Legislature(2001 - 2002)

01/23/2001 01:30 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                   
                 SENATE LABOR & COMMERCE COMMITTEE                                                                            
                         January 23, 2001                                                                                       
                             1:30 p.m.                                                                                          
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Randy Phillips, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
Senator Loren Leman                                                                                                             
Senator John Torgerson                                                                                                          
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All Members Present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 9                                                                                                               
"An Act extending the termination date of the State Board of                                                                    
Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors."                                                                    
     MOVED CSSB 9(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                         
SENATE BILL NO. 10                                                                                                              
"An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Public                                                                   
     MOVED SB 10 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
SB 9 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                          
SB 10 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                         
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
State Capitol Bldg.                                                                                                             
Juneau AK 99822                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 9 and SB 10.                                                                                
Mr. Jeffrey Wilson, President                                                                                                   
Alaska Professional Design Council (APDC)                                                                                       
1405 W. 53rd Ave.                                                                                                               
Anchorage AK 99503                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 9.                                                                                          
Mr. Dwayne Adams                                                                                                                
American Society of Landscape Architects                                                                                        
13231 Reef Place                                                                                                                
Anchorage AK 99515                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 9.                                                                                       
Ms. Catherine Reardon, Director                                                                                                 
Division of Occupational Licensing                                                                                              
Department of Community and Economic Development                                                                                
P.O. Box 110806                                                                                                                 
Juneau AK 99811                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSSB 9(L&C) and SB 10.                                                                          
Mr. James Bibb, President                                                                                                       
American Institute of Architects for Alaska                                                                                     
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 9.                                                                                       
Ms. Pat Davidson, Auditor                                                                                                       
Legislative Budget and Audit                                                                                                    
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 9 and SB 10.                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 01-01, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
              SB   9-EXTENDED BOARD OF ARCHITECTS ETC                                                                       
CHAIRMAN  RANDY   PHILLIPS  called  the  Senate  Labor   &  Commerce                                                          
Committee meeting to order  at 1:30 p.m. and announced SB 9 to be up                                                            
for consideration.                                                                                                              
SENATOR THERRIAULT,  sponsor of SB 9, testified that  it extends the                                                            
sunset  date of  the State  Board  of Registration  for Architects,                                                             
Engineers,   and  Land  Surveyors   to  2005.    In  addition,   the                                                            
legislature  added a temporary  board member  a couple of years  ago                                                            
for landscape architect  and the bill proposes that position also be                                                            
extended.  It also extends  the funding for expenses of that member.                                                            
Senator Therriault  said he  has heard good  comments about  him and                                                            
there is support for continuing his position.                                                                                   
Currently,  there is  no requirement  for continuing  education  for                                                            
architects, engineers,  or land surveyors, Senator  Therriault said,                                                            
and  the  Board  is not  ready  to  require  it  and  suggested  the                                                            
legislature  consider  permissive   language.  Some  boards  require                                                            
ongoing  education  in  statute  and  some  simply  have  permissive                                                            
language. He  noted that a board has  the discretion to require  it.                                                            
There was a  question about having  a mining engineer as  one of the                                                            
designated  seats  and  he wanted  that  to be  retained.    Current                                                            
members have  not had a  problem finding  a qualified individual  to                                                            
fill  that spot,  he said.   The Board  dealt  with the reciprocity                                                             
issue through adopting regulations.                                                                                             
Number 408                                                                                                                      
SENATOR LEMAN asked if  he communicated with any of the professional                                                            
societies about their positions on continuing education.                                                                        
SENATOR THERRIAULT  replied that he  had talked to some individuals                                                             
and the head of the current  board and they are still split.  He did                                                            
not contact  the  professional societies  to  hear their  individual                                                            
SENATOR  TORGERSON asked  if  the per diem  the  individual is  paid                                                            
would be computed on the fees charged back to everyone else.                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT  replied that was right.  By state  law they have                                                            
to be completely self-supporting.                                                                                               
SENATOR TORGERSON  said he thought  this board was usually  extended                                                            
for five years and asked why it's only four now.                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT answered that the audit suggested 2005.                                                                      
SENATOR  LEMAN  explained  that  when he  and  Senator  Mackie  were                                                            
chairmen of the committee,  they had informally agreed to not extend                                                            
a board for more than four years.                                                                                               
