Legislature(1999 - 2000)

02/04/1999 01:35 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                                                                                  
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 35                                                                                                              
"An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Marine                                                                   
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                                                              
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                                                                      
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.                                                                              

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