Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/20/1996 01:45 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
               SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE                             
                       February 20, 1996                                       
                           1:45 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman                                                   
 Senator John Torgerson, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 All Present                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 197                                                           
 "An Act prohibiting increases in health insurance premiums if the             
 insured is a victim of domestic violence."                                    
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 119                                                           
 "An Act requiring conciliation panel review in a civil action                 
 against an architect, engineer, or land surveyor; and providing for           
 an effective date."                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 43                                                            
 "An Act relating to membership on the Board of Registration for               
 Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors; relating to registration           
 by the board; clarifying the meaning of practicing or offering to             
 practice architecture, engineering, or land surveying; deleting               
 teachers of post secondary land surveying courses from a                      
 registration exemption; and amending the definition of 'practice of           
 land surveying.'"                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 202                                                           
 "An Act relating to the State Board of Registration for Architects,           
 Engineers, and Land Surveyors."                                               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SB 197 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/15/96.                        
                                                                               
 SB 119 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 1/11/96.                        
                                                                               
 SB 43 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/7/95.                          
                                                                               
 SB 202 - See Senate Labor and Commerce Committee minutes dated                
          1/18/96.                                                             
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Mary Vollendorf, Legislative Aide                                             
 % Senator Loren Leman                                                         
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 119.                                   
                                                                               
 Catherine Reardon, Director                                                   
 Division of Occupational Licensing                                            
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development                               
 P.O. Box 110806                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0806                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Neutral position on SB 119.                            
                                                                               
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of SB 43.                                      
                                                                               
 Mike Taurianian                                                               
 Kenai, AK                                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported concept of SB 43.                            
                                                                               
 Barbara Hufftuckness                                                          
 Teamsters Local 959                                                           
 306 Willoughby                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:                                                          
                                                                               
 Merle Jantz, Vice Chairman                                                    
 AELS Board                                                                    
 1077 Vincent Ct.                                                              
 North Pole, AK 99705                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 43.                                       
                                                                               
 Sharon Macklin                                                                
 Alaska Professional Design Council                                            
 315 5th Ste., #8                                                              
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 43.                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 96-13, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
 SL&C 2/20/96                                                                  
                                                                               
          SB 197 INSURANCE FOR DOMESTIC VIOL. VICTIMS                         
                                                                              
 CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee                 
 meeting to order at 1:45 p.m. and announced  SB 197  to be up for             
 consideration.                                                                
                                                                               
 SHERMAN ERNOUF, Legislative Aide to Senator Kelly, said there was             
 no opposition to the CS.                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN moved to adopt the CS to SB 197.  There were no                
 objections and it was so ordered.                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN moved to pass CSSB 197 (L&C) from Committee with               
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
 ordered.                                                                      
 SL&C 2/20/96                                                                  
 Number 50                                                                     
                                                                               
        SB 119 MANDATORY MEDIATION/DESIGN PROF LAWSUITS                       
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY announced  SB 119  to be up for consideration.                
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN asked who the parties were involved in drafting the            
 legislation.  MR. ERNOUF replied Senator Leman, Colin Maynard,                
 design professionals, and the court system.  He had heard no                  
 objections from trial attorneys.                                              
 SENATOR LEMAN explained that one change in the CS is that an issue            
 goes to the panel before it is filed in court.  The other is that             
 each party puts up $450 which pays for the cost of the panelists.             
 It is consistent with the model law the American Consulting                   
 Engineers Counsel has been using in other states.                             
                                                                               
 MARY VOLLENDORF, Legislative Aide to Senator Leman,  explained that           
 there was no cost to the State and that $450 would be put up front            
 by each of the parties and depending on the outcome, the parties              
 would pay the remaining cost to the panel.                                    
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Occupational Licensing, commented that           
 the Department of Law testified on a similar bill and had some                
 legal concerns.  From her point of view the bill is fiscally                  
 neutral.  She said that it would be her Division's responsibility             
 to choose a chairperson and it would then be his responsibility to            
 choose the other two members of the panel.  She questioned whether            
 it would be possible to find attorneys for $300 per panel, but she            
 said her Division could administer it.                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if this bill was legal.  MS. REARDON replied              
 that she thought it was legal for the State to pay initially and              
 then be reimbursed from program receipts.  It wasn't one of the               
 issues raised by the Attorney General's Office.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN asked how the State would collect if someone refused           
 to pay.  MS. REARDON replied that in the other bill, not paying               
 after the fact would be grounds for discipline of a licensee and              
 she referred to the language on page 7, line 12 which said further            
 that if a claimant fails to deposit funds required, the Department            
 would impose a civil penalty of $1,000 against the claimant.  She             
 assumed the State would have to go to court to collect in most                
 cases.                                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN said he would like to see comments from the                    
 Department of Law in writing.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 175                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if she supported the CS.  MS. REARDON replied             
 that she was neutral.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO questioned whether the statute of limitations language           
 was new on page 7.  SENATOR LEMAN replied that language was not in            
 the original bill.  SENATOR SALO asked what it meant.  SENATOR                
 LEMAN answered that it extends the statute of limitations until 30            
 days after the date of the decision of the panel, but it can't stop           
 for more than six months.  This is so that it can't be used to let            
 the statute of limitations run out.                                           
                                                                               
