Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/30/1996 03:02 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 30, 1996 3:02 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman Senator John Torgerson, Vice Chairman Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Mike Miller Senator Jim Duncan COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 434(L&C) "An Act relating to unclaimed property; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 273 "An Act relating to Native handicrafts and other articles made in the state." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 434 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/30/96. SB 273 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/26/96. See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/30/96. WITNESS REGISTER Bob Bartholomew, Deputy Director Division of Income and Excise Audit P.O. Box 110420 Department of Revenue Juneau, AK 99811-0420 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 434. Senator Georgianna Lincoln State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 273. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-30, SIDE A Number 001 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 434(L&C) "An Act relating to unclaimed property; and providing for an effective date." CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 3:02 and announced HB 434 to be up for consideration. BOB BARTHOLOMEW, Deputy Director, Department of Revenue, said this legislation came from recommendations from employees who work in the unclaimed property program and from an audit done by the Office of Management and Budget. He explained that unclaimed property is basically property like money that has been left in savings accounts, deposits with utility companies that aren't refunded, etc. This will be the first significant update to the statute that passed 10 years ago. The changes streamline the requirements within the bill to make it more efficient for both businesses and State. There are letters of support from four businesses. He said it would reduce the workload for the State and with the saved time they will try to locate more owners and return property and make sure that all businesses that should be reporting to the State are. They added three guidelines to protect citizens who lose property for having to pay unreasonable amounts to fee finders. Those guidelines put a cap on the percentage that a fee finder could charge an owner to get their property back and it allows the State a two year window within which to return the property or for the owner to find it without a cost, and it also says you have to inform the person what they found so you would know what you were dealing with. This program puts about $2 million per year into the general fund. Over the last three years 3,000 people have had their property returned to them by the program, Mr. Bartholomew said. SENATOR KELLY noted that there were letters of support from Key Bank, Chugach Electric, and State Farm Insurance. MR. BARTHOLOMEW noted that those letters point out two issues. They are raising the dollar limit upon which you have to do the detailed tracking. If you lose under a $100 now the businesses and the State have to do a lot of detailed recordkeeping and tracking and they think it's getting to the point where it costs more to return the property than it's worth when it's under $100. The letters also supported the guidelines for the fee finders. SENATOR TORGERSON moved CSHB 434 (L&C) from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SB 273 NATIVE HANDICRAFTS & INSTATE PRODUCTS SENATOR KELLY announced SB 273 to be up for consideration. He noted there was a proposed CS. SENATOR LINCOLN, sponsor, said the CS accommodated the concern about retailers verifying articles coming into them for authenticity and would they be liable for it rather than the seller. She said the class B misdemeanor penalty was removed. In section 2, page 1, line 9 inserts "in the course of business" at "retail" to exempt people who choose to sell items from their private collections. The third item under AS45.65.064 was changed to require the artist to provide the certificate of origin to the buyer for any handicraft she sells at retail or wholesale for $50 or more. The reason they use $50 instead of $100 because one didn't know how much the article would actually sell for. That same section requires a person other than the maker of the handicraft who sells an authentic native handicraft at retail or wholesale for $100 or more to provide the buyer with a certificate of origin. Section C notices that the artist must prepare the certificate of origin and then states the seller who is not the maker is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents of the certificate. She agreed with this amendment because it puts the responsibility upon the maker of the item rather than the seller. SENATOR LINCOLN displayed several authentic and fake handicrafts to the committee to illustrate her point. SENATOR LINCOLN said that the reason for this legislation is because 80 percent of a $77.5 million was spent on arts and crafts in Alaska that are non-native made and in many instances, non- Alaskan. She is not saying they can't sell the fake things, but she is saying that someone who pays a lot of money for something can ask for a certificate of authenticity. She said there is no jail time, but the fine is changed from $1000 to $5000. It doesn't require a policeman. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt, but just a preponderance of evidence. Number 290 SENATOR SALO moved to adopt the CS to SB 273. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass CSSB 273 (L&C) from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 3:22 p.m.