Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/11/2000 01:55 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 11, 2000 1:55 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Jerry Mackie, Chairman Senator Dave Donley Senator Loren Leman Senator Lyman Hoffman MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Tim Kelly, Vice Chairman COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 105(FIN)"An Act providing for the licensing of speech-language pathologists; relating to fees paid by audiologists and speech-language pathologists; and providing for an effective date." -MOVED SCS CSHB 105(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 363(FIN) "An Act relating to salmon product reports and to the sale of fish; and providing for an effective date." -MOVED SCS CSHB 363(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 130 "An Act adding limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships to the organizations that can be authorized to practice architecture, engineering, land surveying, and landscape architecture; and relating to state and municipal contracts for architectural, engineering, land surveying, and landscape architectural services." -MOVED SCSHB 130 (L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 284(JUD) am "An Act relating to uninsured and underinsured motor vehicle insurance; and providing for an effective date." -SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 382(L&C) "An Act relating to the licensing of social workers and to the use of the title 'social worker' without a license; and providing for an effective date." -MOVED SCS HB 382(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 416 "An Act relating to insurance coverage for prostate cancer screening." -HEARD AND HELD CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 420(FIN)(efd pfld) "An Act relating to tourism marketing contracts; and providing for an effective date." -MOVED SCS CSHB 420(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 420 - No previous Senate action. HB 416 - No previous Senate action. HB 382 - No previous Senate action. HB 130 - No previous Senate action. HB 363 - No previous Senate action. HB 105 - No previous Senate action. WITNESS REGISTER Ms. Patti Swenson Staff to Representative Con Bunde Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on CSHB 105. Ms. Joanie Waller Staff to Representative Alan Austerman Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on CSHB 363. Mr. Brett Fried Economist Income & Excise Audit Division Department of Revenue P.O. Box 110420 Juneau, AK 99811-0420 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 363. Ms. Janet Seitz Staff to Representative Norman Rokeberg Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 130. Ms. Myrna McGhie Staff to Representative Jeannette James Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 382. Ms. Catherine Reardon, Director Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Community and Economic Development P.O. Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 382. Ms. Melinda Hofstad Staff to Representative Bill Hudson Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 416. Mr. Joe Balash Staff to Representative Gene Therriault Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 420. Ms. Ginny Fay, Acting Director Division of Tourism Department of Community and Economic Development P.O. Box 110801 Juneau, Ak 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 420. Ms. Ann Campbell, Chairman Alaska Travel Association POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSHB 420. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 00-14, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN MACKIE called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 1:55 p.m. Present were Senators Mackie, Leman, Donley, and Hoffman. The first order of business to come before the committee was CSHB 105(FIN). HB 105-LICENSING SPEECH PATHOLOGY/AUDIOLOGY MS. PATTI SWENSON, staff to Representative Con Bunde, stated the purpose of CSHB 105(FIN) is to improve the standards for speech pathologists within the State. Speech pathologists are required to take a national exam and follow national clinical competency guidelines. CSHB 105)FIN) is supported at the State and national levels. CHAIRMAN MACKIE stated a proposed Senate Labor & Commerce committee substitute (CS) has been drafted. Some small school districts expressed concern that, because of their size, they must rely on contract services to provide speech pathology services. They are concerned that CSHB 105(FIN) will directly increase costs and further restrict the supply of professionals available to serve their needs. The proposed CS will exempt school district employees and contractors who practice speech language pathology in the district from the new licensing requirements (in Section 16 on page 8). The qualification standards for these individuals will remain under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education and Early Development (DOEED). MS. SWENSON stated Representative Bunde supports the CS. SENATOR DONLEY moved to adopt SCS CSHB 105(L&C) (Version M). Without objection, the motion carried. SENATOR LEMAN asked if any changes would be made to the boards. MS. SWENSON stated the fiscal note combines fees from the 25 speech language pathologists and 45 audiologists to bring the price of licensing down and they will all be working under the same group of people. SENATOR LEMAN asked if a speech pathologist will be added to the board. MS. SWENSON answered "No." Catherine Reardon, Director of the Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Community and Economic Development, stated support for the bill. SENATOR LEMAN moved SCS CSHB 105 (L&C) (Version M) with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. Without objection, the motion carried. HB 363-SALMON PRICE REPORTS/SALE OF FISH MS. JOANIE WALLER, staff to Representative Alan Austerman, explained that CSHB 363(FIN) expands the existing wholesale canned salmon price report compiled