Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/15/2003 07:53 AM 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                                                                        
                          May 15, 2003                                                                                          
                           7:53 a.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                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 313                                                                                                              
"An   Act  authorizing   a  pilot   program  relating   to  state                                                               
procurement  and  the  use  of  electronic  commerce  tools;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED HB 313 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
HOUSE BILL NO. 232                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating to  mercury  classics;  and providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     MOVED HB 232 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 83(JUD)                                                                                                   
"An Act  adopting a  version of  the Revised  Uniform Arbitration                                                               
Act; relating  to the state's  existing Uniform  Arbitration Act;                                                               
amending  Rules 3,  18, 19,  20, and  21, Alaska  Rules of  Civil                                                               
Procedure,  Rule 601,  Alaska Rules  of Evidence,  and Rule  402,                                                               
Alaska  Rules  of  Appellate  Procedure;  and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSHB 83(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                        
SENATE BILL NO. 194                                                                                                             
"An Act  authorizing delivery of  up to two bottles  of distilled                                                               
spirits to a cruise ship passenger or hotel guest."                                                                             
     MOVED SB 194 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 269(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An Act  establishing the Safety  Code Task Force;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
     MOVED CSHB 269(FIN) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 257(JUD) am                                                                                               
"An Act relating  to the disclosure requirements  for real estate                                                               
licensees, to disciplinary action  against real estate licensees,                                                               
to private  actions and remedies  against real  estate licensees,                                                               
and to  real estate licensee  agency, relationships,  and duties;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
     MOVED SCS CSHB 257(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 195(L&C) am                                                                                               
"An Act relating  to coverage offered under  an individual policy                                                               
of health care insurance; relating  to the state health insurance                                                               
plan; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                     
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
HB 313 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
HB 232 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
HB 83 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 5/13/03.                                                                           
SB 194 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 5/13/03.                                                                          
HB 269 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
HB 257 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
HB 195 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Mr. Kevin Jardell, Assistant Commissioner                                                                                       
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 313.                                                                                      
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 232.                                                                                        
Ms. Jane Tollefsrud, Coordinator of Projects                                                                                    
Homer Boys and Girls Club                                                                                                       
PO Box 3307                                                                                                                     
Homer AK 99603                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 232.                                                                                         
Ms. Lisa Weissler                                                                                                               
Staff to Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 83 for the sponsor.                                                                       
Mr. Grant Callow, Attorney                                                                                                      
Alaska Commissioner                                                                                                             
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws                                                                      
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 83.                                                                                          
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 269.                                                                                        
Mr. Greg Moore                                                                                                                  
NANA/Colt Engineering                                                                                                           
700 G St., ATO-500                                                                                                              
Anchorage AK 99502                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Mr. Colin Maynard                                                                                                               
Alaska Professional Design Council (APDC)                                                                                       
510 L St., Suite 200                                                                                                            
Anchorage AK 99501                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Mr. Zach Warwick                                                                                                                
Staff to Senator Therriault                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Mr. Doug Mathers, Building Official                                                                                             
City of Kodiak Island Borough School District                                                                                   
710 Mill Bay Road                                                                                                               
Kodiak, AK  99615                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Mayor Steve Thompson                                                                                                            
City of Fairbanks                                                                                                               
800 Cushman St.                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, AK  99701                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Mr. Steve Shuttlesworth                                                                                                         
City of Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                            
800 Cushman St.                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks AK 99701                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Mr. Eugene Rutland, Executive Director                                                                                          
Mechanical Contractors of Alaska                                                                                                
1840 Second Ave.                                                                                                                
Fairbanks AK 99701                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Mr. Charles Deardon                                                                                                             
City of Ketchikan Gateway Borough                                                                                               
344 Front Street                                                                                                                
Ketchikan, Alaska 99901                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Mr. James Baisden, Fire Marshal                                                                                                 
City of Kenai                                                                                                                   
105 S. Willow                                                                                                                   
Kenai AK 99611                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 269.                                                                                      
Representative Norm Rokeberg                                                                                                    
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 257.                                                                                        
Ms. Heather Nobrega                                                                                                             
