Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/21/2002 01:40 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                                                                             
                        February 21, 2002                                                                                       
                            1:40 p.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ben Stevens, Chair                                                                                                      
Senator Loren Leman                                                                                                             
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
Senator John Torgerson                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 291(L&C)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating  to the requirements for obtaining  a residential                                                              
contractor endorsement."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSHB 219(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 245 (L&C) am                                                                                              
"An Act relating to marital and family therapists."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SCSHB 245(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 267                                                                                                             
"An Act establishing the Alaska veterans'  memorial endowment fund                                                              
and providing for credits against  certain taxes for contributions                                                              
to  that  fund;   relating  to  other  tax  credits   for  certain                                                              
contributions; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 267 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 235(STA)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to emergency and  disaster relief forces as state                                                              
employees   for  purposes  of   workers'  compensation   benefits;                                                              
relating to  the Emergency Management  Assistance Compact  and the                                                              
implementation  of the  compact;  and providing  for an  effective                                                              
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 235(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
HB 291 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 245 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SB 267 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/12/02.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SB 235 - See State Affairs minutes dated 1/24/02 and 1/31/02.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kevin Meyer                                                                                                      
State Capitol Bldg.                                                                                                             
Juneau AK 99811                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 291.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Robin Ward, Co-Chair                                                                                                        
Legislative Affairs                                                                                                             
Alaska State Home Builders Association                                                                                          
P.O. Box 91443                                                                                                                  
Anchorage AK 99509                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 291.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
State Capitol Bldg.                                                                                                             
Juneau AK 99811                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 245.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
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 245.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Laddie Shaw, State Director                                                                                                 
Veterans' Affairs                                                                                                               
Department of Military &                                                                                                        
  Veterans Affairs                                                                                                              
PO Box 5800                                                                                                                     
Ft Richardson, AK  99505-0800                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 267.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Colonel Pat Carothers, Chairman                                                                                                 
Alaska Veterans Advisory Council                                                                                                
P.O. Box 32926                                                                                                                  
Juneau AK 99803                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 267.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. Larry Persily, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                          
Department of Revenue                                                                                                           
PO Box 110400                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0400                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 267.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wayne Rush                                                                                                                  
Division of Emergency Services                                                                                                  
Department of Military &                                                                                                        
  Veterans Affairs                                                                                                              
PO Box 5800                                                                                                                     
Ft Richardson, AK  99505-0800                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 235.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 02-7, SIDE A                                                                                                             
Number 001                                                                                                                      
           HB 291-LICENSING OF RESIDENTIAL CONTRACTORS                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN BEN STEVENS called the Senate  Labor & Commerce Committee                                                            
meeting to  order at 1:40 p.m. and  announced HB 291 to  be up for                                                              
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER, sponsor  of HB 291, said under current                                                              
law a person  must apply for a residential  contractor endorsement                                                              
within  six  months  of  successfully  completing  the  exam.  His                                                              
constituent,  Don  Devore,  was  out  of the  state  on  a  family                                                              
emergency  and  missed  the  six-month  deadline.  Mr.  Devore  is                                                              
concerned   that   the   law  did   not   allow   of   extenuating                                                              
circumstances.  If a  person misses  the  six-month deadline,  his                                                              
only recourse  is to take  the residential contractor  exam again.                                                              