by the Department of Revenue (DOR) to include data on all salmon products including fresh, frozen, and roe. CSHB 363(FIN) will rename the report "The Alaska Salmon Price Report" (ASPR). The report will capture the bulk of Alaska's commercial salmon trade in a timely and accurate manner. MS. WALLER pointed out that the current statute requires processors who sell 240,000 pounds or more of canned salmon in a calendar year to report three times each year. The bill changes the recording threshold to 1 million pounds, which will account for 97 percent of all salmon products in Alaska. The ASPR will reflect the changing times in this industry. At this time, there is no reliable source of fresh and frozen fisheries data. CSHB 363(FIN) will give Alaskans a clear picture of the salmon industry - one of Alaska's largest industries and revenue sources. This legislation pertains to the accuracy of the information available to the State. MS. WALLER noted CSHB 363(FIN) is the direct outcome of recommendations made at in-depth forums that State agencies, processors, and fishermen attended. All agreed that processors and fishermen would share information on short and long term marketing strategies. MR. BRETT FRIED, Economist for the Income & Excise Audit Division, Department of Revenue (DOR), stated DOR does not have a position on the collection of data for the Alaska Salmon Price Reports, but it does not see is as a function of the DOR because there is no direct link with taxation. DOR taxes fish at the ex-vessel level, which is what the fishermen are paid. This report is at the wholesale level and records what the buyers pay to the processors. DOR believes it can do a good job meeting the requirements of the bill. DOR's fiscal note contains funding for a three-quarter time position at a cost of $38,100. DOR will also have a one-year capital expenditure of $20,000 to set up a database that it currently does not need. The number of processors who report will probably increase from 12 to about 32. SENATOR LEMAN asked if DOR could establish an electronic format for processor reporting instead of spending $20,000 to set up a database. He surmised that electronic reporting would negate the need for an employee to enter data in the database. MR. FRIED said that would be great and would reduce the cost; however, if DOR uses an electronic format, everyone will have to report that way otherwise DOR will need two systems. SENATOR LEMAN thought any business that moves one million pounds of product probably has the capacity to enter data electronically or hire someone to do it by contract. He noted he will hear this bill again in the Senate Finance Committee and he is interested in looking at ways to decrease the fiscal note. CHAIRMAN MACKIE said the Committee would take up the amendment regarding the three-year sunset date. He explained the original bill has a sunset date of July 1, 2003; Section 13 repeals that date on page 5, line 20. SENATOR LEMAN said that is correct. He moved to delete Section 13 to restore the sunset date. MS. WALLER said the sponsor supports the amendment. CHAIRMAN MACKIE stated this bill is the start of an ongoing process to bring fishermen and processors together and, although it does not do everything, certain issues can be addressed in the future. CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced the amendment was adopted with no objections. SENATOR LEMAN moved to pass SCS CSHB 363(L&C) from committee with individual recommendations. With no objections, it was so ordered. HB 130-ARCHITECTS/ENGINEERS/LAND SURVEYORS CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced HB 130 to be up for consideration. MS. JANET SEITZ, aide to Representative Norman Rokeberg, said HB 130 makes additions to the statutes regarding the Architects, Engineers, Land Surveyors and Landscape Architecture (AELS) Board. In addition to individual licenses, this particular board has requirements that certain businesses can register and have a license as long as they have a designated person in charge. Over the years the Legislature has authorized limited liability companies (LLC) and limited liability partnerships (LLP) as forms of businesses. The Department of Law (DOL) advised the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) that DCED cannot register these types of LLCs under current law. HB 130 permits DCED to allow those businesses to practice in the same manner as corporations do. Consumer protection and license accountability are maintained. In addition, when the landscape architecture language was added to the AELS Board, language was not picked up in the contract section of AS 36.90.100. Section 11 adds them to the section. The bill is supported by the Board and The Alaska Professional Design Council. CHAIRMAN MACKIE noted a Senate Labor and Commerce Committee substitute (CS) was prepared. He noted the Board requested statutory language that requires a licensed architect or engineer do project review, inspection or approval. The Department of Public Safety has also requested a similar change for the Fire Marshall's Office. Finally, he received some interest from municipal building inspectors. He noted the corrections are located in Section (13) on page 9. The Division of Occupational Licensing and the Fire Marshall's Office support this addition. The change has been circulated to all other entities expressing interest in the bill and all were in agreement. MS. SEITZ said that Representative Rokeberg supports the committee substitute. SENATOR LEMAN noted that on page 9, line 19, the word "relating" should be "related" and they should send a note to the drafter. SENATOR LEMAN moved to adopt the CS. