Legislature(1999 - 2000)
02/04/1999 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 COMMITTEE February 4, 1999 1:35 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Jerry Mackie, Chairman Senator Tim Kelly, Vice Chairman Senator Dave Donley Senator Loren Leman Senator Lyman Hoffman MEMBERS ABSENT None COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 35 "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Marine Pilots." SENATE BILL NO. 29 "An Act relating to licensure of physicians; and providing for an effective date." -SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 35 - No previous Senate action. WITNESS REGISTER Catherine Reardon Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce & Economic Development PO Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99811-0806 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 35 Peter Christensen Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce & Economic Development PO Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99811-0806 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 35 Tom Dundas Alaska Marine Pilots PO Box 920226 Dutch Harbor, AK 99692 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 35 Kate Tesar Alaska Coastwise Pilots PO Box 22754 Juneau, AK 99802 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 35 Mike O'Hara Southwest Alaska Pilots Assn. PO Box 977 Homer, AK 99603 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 35 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 99-1, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN MACKIE called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. Present were Senators Hoffman, Donley, Tim Kelly, Leman and Mackie, Chair. The first order of business to come before the committee was SB 35. SB 35-EXTEND BOARD OF MARINE PILOTS SENATOR DRUE PEARCE, sponsor of SB 35, explained the measure extends the Board of Marine Pilots, which was created in 1970, to the year 2004. The Oil Spill Commission was created by former Senator Jan Faiks after the Exxon Valdez incident. That commission made six or seven recommendations to the Marine Pilotage Act. In 1991 those recommendations were reviewed and the Act was amended in 1991 and 1994. The Board's most recent audit was clean, but recommended that a database be created, which is underway. The audit also recommended the Board look at currency regulations similar to those required in the airline industry. The marine pilots' license fee is the highest in the state because the board is self-supporting and there are a relatively small number of pilots in the state. Marine pilots also pay for their required training, which is very time consuming. CATHERINE REARDON, Director of the Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED), stated that DCED strongly supports the continuation of the Board of Marine Pilots. SB 35 has a zero fiscal note with an acknowledgment that the money to fund the program is in DCED's Base 2000 budget. Number 107 SENATOR LEMAN indicated he had no fiscal note in his packet, and asked how many pilots are members of the board, and what the license fees are. CHAIRMAN MACKIE informed committee members the fiscal note was just received would be copied for members before action is taken on the bill. PETE CHRISTENSEN, Marine Pilot Coordinator for the Board of Marine Pilots, added that the Board supports SB 35 as is. SENATOR DONLEY asked how many of the marine pilots licensed in Alaska are residents of Alaska. MR. CHRISTENSEN replied approximately 75 percent. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked how many of the nonresident pilots will be affected by the currency requirement. MR. CHRISTENSEN said it depends on how the Board implements that requirement. All marine pilots will go through the evaluation system, therefore living out-of-state would not bring on different qualification requirements. SENATOR TIM KELLY asked what the cost of an annual license is. MS. REARDON replied marine pilots pay a license fee of $2,000. The fee was $4500 two years ago. SENATOR KELLY asked if that covers the $112,000 operating cost of the Board. MS. REARDON replied DCED is rolling forward some surpluses and deficits now, so that fee may take into account a surplus that board had. SENATOR KELLY asked if the fees are adjusted annually, depending on the costs involved. MS. REARDON said the fees are set by the public regulation adoption process which occurs every two years. SENATOR KELLY asked if the fee is $1,000 per year, and how many pilots are licensed. MS. REARDON said $1,000 is correct and there are about 80 pilots. MR. CHRISTENSEN said there could be 81, but expects through retirement the number is actually 78. MS. REARDON added that agents are also licensed through this program. Their fee is $800 every two years. MR. CHRISTENSEN noted a vessel agent is someone who has the right to procure pilotage services on behalf of the agent's principles and act as a go-between for the vessels and pilotage services. SENATOR DONLEY asked how many Alaska residents are licensed pilots in other states. MS. REARDON said she did not. SENATOR DONLEY asked if there is a dichotomy between what other states charge out-of-state and in-state residents. Neither MS. REARDON nor MR. CHRISTIANSEN knew. CHAIRMAN MACKIE stated Commercial Fisheries Entry permits are more expensive for out-of-state residents. He asked if that has ever been discussed at the board level. MS. REARDON responded DCED cannot charge a different fee for non- residents without specific statutory authority to do so. The statute governing collection agents and hunting guide programs requires out-of-state residents to pay double the amount in-state residents pay. DCED is required to charge fees to cover regulatory costs and those costs are not necessarily affected by residency. Number 185 SENATOR DONLEY asked Ms. Reardon to provide answers to his questions when the bill is heard in the Finance Committee. TOM DUNDAS, President of Alaska Marine Pilots, spoke in support of SB 35 as written. The Act has been working well, and the Alaska Marine Pilots has been able to establish long-term contracts with customers. Jeff Bush, the Chairman of the Board, is very good at involving pilots and industry in the creation of regulations. KATE TESAR, representing Alaska Coastwise Pilots, stated support for SB 35 as written. Alaska Coastwise Pilots was involved in a lot of contentious problems with the Board of Marine Pilots in the early 1990's, however the contentions have been removed and the Board is working smoothly and doing its job. Number 244 MIKE O'HARA, President of the Southwest Alaska Pilots, stated support for SB 35 as written. He agreed with previous speakers that the battles among marine pilots are over. SENATOR KELLY moved SB 35 out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR LEMAN asked if anyone would object to extending the board for four years instead of five to stay within the policy established for sunset bills. SENATOR PEARCE said the auditors recommended a five year date based on how far the board has come, and because they do not see a good public purpose for constant extensions if no review is necessary. However, she said the five year date was probably based on the likelihood this bill would not pass until next year. SENATOR LEMAN moved to change the extension date from 2004 to 2003. There being no objection, the motion carried. There being no discussion or objection to moving CSSB 35(L&C) from committee with individual recommendations, CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced the motion carried. CHAIRMAN MACKIE adjourned the meeting at 1:52 p.m.