Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/20/2000 01:40 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 20, 2000 1:40 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 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 291(STA) "An Act relating to the giving of certain state agency notices." -MOVED CSHB 291(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 291 - No previous Senate action. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Beth Kerttula Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime sponsor of HB 291. Deborah Behr Assistant Attorney General Department of Law PO Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports CSHB 291(STA) as is. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 00-17, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN MACKIE called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 1:40 p.m. Present were Senators Donley, Tim Kelly, Hoffman and Chair Mackie. HB 291 was before the committee. [NOTE: THE FIRST FOUR MINUTES OF THE MEETING WERE NOT RECORDED.] HB 291-ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE NOTICES Representative Beth Kerttula, prime sponsor of HB 291, explained that HB 291 updates the Administrative Procedures Act so that administrative procedure notices will now be available and distributed via electronic format to legislative offices. Paper copies will be distributed upon request. MS. DEBORAH BEHR, Assistant Attorney General, informed committee members that the Department of Law sees no legal problems with the bill and that the Administration supports the measure. The committee took an at-ease from 1:44 p.m. to 1:46 p.m. SENATOR LEMAN moved to adopt Amendment 1 which applies to legal advertising. Currently, the Departments of Natural Resources (DNR), Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF) place full length advertisements in newspapers. Amendment 1 removes three of the required elements of legal advertisements because they can be delivered through handouts to interested parties or via an electronic format. Amendment 1 allows departments to place advertisements in newspapers, trade or industry publications or broadcasts that only include: AS 44.62.200 (a)(1) a statement of the time, place, and nature of proceedings for adoption, amendment, or repeal of the regulation; (a)(4) other matters prescribed by a statute applicable to the specific agency or to the specific regulation or class of regulations; and (a)(6) a brief general description of the proposed subject of agency action, how more detailed information may be obtained, and the name of the agency contact person; (6 is new language). The elements dropped from printed or broadcast notices by Amendment 1 are: AS 44.62.200 (a)(2) reference to the authority under which the regulation is proposed and a reference to the particular code section or other provisions of law that are being implemented, interpreted, or made specific; (a)(3) an informative summary of the proposed subject of agency action; (a)(5) a summary of the fiscal information required to be prepared under AS 44.62.195. SENATOR LEMAN indicated that Amendment 1 is an idea that was proposed by the Administration several years ago. All three departments support it and, in fact, DOTPF already does it. Commissioner Shively of DNR told him last week that he would like to go farther than Amendment 1 to reduce DNR's cost of advertising. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said she spoke to the Lt. Governor's Office staff who pointed out that at this point the Administration is in support of Amendment 1. She noted she supports the general idea of going toward e-mail and electronic notices but many people in rural Alaska still depend on newspapers to learn about legal notices. She cautioned that Alaska is not ready for that step yet. She added that Amendment 1 will not save money and it would add a fiscal note to the bill. In addition, Representative Kerttula said Amendment 1 will prevent the measure from being enacted. For those reasons she opposes it. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked Senator Leman if any other piece of legislation deals with this topic. SENATOR LEMAN replied various bills have dealt with this issue and other committees have amended them but the legislation did not progress. He was looking for a vehicle that was moving along. The Committee took a brief at-ease from 1:49 p.m. to 1:54 p.m. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked a representative of the Administration to comment. MS. DEBORAH BEHR, Assistant Attorney General, said the Lt. Governor's Office does not support Amendment 1 at this time. The Administration suggested, in a separate bill a number of years ago, that this amendment go forward but it generated strong opposition for several reasons. One reason was a concern that the abbreviated notices will not contain all of the information so those who depend on newspaper advertisements will not get that information. Also, when one looks at the cost of display advertisements, they are more expensive than a regulation advertisement so a display ad with less information will not necessarily cost less and will not generate more public interest. She repeated that at this point, the Administration does not support Amendment 1. SENATOR LEMAN clarified that Amendment 1 does not prevent any agency from providing information that is essential; it only says that it must contain information provided in paragraphs 1, 4, and 6. It would give the departments additional flexibility when designing public notices. It is a tool to make government better. He stated if the Lt. Governor has changed her mind because a newspaper publisher called, he is disappointed. CHAIRMAN MACKIE asked if Senator Leman was willing to get together with the Lt. Governor and the sponsor to work something out. SENATOR LEMAN said he would be happy to do that. He asked Representative Kerttula if the problem is not that she is opposed to the concept but she is afraid the amendment will stop good legislation. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said that is true. She added that she believes the amendment will require a fiscal note that the amendment raises issues regarding equity for rural Alaska. SENATOR DONLEY thought the better compromise was to move the legislation forward at this time. He felt HB 291 is a good bill that may not have the necessary support in the House if it is amended. SENATOR LEMAN withdrew his motion to adopt Amendment 1. SENATOR DONLEY moved CSHB 291(STA) from committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. There being no further business to come before the committee, CHAIRMAN MACKIE adjourned the meeting at 2:03 p.m.