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR LEMAN moved to report SCSHB 139(L&C) from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. HB 284-UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE CHAIRMAN MACKIE noted that the sponsor of HB 284 requested that HB 284 be removed from today's agenda. HB 382-SOCIAL WORKER LICENSING CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced HB 382 to be up for consideration. MS. MYRNA MCGHIE, aide to Representative James, sponsor, told the Committee that Representative James introduced legislation in 1998 that prohibits the use of the title of "social worker" to be used without a license. That legislation also established the minimum qualifications for each level of social work licensure. Since enacted, DFYS found the restrictions in the bill to have created hiring problems. Social workers needed time to meet the new licensing requirements. Representative James introduced HB 382 to amend the current laws to allow temporary licensing for up to one year for newly hired social workers providing they have met all necessary requirements other than the licensing exam. MS. CATHERINE REARDON, Director of the Division of Occupational Licensing, DCED, expressed support for HB 382. With no further testimony or questions, SENATOR DONLEY moved HB 382 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. HB 416-PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced HB 416 to be up for consideration. MS. MELINDA HOFSTAD, aide to Representative Bill Hudson, informed Committee members that Representative Hudson asked the House HESS Committee to introduce this legislation at the request of a 47 year old constituent who is a four-year survivor of advanced prostate cancer. HB 416 lowers the age for required insurance coverage for an annual prostate cancer screening from 50 to 40 for the general male population. In the case of high risk individuals, the screening age is lowered from the present age of 40 to 35. "High risk" is defined in this legislation to include men who have a family history of prostate cancer and African-Americans who are 32 times more likely to contract the disease. Prostate cancer in men under age 65 tends to be more aggressive in nature and, by lowering the ages, earlier screening will provide earlier treatment, saving lives and suffering. HB 416 passed the House unanimously and insurance company representatives who have testified have no objections to it. SENATOR DONLEY moved to pass HB 416 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. HB 420-TOURISM MARKETING CONTRACTS CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced HB 420 to be up for consideration. MR. JOE BALASH, aide to Representative Therriault, said HB 420 makes some adjustments to a piece of legislation that passed last year (SB 107). HB 420 will require DCED to contract with a qualified trade association on or before May of each fiscal year. Under the current law, most negotiating would be occurring during June and July, the peak months of the tourism season. To make that change, new transition language had to be included in HB 420. CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced that a Senate Labor and Commerce CS was drafted. SENATOR LEMAN moved to adopt Version H as the Senate Labor and Commerce committee substitute to HB 420. There were no objections and it was so ordered. MR. BALASH highlighted the changes in the Senate Labor and Commerce CS. He said the contract date is changed from August to April 1 in Sections 1 and 2. In Section 3, the transition language directs DCED to identify and issue its central components for the contract by May 1 for the FY01 contract. The qualified trade association (QTA) would then put together a marketing campaign plan and submit that to DCED by June 15. The format and detail of the marketing campaign plan should be similar to DCED's FY00 action plan, which was the best they could come up with. The contracts should be signed by July 1. This addresses the concerns DCED had with other versions of this legislation. In future years the transition steps are not part of the legislation. SENATOR MACKIE asked when the central components will have to be issued by. MR. BALASH replied by May 1. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked if the contract must be signed by July 1. MR. BALASH said that is correct. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked about future years. MR. BALASH replied that in future years the transition steps will not apply. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked what will happen next year in terms of the deadline. MR. BALASH answered that the deadline is April 1, 2001 for a contract to be entered into for FY02. Number 1712 SENATOR LEMAN noted that the effective date failed in the House. He asked if the new transition language covers the challenges so that if this version passes the Senate, it will pass the House. MR. BALASH said his understanding of why the effective date failed is that DCED and members of the minority felt that May 1 for the current negotiations is too soon. That date was then pushed to July 1, which DCED staff said would be acceptable. MS. GINNY FAY, Deputy Director of the Division of Tourism, had not seen the committee substitute but, after a quick review, said she did not see a problem with the deadlines. This year DCED actually gave the QTAs the essential components during the second week of February. She thought that DCED would give the components to the qualifying associations earlier next year. She noted DCED always hoped to have a contract signed by July 1 and that the Legislature chose the August 1 date. MS. ANN CAMPBELL, Chair of the Alaska Travel Association (ATA), stated support for the committee substitute. She said that April 1 is an important date for them and she thought they could work with the June 15 deadline to get the campaign to DCED in time to sign the contracts by July 1. