Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/30/1996 03:02 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                  
 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           
          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           
 SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 3:22 p.m.                              

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