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  some people  who wanted  a long  extension                                                            
approached  him, but  philosophically,  he  felt it  gives power  to                                                            
nonelected   board  members  to  regulate   an  industry   and  "The                                                            
legislature should be forced  to come back almost more often to make                                                            
sure the power is not being abused."                                                                                            
SENATOR  LEMAN  commented   that  the  committee  is  trying  to  be                                                            
consistent with all professional licensees.                                                                                     
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  the auditors  also look  at the timing  so                                                            
that not all of the reviews come at the same time, too.                                                                         
Number 735                                                                                                                      
MR. JEFFREY WILSON,  President, Alaska Professional  Design Council,                                                            
supported continuing  the Board for the proposed year  2005.  All of                                                            
the items in the legislative  audit had controversy - some to all of                                                            
the professions  and some to just  a few.  He also said,  "It is the                                                            
general consensus  on continuing education that the  professions are                                                            
moving  in  that  direction.    While  the  current  board  supports                                                            
continuing  education, they do not  support a mandatory program  and                                                            
there  remains member  controversy  regarding a  mandatory  program,                                                            
particularly  regarding  the implementation  details."   They  think                                                            
this issue  should be in separate  legislation.  He represents  nine                                                            
different  professions  on  this  board  and  all  of  them  have  a                                                            
different   position  relating   to  continuing   education.     The                                                            
architects already have  a required continuing education program for                                                            
membership  in  the AIA.    Some states  require  it,  but it's  not                                                            
universal.  Standards are moving towards that.                                                                                  
Number 962                                                                                                                      
Removing  the mining seat  from the Board  is another controversial                                                             
issue,  Mr. Wilson  said, and  should not  be attached  to the  AELS                                                            
Board extension  bill. "While common  sense suggests that  the board                                                            
should be proportional  to its members, the objective would never be                                                            
perfect and the  historical record and emotion makes  it a difficult                                                            
political  decision, at best.   Contrary to  the suggestions  of the                                                            
audit findings and recommendations,  we do not believe the landscape                                                            
architects  are  currently  requesting  a seat  on the  board,  i.e.                                                            
replace  the mining  seat  or as an  additional  seat.   There is  a                                                            
consensus that  the landscape architecture temporary  seat should be                                                            
extended for the  three-year extension period and  be included as an                                                            
amendment to the proposed bill" [language in HB 50].                                                                            
MR. DWAYNE ADAMS, American  Society of Landscape Architects[indisc.]                                                            
asked that the  committee incorporate language from  HB 50 into SB 9                                                            
with respect  to the landscape architecture  provisions.   "First of                                                            
all,  it's very  important that  the person  who sits  on the  Board                                                            
representing  landscape  architecture be  allowed in  order to  deal                                                            
with resolution of the gray areas."                                                                                             
Another  provision  in HB  50 is  that  this person  be compensated                                                             
through per diem and travel  expenses for the work that they do.  No                                                            
other profession that is  licensed in the state requires a nonprofit                                                            
association  to reimburse  a  person for  their travel.    Landscape                                                            
architects  pay  fees  for  the  other  board  members  and  if  the                                                            
interests of all  the professions are being protected  by the person                                                            
on  the board,  those  who  are paying  for  licensure  fees  should                                                            
provide for that reimbursement.                                                                                                 
The question was  raised that the boards are held  separate from the                                                            
nonprofit  associations.  The nonprofits  do  not pay,  nor do  they                                                            
interject politically,  except through testimony into  the goings on                                                            
of the  board.  Recognizing  that separation,  it seems appropriate                                                             
that it not be held to reimburse a person for travel expenses.                                                                  
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS  asked  if  the fiscal  note  for  the  committee                                                            
substitute would be positive or negative.                                                                                       
SENATOR THERRIAULT  anticipated that it would show  no change unless                                                            
it would  cover the  per diem of  one more person  which would  be a                                                            
small amount.                                                                                                                   
MS.   CATHERINE  REARDON,   Director,   Division   of  Occupational                                                             
Licensing,  supported CSSB 9(L&C).   She explained that the  funding                                                            
source will be  the new Receipts Supported Services  Category (RSSC)                                                            
and reflects the fact that  the expenses are covered by fee revenue.                                                            
She  said  that  the  sunset  statute  says  "Boards  shall  not  be                                                            
continued for  more than four years  unless the legislature  decides                                                            
to continue them for longer."   Since then, that has been considered                                                            
the  standard  amount.    Legislative  Audit  recommended  a  longer                                                            
extension  for a variety  of boards  several years  ago and  at that                                                            
time  legislators'  response was  to stick  with  the standard  four                                                            
MS.  REARDON said  the  fiscal note  would be  $2,500  - $3,000  for                                                            
payment of the landscape  architect.  She strongly supports covering                                                            
those expenses for the  reasons Mr. Adams mentioned.  She noted that                                                            
the fiscal note would be ready tomorrow.                                                                                        
MR. JAMES  BIBB,  President, American  Institute  of Architects  for                                                            