 MS. VOLLENDORF said the statute of limitations language was from              
 model legislation and Mike Ford, Legislative Legal Counsel, had               
 explained that depending on whether it was contractual or tort, the           
 statute of limitations would be stopped until the decision of the             
 panel was reached.  There would be 30 days after the panel made its           
 decision to either file a claim in court or if the decision had not           
 been made within six months, the statute of limitations would start           
 running again.                                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY stated that they were waiting to hear from the                  
 Department of Law and said they would set the bill aside.                     
 SL&C 2/20/96                                                                  
                                                                               
          SB  43 ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS, LAND SURVEYORS                        
                                                                              
 SENATOR KELLY announced  SB 43  to be up for consideration.  He said          
 he heard of an additional problem that had just come up.                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN, sponsor of SB 43, said one of the differences in the           
 "f" version and the bill they heard last year was in section 1.               
 Last year the Board requested flexibility for "a governor's                   
 appointment of an engineer" and that had been changed to "two civil           
 engineers, and the three other engineering positions would be                 
 selected from other branches of the profession.  The mining                   
 engineers who are currently named in statute objected.  As an                 
 alternative the bill offers to say that one engineer be selected              
 from mining, chemical, or petroleum engineering, the three smallest           
 categories, as opposed to electrical, mechanical, and civil.  This            
 would assure that at all times there would be a mining, chemical,             
 or petroleum engineer on the Board.                                           
                                                                               
 The other change, SENATOR LEMAN said, is in section four, which               
 Senator Duncan had suggested, to provide for a retired status                 
 registration.  It would not authorize practice, but would enable              
 retired engineers to have a procedure whereby they could become               
 active, if they wanted to.  He thought that reflected well on the             
 many engineers who have retired in this State who would like to               
 maintain their license without necessarily paying the full fee each           
 year.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Version "g" is different only in section 1 which is deleted.                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN said it has been increasingly difficult, because of             
 the small category of mining engineers, to find someone who is                
 willing and able to serve.  He said the Board spends a lot of time            
 reviewing applications for registration and it leaves the smallest            
 category with a mining engineer with the least amount of work to              
 do, because there aren't that many new people applying for                    
 registration in mining engineering.  There are many in the                    
 categories of civil, mechanical, and electrical.                              
                                                                               
 Number 300                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY asked the Committee if they had a version preference.           
 SENATOR MILLER said he preferred the "g" version.                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if there were any other changes from the                  
 original bill in the "g" version.  SHERMAN ERNOUF, Legislative Aide           
 to Senator Tim Kelly, said the "Duncan amendment" was the only one.           
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked what was the composition of the panel.  SENATOR            
 LEMAN replied that it would be one person who is experienced in the           
 settlement of disputes, one attorney, and one professional                    
 architect, engineer, or land surveyor.                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked, regarding section 4, if the retired status                
 people with a license for a continuing practice, could serve on the           
 panel.  SENATOR LEMAN said he didn't think so the way the bill is             
 currently written.  SENATOR SALO remarked that they would probably            
 be very good to serve on a panel.  SENATOR LEMAN agreed saying he             
 would want to look at that further, but thought that they should              
 have had to practice in Alaska before serving.                                
                                                                               
 Number 338                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved to adopt the version "g" committee substitute.           
 There were no objections and it was so ordered.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN asked for clarification on how the committee                   
 substitute was different other than the retired status.  SENATOR              
 LEMAN replied that sections 1 and 2 are revisor's changes.  Section           
 4 is the insertion of the word "or" on page 3, line 2.  The                   
 Department of Law said it is difficult to enforce the Board's                 
 statutes without that word unless a person violates all three of              
 the provisions.                                                               
                                                                               
