Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/01/2003 01:35 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                         April 1, 2003                                                                                          
                           1:35 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Con Bunde, Chair                                                                                                        
Senator Ralph Seekins, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 146(HES)                                                                                                  
"An  Act repealing  the termination  date  of certain  provisions                                                               
that  require  the  reporting  of  social  security  numbers  and                                                               
automated  data matching  with financial  institutions for  child                                                               
support  enforcement   purposes;  relating  to   social  security                                                               
numbers  on applications  for  commercial  fishing licenses;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSHB 146(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 120                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to the  state's sovereign immunity  for certain                                                               
actions  regarding injury,  illness, or  death of  state-employed                                                               
seamen and  to workers' compensation  coverage for  those seamen;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 120 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 151                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to  the regulation  of  natural gas  pipelines                                                               
under the Pipeline Act."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 151(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 93                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to  limitations on actions  to quiet  title to,                                                               
eject a person  from, or recover real property  or the possession                                                               
of it; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 93(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 113                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to the  frequency of  examinations of  certain                                                               
persons licensed  to engage  in the business  of making  loans of                                                               
money,  credit,  goods,  or  things   in  action;  repealing  the                                                               
requirement for a state examination  and evaluation of the Alaska                                                               
Commercial  Fishing and  Agriculture Bank;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 113 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
HB 146 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/27/03.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SB 120 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/25/03.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SB 151 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/27/03.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SB 93 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/11/03.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SB 113 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/25/03.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Keith Hilyard                                                                                                               
Staff to Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 146.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Susan Cox, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                       
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 120.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Paul Grossi, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Workers' Compensation                                                                                               
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0601                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 120.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Brad Thompson, Director                                                                                                     
Division of Risk Management                                                                                                     
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 120.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Amy Seitz                                                                                                                   
Staff to Senator Wagoner                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 93.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. John McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                          
Department of Transportation &                                                                                                  
  Public Facilities                                                                                                             
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK  99801-7898                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 93.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jon Tillinghast                                                                                                             
Sealaska Corporation                                                                                                            
One Sealaska Plaza                                                                                                              
Juneau AK 99801                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 93.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Mark Davis, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Banking, Securities and Corporations                                                                                
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 113.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-17, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
      CSHB 146(HES)-CHILD SUPPORT/SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE called the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing                                                                 
Committee meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. All members were                                                                        
present. He announced CSHB 146(HES) to be up for consideration.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEITH HILYARD, Staff to Representative Lesil McGuire,                                                                       
sponsor of HB 146, said he would answer any questions members                                                                   
have.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS moved to pass  CSHB 146(HES) and its accompanying                                                               
fiscal note from committee with individual recommendations.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.  SENATORS STEVENS,  FRENCH SEEKINS,                                                               
DAVIS AND BUNDE voted yea, and the bill moved from committee.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
             SB 120-CLAIMS BY STATE-EMPLOYED SEAMEN                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE announced SB 120 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SUSAN COX,  Assistant Attorney  General, summarized  that at                                                               
the last  hearing she was requested  to draft a response  to some                                                               
legal questions  raised in a  letter from a  constituent, Lanning                                                               
Trueb  of  Beard  Stacey  Trueb  & Jacobsen.  She  laid  out  the                                                               