Alaska, read the following statement:                                                                                           
     In response to Alaska State  Legislative Audit Committee's                                                                 
     recommendation  number 3, AIA  Alaska recommends that  any                                                                 
     amended  language   addressing  clarity  of  the  statute                                                                  
     semantics  be put aside in order to allow the  sunset bill                                                                 
     to move forward.                                                                                                           
Their concern is that any  modification of the language that affects                                                            
the architects  or licensing  could limit  or unfairly restrict  the                                                            
opportunity  for  qualified  architects  to  become  professionally                                                             
licensed in  Alaska.  They would like  to build consensus  among the                                                            
architects in the state before putting words in statute.                                                                        
MS.   PAT  DAVIDSON,   Legislative   Auditor,   said   their   first                                                            
recommendation  is  that  the  legislature  provide  for  continuing                                                            
education  of  architects,  engineers,  and land  surveyors  to  get                                                            
parity among  the professional  boards.  Most  of them already  have                                                            
that language in statute.   Historically, the board has not accepted                                                            
that recommendation,  but  this year they  have fewer objections  to                                                            
it, she said.                                                                                                                   
MS. DAVIDSON  said they  looked at restructuring  the membership  on                                                            
the  board,  particularly   requiring  a  mining  engineer.     They                                                            
recognize that  it is an important  profession in Alaska,  but there                                                            
are limited  numbers  of professionals  in that  specialized  arena.                                                            
The Board allows for an  open seat of any engineer rather than delay                                                            
in filling  that one seat.  Additionally,  landscape engineers  were                                                            
coming onboard  in basically a nonpaid position.   The auditors took                                                            
no  position  on  that  directly.    The  third  recommendation   of                                                            
extending  the  Board  was  housekeeping  and  shouldn't  stall  the                                                            
MR. JEFF WILSON  supported Mr. Adams' testimony saying  that funding                                                            
for the landscape architect to attend meetings is appropriate.                                                                  
Number 1500                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  LEMAN moved  to adopt  the committee  substitute  to SB  9,                                                            
Lauterbach  22- LS 0242\C.  There  were no objections and  it was so                                                            
SENATOR LEMAN  stated for the record that this board  regulates him.                                                            
SENATOR TORGERSON  moved to  pass CSSB 9  (L&C) from committee  with                                                            
individual  recommendations  with  the  accompanying  fiscal  notes.                                                            
There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                 
            SB  10-EXTENDED BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY                                                                     
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS announced SB 10 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
SENATOR THERRIAULT  noted  there were several  letters of support  -                                                            
one  from  the  Alaska  Society  of  Certified  Public  Accountants                                                             
MS.   CATHERINE  REARDON,   Director,   Division   of  Occupational                                                             
Licensing, supported SB  10, the extension of the Board of Certified                                                            
Public  Accountants  and  the accompanying  $0  fiscal  note,  which                                                            
explains  there is an expense  to licensing  accountants and  having                                                            
the Board  function, but  that the money is  already built  into the                                                            
Several  recommendations in  the audit were  related to regulations                                                             
adopted by the  Board and the Division's response  on the final page                                                            
of the audit was prepared  in concurrence with the Board Chairman on                                                            
those issues.                                                                                                                   
Regarding recommendation  three, that appointments  to the Board are                                                            
made  in a timely  manner,  Ms. Reardon  commented that  it was  the                                                            
Governor's intent  to achieve that with all his board  appointments.                                                            
MS. PAT  DAVIDSON said  they made three  recommendations to  improve                                                            
areas within the  Board of Public Accountancy.  She  stated that she                                                            
is a CPA and the auditors  in her office are either licensed CPAs or                                                            
working to  attain licensure.  As  a result, she said, they  are not                                                            
independent with  respect to this Board.  But she  thought it was an                                                            
appearance issue, not one in fact.                                                                                              
The  Board  designates  certain  types  of continuing  professional                                                             
education if you are going  to be the supervising auditor that signs                                                            
off  on peoples'  experience.    Legislative  auditors  thought  the                                                            
distinction  was inappropriate  and  saw the  Board  setting up  two                                                            
tiers of CPAs, Ms. Davidson  said.  A general practitioner in public                                                            
practice isn't required  to have that higher threshold of continuing                                                            
professional  education.   This recommendation  was  proposed  to be                                                            
dealt with in  regulation, so they will monitor the  Board to see if                                                            
the changes are made.                                                                                                           
MS. DAVIDSON  said the second recommendation  had to do with  taking                                                            
due care in licensing  professionals.  The auditors  found that some                                                            
of the CPAs signing  off experience for others hadn't  been licensed                                                            
for the full  two years they were  attesting to.  They directed  the                                                            
Board to look at their procedures.                                                                                              
MS. DAVIDSON  said that another recommendation  asked the  Office of                                                            
the Governor to make appointments in a timely fashion.                                                                          
Number 2160                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  TORGERSON   moved  to  pass  SB  10  from  committee   with                                                            
accompanying  fiscal notes with individual  recommendations.   There                                                            
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS adjourned the meeting at 2:15 p.m.                                                                            

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