It is four hours long and costs $75 each time the test is taken.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENATTIVE  MEYER  said  that   Catherine  Reardon,  Director,                                                              
Division  of Occupational  Licensing,  agreed that  the law  could                                                              
have  some  flexibility  and  that  others  had  also  missed  the                                                              
deadline. The bill  extends the timeline to apply  from six months                                                              
to two  years, which  has been  amended to  one year. Ms.  Reardon                                                              
said  that  a  common  cause  for  people  missing  the  six-month                                                              
deadline  was because  of  processes involved  in  starting a  new                                                              
construction  business, whether  sole  proprietor or  corporation.                                                              
Other examples include health and family emergencies.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBIN WARD, said she is a residential  contractor in Anchorage                                                              
and  Co-chair   of  Legislative  Affairs  for  the   Alaska  State                                                              
Homebuilders Association.  She supported HB 291. She  said that it                                                              
creates a little bit of flexibility without taking it too far.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LEMAN moved  to pass  CSHB 291(L&C)  from committee  with                                                              
individual recommendations.  There were  no objections and  it was                                                              
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
               HB 245-MARITAL & FAMILY THERAPISTS                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN STEVENS announced HB 245 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY  WILSON, sponsor,  said that HB 245  adds the                                                              
Board of Marital  and Family Therapy to the list  of professionals                                                              
that the  department can now  contract with to  provide treatment.                                                              
It gives them the ability to order  a licensed therapist to submit                                                              
to a reasonable  physical or mental  examination if the  board has                                                              
credible  evidence sufficient  to  conclude  that the  therapist's                                                              
physical or mental capacity to practice safely is an issue.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Section 3  allows for an individual  client contact to be  used as                                                              
hours towards  licensing.  Section 4 requires  that the  therapist                                                              
must communicate to a potential victim  or law enforcement officer                                                              
if  serious harm  has been  identified. The  next section  imposes                                                              
disciplinary sanctions  with regards  to the therapist  for sexual                                                              
misconduct. The Board of Marital  and Family Therapy group will be                                                              
added with  the social  workers and  counselors and other  medical                                                              
people.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS moved  to adopt the CS to HB 245,  22LS0892\F. There                                                              
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CATHERINE   REARDON,  Director,   Division  of   Occupational                                                              
Licensing, said  that Ms. Samaniego  is Chairman of the  Board and                                                              
she supports this legislation.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS  moved to pass SCS  HB 245(L&C) from  committee with                                                              
the  $0 fiscal  note and  with individual  recommendations.  There                                                              
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
           SB 267-ALASKA VETERANS' MEM.ENDOWMENT FUND                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS announced SB 267 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Laddie Shaw,  State Director, Veterans Affairs,  Department of                                                              
Military and Veterans  Affairs said they established  this fund to                                                              
support the veterans'  memorials around the state,  of which there                                                              
are 41.  This fund would  allow them  to manage the  memorials, do                                                              
regular  maintenance, and  put up  new  memorials. They  presently                                                              
have  $125,000  in the  bank  that  has  been donated  by  private                                                              
companies   throughout  the   state  and   they  are  asking   the                                                              
legislature  to assist  them  in putting  the  fund completely  in                                                              
place.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS asked how they maintain the memorials now.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHAW replied  that many of the signs are  under the Department                                                              
of  Transportation,  but  the  Byers  Lake  Memorial  is  done  by                                                              
volunteers on their own time and donated money.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS asked what their  long-term objective was for the                                                              
fund.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHAW answered  that  they want  a  fund that  is  established                                                              
forever  to support all  existing institutional  memorials  in the                                                              
state. He used  the example of the  flagpole at the park  strip in                                                              
Anchorage that might have to be replaced in 20 years.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He said they want  to start the fund at $250,000 and  put it in an                                                              
interest bearing account and let it grow on its own.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  PAT   CAROTHERS,  Chairman,   Alaska  Veterans   Advisory                                                              
Council, said the  Archie Van Winkel Memorial that  is in front of                                                              
the tram  is an  example of what  can be done.  Van Winkel  is the                                                              
only Alaska born Medal of Honor recipient.  After the monument was                                                              
purchased  and put in  place, there  was an  excess of $2,000.  At                                                              
about 2 percent interest, it earned  $47 last year. This has given                                                              
them all the money they need for the upkeep.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     You can see  that within five years there  would be more                                                                   
     than enough  to go  around and support  all the  rest of                                                                   
     these memorials as they should.  The bottom line is that                                                                   
     we feel very strongly that the  memory of those veterans                                                                   