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked if she could comment on the whole process of meeting with DCED. He said his understanding is that the industry's membership drive is going very well. MS. CAMPBELL responded that it is a little early, but that things seem to be working well regarding new members. The ATA has some fundamental differences with the DCED in terms of the level of detail that has to go into marketing plans and contracts and fundamental differences in terms of decision making. She did not know how long the process will really take. The ATA has agreed to some of the "big picture" goals for the program but how long it will take to grind out the details of the contract remains to be seen. ATA is committed to having its marketing plan ready by June 15. SENATOR MACKIE asked Ms. Fay if she saw any major obstacles that might cause a problem regarding the contract. MS. FAY answered that the ATA has had the components and goals for two months. They have been meeting to discuss how to measure success. She did not think DCED could move forward to put together a contract until she sees a marketing plan, which will take time. That is what she is waiting for. SENATOR MACKIE asked if she thought that could be accomplished under the time line in the bill. MS. FAY said it is a pretty tight time line. She commented the June 15 deadline to submit a marketing plan will give DCED two weeks for review which is very tight. She stated she would like the deadline for the marketing plans to be earlier to give DCED more time, especially since the components were provided in February. CHAIRMAN MACKIE said he was the prime sponsor of the legislation last year and it was clearly the intent of the legislature to turn over the marketing to this group. He hoped that DCED is not trying to exercise all the controls it had before and that it will allow the group to do the marketing. MS. FAY stated it is the Legislature's prerogative. She reiterated that it is a short amount of time given the level of importance of the issue. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked, in terms of the makeup of the organization, how she felt about the concerns DCED had about the small tour operators. MS. FAY said that the sectors had been represented, although there were comments that rural Alaska hadn't been represented. SENATOR LEMAN asked what a more reasonable time frame would be to review the plan and prepare the contract. MS. FAY replied that she hoped to see a marketing plan before June 15. She suggested June 1. SENATOR LEMAN thought more time would be reasonable and suggested rolling the other dates back. CHAIRMAN MACKIE commented that the transition dates were changed because of the concerns DCED had about not being able to meet the original deadlines. He said the industry and trade groups will write the marketing contract and do the marketing. If one believes DCED will be doing that, the bill should not have been introduced in the first place. He asked Ms. Campbell to comment on the fact that she requested the CS to accommodate concerns DCED had with meeting the original deadlines. MR. BALASH said that is correct and explained the June 15 date was given as a yardstick and the May 1 deadline was offered to give the QTA six weeks to finalize a marketing plan together after the components are determined. The ATA's hope was that the QTA membership at large could comment on this which is why the longer period of time was thought to be beneficial to the small business owners. CHAIRMAN MACKIE said his understanding was that there has been a huge response in terms of the membership wanting to be part of it but there is still a significant portion of the potential membership that first wants to see what the marketing contract will look like. He pointed out they are having to build support within the potential membership and craft a contract that is acceptable to the State based on the essential components. TAPE 00-14, SIDE B Number 2400 MS. FAY said she is confused because although DCED already produced the essential components in early February, it appears to say they might have to be redone. MR. BALASH replied that he was under the impression there had been some negotiations between industry and the Department about what the components would be. The intent of the sponsor is to have the components finalized by May 1 and then to give the industry an opportunity to develop the marketing plan and allow their membership to see it and comment. CHAIRMAN MACKIE said if there are any other issues with the Department, the date certain of May 1 gives the QTA six weeks to put together a marketing plan and present it to its membership for approval. After that, there will be a couple of weeks to do the negotiating and sign the contract. MR. BALASH agreed with that. MS. FAY noted the ATA Board adopted the components given to it by DCED on February 17. She questioned whether this legislation undoes that process. CHAIRMAN MACKIE said it does not, it just provides two more weeks to address anything else that remains unresolved. He noted the marketing plan could be submitted much earlier than June 15 unless DCED comes up with more issues. MS. FAY said she just wanted to be clear about whether she is being asked to redo something she is already done because someone is not happy with what she has done. CHAIRMAN MACKIE said he is not aware of what she has given them and he has not asked. He pointed out if she feels she has given them all of the components then the May 1 deadline means nothing. He said everyone is interested in the same end result so it is not necessary to read things into the dates. SENATOR HOFFMAN asked how the time lines affect the signing of the contract as they relate to fundraising the matching funds required for the contract. Number 2216 MS. CAMPBELL replied that they are on track for raising the required 30% matching funds (around $2 million). The issue is when they will contribute the match to the program. Some of it will be raised in the spring and summer and some of it would be raised in the fall and winter. CHAIRMAN MACKIE said they will not get the dollars until they have the match, whether it is in installments or whatever they work out with the Department. He pointed out there are no set time lines because it takes time to raise that kind of money. SENATOR LEMAN moved to pass SCSHB 420(L&C) from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN MACKIE adjourned the meeting at 3:00 p.m.