported SB 55, but inquired as to the reason a sunset was placed on the bill in the first place. SENATOR TORGERSON suggested that perhaps the sunset was in place on the possibility that state money might be available after the systems were operating. MARY JACKSON, Legislative Assistant to Senator Torgerson, explained that the sunset provision was due to amendments in House Finance which intended to afford the Telecommunications Information Committee (TIC) the opportunity to review and possibly do this on a statewide scope. TIC is currently waiting to determine if there will be any state or federal funding available to expand statewide. SHERMAN ERNOUF, Aide to Senator Kelly for Labor & Commerce, confirmed that the Anchorage Chief of Police supported SB 55. MARK JOHNSON, Chief of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) for the Department of Health & Social Services, stated that EMS supports the intent of SB 55. He pointed out that the enhanced 911 systems allows the dispatcher to have the phone number and location of the caller. He suggested that the enhanced 911 system should be extended into rural areas at some point. SENATOR MILLER moved that SB 55 be moved out of committee with individual recommendations. Without objections, it was so ordered. SL&C - 2/2/95 SB 47 APUC EXTENSION AND REGULATORY COST CHARGE Number 108 SENATOR KELLY introduced SB 47 as the next order of business before the committee. JOSH FINK, Legislative Aide to Senator Kelly, informed the committee that SB 47 is the reintroduction of SB 213 of the Eighteenth Legislature. He explained that SB 47 would extend the Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC) currently in its sunset year and it would restore the Regulatory Cost Charge (RCC) which has expired. SENATOR KELLY clarified that SB 47 extends the sunset and the provisions agreed upon the previous two years. Any other issue with the APUC would be handled in APUC II. JOSH FINK summarized the sectional information contained in the committee packets. Number 250 SENATOR SALO asked why a year was needed to make the transition that the language change in Section 1 specified, from "liberally construed" to "all things necessary and reasonably implied." JOSH FINK explained that some utilities felt that the language granted too broad a power to the Commission while others thought that express power was needed. The year allows the Commission to assess what this change means and how to deal with it. ALYCE HANLEY, APUC, expressed appreciation to Senator Kelly in drafting and presenting SB 47. The Commission is in a tenuous position until SB 47 is passed because employees do not know their fate. As of April 1st the Commission's position worsens because ninety day periods of due process will no longer be available. She pointed out that an extension of APUC and the reenacting of the RCC as well as the new effective date are supported by APUC. She expressed concern with the language change in Section 1. The new language is the reason for the $60,000 fiscal note; the money would cover increased litigation due to challenges of the meaning of the language. She recommended, speaking on behalf of the APUC, deletion of Section 1. She urged movement of the bill. SENATOR MILLER asked which parties were those that compromised on Section 1, if the APUC is suggesting that section's deletion. JOSH FINK stated that he believed that the compromise was between APUC and other groups. This change occurred in the Senate Finance Committee. SENATOR MILLER urged the APUC to review its position in order not to slow this legislation. ALYCE HANLEY said that the Commission's main concern was to deal with this quickly. She reiterated the Commission's preference to keep the original language of Section 1, however, she recognized that in order for SB 47 to move quickly that may not happen. Number 349 SENATOR MILLER inquired as to the reasoning behind the increase in staff by one a year and the budget by $300,000 a year reflected in the fiscal note. ALYCE HANLEY believed that it was due to a recommendation when the Commission put the budget together. DON SCHOER explained that the budget and personnel increases are the result of the guidelines from Juneau on how to compute the five year statistics including three and a half percent inflation and expected population growth. He urged quick action and no amendments. JIM ROWE, Executive Director of the Alaska Telephone Association, discussed the history of SB 47 and the compromises that it contains. He expressed disappointment that the legislation was not passed last year. He stated the Association's support of SB 47 in its present form. Number 396 JIMMY JACKSON, GCI, reiterated that the main priority is quick passage of legislation reauthorizing APUC. He felt that a prompt reauthorization of the APUC would be in the best interest of the public. He expressed the need to have the issue of reauthorization in separate legislation. SB 47 addresses many issues as well as reauthorization of APUC. The language change in Section 1 of SB 47 is not in the best interest of the public. He stated that the world of utilities changes quickly and the Commission needs to adjust accordingly. The Commission cannot wait to receive authority from the legislature when problems arise that need to be solved quickly. He indicated that the new legislature should review the APUC. SENATOR KELLY stated that SB 47 would not receive too many amendments in this committee. He explained that APUC II had been introduced and hearings would be held on that legislation in order to deal with the amendments then. SENATOR SALO asked if the discussion over the language change in Section 1 of SB 47 would occur with APUC II. SENATOR KELLY anticipated that the language would not become a part of APUC II if it remains in SB 47. SENATOR MILLER moved SB 47 out of committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, it was so ordered. There being no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:07 p.m.