     that have  preceded us in  death and those  veterans who                                                                   
     are here  now have certain  memorials honoring  them for                                                                   
     their  sacrifice  not  only   to  America,  but  to  the                                                                   
     citizens  of this  state,  that the  legislature  should                                                                   
     come up with the other half  of the money to insure that                                                                   
     these memorial  do not deteriorate and if  they do, that                                                                   
     they immediately  are taken  care of -  that any  of the                                                                   
     memorials in  this state do  not dishonor the  memory of                                                                   
     these veterans. This is what  we are seeking. The people                                                                   
     have already put their money  up, that's in the bank. We                                                                   
     ask fervently  that you pass this important  legislation                                                                   
     favorably out of this committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  STEVENS  asked  if  there  were  plans  for  any  future                                                              
memorials and would this fund help do that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CAROTHERS  replied absolutely.  PFC Martinez, a  native of                                                              
Colorado  who, probably  unknown to  anyone, was  the only  one to                                                              
receive the Medal  of Honor for action in Alaska  during World War                                                              
II. He died  on Attu and received  the Medal posthumously.  "He is                                                              
not a  native of Alaska,  neither was  Sergeant Dicks  and neither                                                              
was Sergeant  Bonsteel, but  they're all good  people and  they in                                                              
one measure or another, have contributed  to the greatness of this                                                              
state through their personal serviceā€¦"                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He told  them that Sergeant Bonsteel,  who died recently,  came to                                                              
Juneau annually and visited many  service organizations to instill                                                              
the spirit  of patriotism  in the community.  He said that  we are                                                              
indebted  to all  five  of those  people. He  said  that the  U.S.                                                              
Juneau memorial on  our waterfront bearing the  names of everybody                                                              
that  was on  her  when  she went  down  hasn't been  polished  in                                                              
probably 20 years. This fund would take care of that adequately.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS  said she supported  this bill in State  Affairs and                                                              
she was supporting it here, too.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LARRY PERSILY,  Deputy Commissioner,  Department of  Revenue,                                                              
said he would explain briefly how the tax credit would work.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Pretty simply  this would work  just like the  education                                                                   
     tax credit program works. We  have had that on the books                                                                   
     since  1987. The  way it works  and the  way this  would                                                                   
     work is a taxpayer could get  a tax credit against their                                                                   
     corporate taxes  of 50 percent up to the  first $100,000                                                                   
     donation  and   100  percent  of  the   second  $100,000                                                                   
     donation. At  a maximum, if someone donated  $200,000 to                                                                   
     this fund  in a  given year, they  would a $150,000  tax                                                                   
     credit  against  their  corporate income  taxes  to  the                                                                   
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In  FY 01  we  had about  $2  million in  education  tax                                                                   
     credits  that were  used  by 37  taxpayers.  To get  the                                                                   
     education  tax credit,  your donation  has to  be to  an                                                                   
     accredited  college  or  university in  the  state.  So,                                                                   
     we're looking  at the University of Alaska  system, APU,                                                                   
     Sheldon  Jackson.  Of  the  $2  million  in  credits  97                                                                   
     percent was  used by 16 taxpayers.  So you had  21 other                                                                   
     taxpayers who used a very small portion of it.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The way this  legislation is written, a  corporate donor                                                                   
     would have  that $150,000 a  year maximum credit  total.                                                                   
     It wouldn't be  per program. So they could  give to this                                                                   
     fund or a  combination of this fund and  the university,                                                                   
     but they would max out at $150,000.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS  asked if the  money that's already  been donated                                                              
has been eligible for this tax credit yet.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. PERSILY  replied that  it hadn't been.  "Any donations  to the                                                              
tax credit  now are  limited solely  to the  education tax  credit                                                              
program, which would be to accredited  colleges and universities."                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  STEVENS asked,  "Do they  get any kind  of deduction  at                                                              
all?"                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CAROTHERS indicated that they didn't get any at all.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS  said that  indicated how  much people  like this                                                              
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. PERSILY said the funds would endow the program.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN said at some time they  should review the tax credit                                                              
percentage structure.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. PERSILY said that a lot of corporations give the maximum.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN moved to pass SB 267  from committee with individual                                                              
recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
         SB 235-EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE COMPACT                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
MR. WAYNE RUSH, Alaska Division of  Emergency Services, Department                                                              