background for the  legal approach taken in the bill  and why the                                                               
Department of Law believes that  approach is not only acceptable,                                                               
but  is expressly  authorized by  language in  a decision  of the                                                               
Alaska Supreme Court. She also commented  on why SB 120 would not                                                               
violate  the Alaska  Constitution's  equal protection  provision,                                                               
federal maritime law supremacy issues,  and the argument for some                                                               
need for  uniformity of maritime  law that would  supercede state                                                               
sovereign  immunity. In  addition, sovereign  immunity is  not an                                                               
issue the legislature can deal with in statute.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PAUL GROSSI,  Director, Division  of Workers'  Compensation,                                                               
said, regarding  the $71,000  fiscal note,  that the  division is                                                               
hoping  this  universe  of  employees  is not  going  to  be  too                                                               
different than  other employee  groups and  that amount  would be                                                               
enough to cover them. He noted it could be a little bit more.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE  asked  what  the compensation  was  under  the  old                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  replied that  the division  doesn't really  have good                                                               
records prior to the use of computers.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked if losses would have been higher than $71,000.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSSI  replied  that  the   fiscal  note  only  covers  the                                                               
adjudication and  administration of the claims.  The losses would                                                               
be  covered through  risk management  but  would be  paid by  the                                                               
individual departments where those losses occurred.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS noted that according  to the data, there are more                                                               
cases under  the Jones Act  and the  awards are higher.  He asked                                                               
why it would cost more.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSSI  explained  the  fiscal note  reflects  the  cost  of                                                               
administrating   and  litigating   any   claims  under   Workers'                                                               
Compensation. He  didn't have  a guesstimate  of what  the claims                                                               
would be under Workers' Compensation next year.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS asked if the  division made any effort to compare                                                               
the cost of litigation to what the state is now experiencing.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  replied this proposal  uses a different system  so it                                                               
would be hard to say exactly what the amount would be.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said the  committee needs  more than  the fiscal                                                               
note to  determine what the  impact would  be on the  treasury of                                                               
the State of Alaska.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE thought  the committee needed a  negative fiscal note                                                               
from the Department of Law.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BRAD  THOMPSON,  Director,   Division  of  Risk  Management,                                                               
indicated the reason  the fiscal note is not  negative is because                                                               
of  the method  of  funding  the claims  under  the state's  self                                                               
insurance program. He explained:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     There is expected savings  of very significant numbers.                                                                    
     If  you recall  my  testimony  last committee  meeting,                                                                    
     comparing on a 100  full-time equivalent basis the rate                                                                    
     of claim  and the severity  where the dollars  paid per                                                                    
     100 - if  you take those comparisons  between the Jones                                                                    
     Act  and Workers'  [Compensation]  on an  average of  a                                                                    
     five-year history  that I presented, it  should show us                                                                    
     if it pencils out the  same average - about $850,000 in                                                                    
     the future savings. The reason  I don't show a negative                                                                    
     for that  amount is again  because of the  method. Risk                                                                    
     Management is appropriated the  dollars that we collect                                                                    
     from  the  state  agencies that  fiscal  year  for  the                                                                    
     claims to be paid that  fiscal year. So, this will save                                                                    
     the state dollars, but it's  just the method that we at                                                                    
     Risk Management are funded.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE said it should save about $800,000.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked if the division  is subject to Rule  82 if                                                               
there is litigation.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  replied that  his numbers  reflect the  total cost,                                                               
including defense expenses.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to pass  SB 120  and its fiscal  note from                                                               
committee with individual recommendations.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The  roll was  called. SENATORS  DAVIS, STEVENS,  FRENCH, SEEKINS                                                               
and BUNDE voted yea and SB 120 moved from committee.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
           SB 151-REGULATION OF NATURAL GAS PIPELINES                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE announced SB 151 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MARY JACKSON,  staff to  Senator Wagoner,  sponsor, said  at                                                               
last  week's hearing,  two issues  were outstanding:  the sponsor                                                               
asked the committee to insert  an immediate effective date, which                                                               
the committee substitute (CS) does;  and the second issue was the                                                               
fiscal note from  the Department of Natural  Resources (DNR). She                                                               
handed members a  revised fiscal note from DNR and  a fiscal note                                                               
from the Department of Community  and Economic Development (DCED)                                                               