 Section 5 was brought to the Board by the land surveyors.  It takes           
 out the exemption of land surveying teaching in a post secondary              
 educational institution.  The institution would have to have a                
 registered land surveyor.  They need this to elevate the status of            
 land surveying.  There are also some definition changes in the                
 practice of land surveying that bring it more up to date with                 
 current practice.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 369                                                                    
                                                                               
 MIKE TAURIANIAN, Soldotna, said he supported the concept of the               
 bill.  His concern was the small number of mining engineers to pick           
 from, roughly five percent of all engineers, and the difficulty in            
 not only getting someone to serve, but in providing geographical              
 distribution. Electrical and mechanical engineers are about 33                
 percent of the total.  So he requested restoring that language,               
 dropping mining engineer and adding "three engineers from other               
 branches of the profession of engineering."                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY said this committee had already made a policy call on           
 that language, but this bill will go through several more                     
 committees and he would have an opportunity to address that issue             
 again.                                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. TAURIANIAN said he supported the retired status and he hoped              
 language would be adopted regarding the engineers who come to                 
 Alaska and retire without working here first.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 406                                                                    
                                                                               
 MERLE JANTZ, Vice Chairman, AELS Board, said they recently voted              
 unanimously to support SB 43.  He said he was very glad they are              
 looking at the retired status issue.                                          
                                                                               
 Regarding section 1, he felt that they need the expertise while               
 reviewing applications.  SENATOR KELLY explained they had already             
 made that policy call and he could testify on that issue in the               
 next committee of referral.                                                   
                                                                               
 SHARON MACKLIN, Alaska Professional Design Council, said there has            
 been a concern raised having to do with the land surveying issue.             
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN questioned language in section 1 of "g".  SENATOR              
 LEMAN noted that the other section was the one he considered to be            
 a revisor's section, because it was referring to an entity that               
 doesn't exist anymore.  He wanted to hear what the Board wanted to            
 do to establish evidence of practice for registration.  He thought            
 it would be consistent with some of the changes in sections 5 and             
 6 about upgrading the profession of land surveying.                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY commented that upgrading and closing the door might             
 be a touchy subject.  He asked if by deleting that language,                  
 engineers could be required to have more than eight years                     
 experience before they get a license.  SENATOR LEMAN replied that             
 it would be the equivalent of what the Board requires of other                
 professions.                                                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN said he was concerned with the necessity of that               
 section.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if anyone else wanted to testify on this bill.            
                                                                               
 BARBARA HUFF, Teamsters Local 959, said they have concerns with the           
 amount of time they are looking at with land surveyors.  She                  
 requested that their staff who actually head up the land surveyors            
 school in Anchorage, a four year program, have an opportunity to              
 discuss this issue further.  Their major concern is the additional            
 training could negatively impact rural individuals and their                  
 ability to get fully trained or qualified in the field and to be              
 able to function in that profession.                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY said he did not want to hold up the bill                        
 unnecessarily, but he wanted to see that question addressed before            
 the bill left the Committee and said they would hear it again next            
 Tuesday.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN noted that they should also look at the retired                
 status language so people couldn't just move to the State and get             
 retired status.                                                               
 SL&C 2/20/06                                                                  
                                                                               
        SB 119 MANDATORY MEDIATION/DESIGN PROF LAWSUITS                       
                                                                              
 SENATOR KELLY announced  SB 119  to be before the Committee again.            
 MS. REARDON said she had called the Assistant Attorney General,               
 Theresa Williams, who was out of the office.  She offered to carry            
 questions to her or to paraphrase from her notes from the other               
 hearing.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN said he would like to have something in writing from           
 the Department of Laws at some point in the process.  SENATOR KELLY           
 noted that it has a Judiciary Committee referral and since it is              
 basically a legal question, he wanted to move it on to that                   
 Committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved to pass CSSB 119 (L&C) with individual                   
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             
                                                                               
 SL&C 2/20/96                                                                  
                                                                               
           SB 202 ARCHITECTS/ENGINEERS/LAND SURVEYORS                         
                                                                              
 SENATOR KELLY announced  SB 202  to be up for consideration.  He              
 explained in this bill architect/engineers/land surveyors were                
 asking for autonomy from the State Occupational Licensing Division.           
 This has come up with other Boards and Commissions and there is               
 some reluctance on the part of the State and the Legislature to do            
 that.  However, he thought it was something that need to be looked            
 into during the interim as he didn't think it would be resolved               
 right away.                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 2:25 p.m.                              
                                                                               

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