of Military and Veterans Affairs,  said this bill accomplishes two                                                              
things. The following is his written statement:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     It  repeals   the  outdated  Interstate   Civil  Defense                                                                   
     Disaster  Compact  and replaces  it with  the  Emergency                                                                   
     Management  Assistance  Compact   (EMAC).  Secondly,  it                                                                   
     updates AS26.30.244 to provide  Workers Compensation for                                                                   
     specific  categories  of  disaster   volunteers,  namely                                                                   
     those who  perform duties in  another state  under EMACV                                                                   
     or  those  who  perform  duties   in  Alaska  under  the                                                                   
     Division of Emergency Services.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     EMAC  allows   states  to  assist  one   another  during                                                                   
     emergencies. It  offers a quick and easy  way for states                                                                   
     to send personnel and equipment  to help disaster relief                                                                   
     efforts in other states. There  are times when state and                                                                   
     local resources  are overwhelmed and federal  assistance                                                                   
     is inadequate  or unavailable. Our-of-state  aid through                                                                   
     EMAC helps fill such shortfalls.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     EMAC establishes  a firm legal foundation.  Requests for                                                                   
     EMAC   assistance  are   legally  binding,   contractual                                                                   
     arrangement   which  make  state   that  ask  for   help                                                                   
     responsible for  reimbursing all out-of-state  costs and                                                                   
     liable for out-of-state personnel.  States that send aid                                                                   
     will not incur a financial burden.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     EMAC provides fast and flexible  assistance. EMAC allows                                                                   
     states to ask for whatever assistance  they need for any                                                                   
     emergency from earthquakes to  acts of terrorism. At the                                                                   
     same  time, EMAC  makes no  requirement for  a state  to                                                                   
     send  assistance unless  they determine  to provide  the                                                                   
     requested assistance.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     While    Alaska   is    capable    of   handling    most                                                                   
     disaster/emergencies,  as demonstrated  by past  events,                                                                   
     there are  times when disasters  exceed state  and local                                                                   
     resources  and  therefore  require  outside  assistance.                                                                   
     Normally  this assistance  comes  from federal  agencies                                                                   
     through the Federal Emergency  Management Agency (FEMA).                                                                   
     However,  not all disasters  qualify for a  Presidential                                                                   
     Disaster Declaration and therefore  are not eligible for                                                                   
     federal assistance.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     EMAC provides  a means for Alaska to  receive interstate                                                                   
     assistance  when federal  assistance is  not merited  or                                                                   
     available.  Even  when federal  assistance  is  merited,                                                                   
     EMAC assistance  may be more  readily available  or more                                                                   
     cost  effective, or  it may be  necessary to  supplement                                                                   
     federal  assistance.  In  any case,  EMAC  allows  other                                                                   
     member  states to  assist  Alaska by  rapidly  providing                                                                   
     their unique  resources and expertise in the  event of a                                                                   
     large-scale   disaster.  EMAC   costs  incurred  for   a                                                                   
     disaster   that   receives   a   presidential   Disaster                                                                   
     Declaration  are reimbursable by  FEMA at the  same cost                                                                   
     share (75/25) as other costs incurred by the state.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Membership  in EMAC  will also allow  Alaska to  rapidly                                                                   
     provide  requested  assistance  to  other  states  in  a                                                                   
     process   that  provides   mutually   agreed  upon   and                                                                   
     understood    requirements    for   reimbursement    and                                                                   
         responsibility for the welfare of personnel and                                                                        
     resources.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  STEVENS asked  him if  the  Pacific Northwest  Emergency                                                              
Management Arrangement would supercede EMAC.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUSH  replied that  they are  separate agreements.  It doesn't                                                              
affect the international agreement with the Canadians.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS  asked if the  Canadians were involved  with EMAC                                                              
at all.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUSH answered that they are not  at this time, but he wouldn't                                                              
rule it out the future. We would  be the 44th state to adopt this.                                                              
There is no fiscal note.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN  asked if  there was a  provision for amendments  or                                                              
modifications  to  the  compact,   since  there  typically  is  on                                                              
interstate compacts.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUSH replied that he didn't think there was.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS  moved to  pass CSSB 235  (STA) from committee  with                                                              
individual  recommendations  and $0  fiscal  note.  There were  no                                                              
objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS adjourned the meeting at 2:18 p.m.                                                                             

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