that reflects the  impact on the Regulatory  Commission of Alaska                                                               
(RCA). She pointed  out that the change in the  fiscal note is on                                                               
the very last line on the second page and reads:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
       "...for the Kenai Kachemak Pipeline. However these                                                                       
     dynamics are unlikely as only 63% of the line's total                                                                      
     capacity has been contracted for."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS moved  to adopt  the CS  to SB  151, Version  D.                                                               
There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  asked if  the CS  contains any  other differences                                                               
than the two the Ms. Jackson mentioned.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON said there were none.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked if all  this bill  does is to  allow other                                                               
natural  gas   pipeline  carriers   to  piggyback   onto  current                                                               
statutes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  JACKSON replied  that is  correct. The  bill removes  "North                                                               
Slope" so that the Act can apply statewide.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS moved to pass  CSSB 151 (L&C) from committee with                                                               
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The  roll was  called. SENATORS  SEEKINS, DAVIS,  STEVENS, FRENCH                                                               
and BUNDE voted yea, and CSSB 151(L&C) moved out of committee.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                   SB  93-ADVERSE POSSESSION                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE announced SB 93 to be up for consideration.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. AMY SEITZ,  staff to Senator Wagoner, sponsor of  SB 93, said                                                               
the Department  of Transportation  and Public  Facilities (DOTPF)                                                               
had  concerns with  road  construction  and rights-of-way.  Those                                                               
concerns have been worked in the new committee substitute (CS).                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS moved to adopt the  CS to SB 93, Version Q. There                                                               
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ reviewed the changes for the committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  recalled this bill  would not  interrupt anyone's                                                               
pending claim of adverse possession.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ verified that is correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  if anyone  who  still thinks  they have  a                                                               
claim to  land under adverse  possession would be able  to pursue                                                               
that claim.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ replied they must have already filed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.   JOHN   MACKINNON,   Deputy  Commissioner,   Department   of                                                               
Transportation and  Public Facilities,  said Senator  Wagoner was                                                               
very helpful in helping DOTPF  address its concerns and that this                                                               
particular language  probably takes  care of  80-85% of  them. He                                                               
noted they are still working on the other issues.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked what the remaining differences are.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MACKINNON  replied that  the  differences  have to  do  with                                                               
things  that  may not  occur  exactly  on the  right-of-way,  for                                                               
instance, on  a wayside where  part of  the slope extends  out of                                                               
the right-of-way  or where drainage improvements  on the highways                                                               
could  cause  problems down  slope.  DOTPF  does not  want  those                                                               
issues to come back at it in the future.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JON TILLINGHAST, counsel  for Sealaska Corporation, corrected                                                               
a  previous answer  to Senator  French's question  about existing                                                               
adverse  possession  claims by  saying  they  would be  protected                                                               
under this bill if the person  has possessed the property for the                                                               
requisite period of years under  existing law. However, claimants                                                               
need not have filed by the effective date of this act.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked if some  big dispute out there that Sealaska                                                               
is  trying  to  extinguish  is  going  to  get  settled  by  this                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TILLINGHAST  replied that  Sealaska  is  not involved  in  a                                                               
current  dispute   or  litigation  with  a   squatter  that  this                                                               
legislation would  settle, but Sealaska  has had  difficulties in                                                               
the past  with squatters.  He expects future  problems if  a bill                                                               
like this is not enacted.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to pass  CSSB 93(L&C) from  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The  roll was  called. SENATORS  FRENCH, STEVENS,  DAVIS, SEEKINS                                                               
and  BUNDE   voted  yea,  therefore   CSSB  93(L&C)   moved  from                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
         SB 113-FINANCIAL INSTITUTION EXAMINATIONS/CFAB                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE announced SB 113 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MARK DAVIS,  Director, Division  of Banking,  Securities and                                                               
Corporations, reported information  about audited statements, but                                                               
the recording was indiscernible.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE thanked him and asked  if it is still accurate to say                                                               
that  extending the  audit schedule  from one  year to  18-months                                                               
will reduce the cost by about $126,000.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. DAVIS replied yes.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to pass SB  113 with its fiscal  note from                                                               
committee with individual recommendations.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The roll was called. SENATORS SEEKINS, FRENCH, STEVENS, DAVIS                                                                   
and BUNDE vote yea, therefore SB 113 moved from committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting at 2:10 p.m.                                                                                  

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