Staff to Representative Rokeberg                                                                                                
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 257 and HB 195 for the                                                                    
Mr. Howard Trickey                                                                                                              
Prudential Jack White and Prudential Vista                                                                                      
3000 A St.                                                                                                                      
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 257.                                                                                         
Mr. Steve Conn                                                                                                                  
Alaska Public Interest Research Group                                                                                           
P.O. Box 101093                                                                                                                 
Anchorage AK 99510                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 257.                                                                                           
Ms. Linda Garrison, Real Estate Broker                                                                                          
Number One Buyer Agency                                                                                                         
PO Box 19727                                                                                                                    
Anchorage AK 99519                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 257.                                                                                           
Mr. David Garrison                                                                                                              
PO Box 190727                                                                                                                   
Anchorage AK 99519                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 257.                                                                                      
Ms. Michelle Cassano, Executive Director                                                                                        
American Diabetes Association                                                                                                   
801 W. Fireweed Lane No. 103                                                                                                    
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 195.                                                                                           
Ms. Lois Hildebrand, Volunteer                                                                                                  
American Cancer Society                                                                                                         
PO Box 81774                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks AK 99708-1774                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 195.                                                                                           
Mr. Bill Moore                                                                                                                  
[Indiscernible address]                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 195.                                                                                         
Ms. Janel Wright                                                                                                                
2945 Emory St.                                                                                                                  
Anchorage AK 99508                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 195.                                                                                           
Ms. Linda Hall, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 195.                                                                                         
Ms. Betsy Turner-Boggren                                                                                                        
PO Box 343                                                                                                                      
Ester AK 99725                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 195.                                                                                           
Ms. Karin Braun                                                                                                                 
Nurse Midwife                                                                                                                   
3730 Rhone Circle                                                                                                               
Anchorage AK 99507                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 195.                                                                                           
Ms. Carla Williams                                                                                                              
Alaska Breast Cancer Advocacy Partners                                                                                          
13001 Norak Pl.                                                                                                                 
Anchorage AK 99516                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 195.                                                                                           
Ms. Camille Soleil, Executive Director                                                                                          
Alaska Nurses Association                                                                                                       
2207 E. Tudor Rd., Ste 34                                                                                                       
Anchorage AK 99507                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 195, section 1.                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 03-33, SIDE A                                                                                                            
             HB 313-STATE PROCUREMENT PILOT PROGRAM                                                                         
CHAIR CON  BUNDE called  the Senate  Labor and  Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order  at 7:53  a.m. Present  were Senators                                                               
Stevens, Seekins,  French and Bunde.  The Chair announced  HB 313                                                               
to be up for consideration.                                                                                                     
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH said someone  asked him about the exemption                                                               
for the procurement  code in this bill and he  wanted Mr. Jardell                                                               
to explain how that will play out in the award of this contract.                                                                
MR.   KEVIN  JARDELL,   Assistant  Commissioner,   Department  of                                                               
Administration,  explained  that  the  provisions  exempting  the                                                               
process from the  procurement code caused the  department to take                                                               
a great deal of caution. He noted:                                                                                              
     We are absolutely supportive of  the new technology and                                                                    
     finding  efficiencies, both  in real  dollars and  time                                                                    
     getting materials to our employees  in a more efficient                                                                    
     manner. Any  time we begin blanket  exemptions in [the]                                                                    
     procurement code, the  administration gets wide-eyed; a                                                                    
     red  flag comes  up and  says slow  down. We've  got to                                                                    
     make sure  that we're  not going to  get in  trouble on                                                                    
     this. That's  one of the  reasons we insisted  that the                                                                    
     language in the  bill be permissive - that  we "may" do                                                                    
     it.  If we  see at  any point  along the  line that  we                                                                    
     don't feel  as the  administration that  we can  put in                                                                    
     the  protections  to  the local  businessmen  -  people                                                                    
     selling the goods,  the vendors - then we  can stop the                                                                    
     program.  It  is  our  intention   to  write  regs  and                                                                    
     processes  to insure  that as  much of  the procurement                                                                    
     code can  be used in this  process as fits. Some  of it                                                                    
     won't, but  especially the  systems whereby  people can                                                                    
     appeal. They can bring their  problems forward and have                                                                    
     a process to bring up  any objections that they have if                                                                    
     they feel they're not getting a fair shake....                                                                             
SENATOR RALPH  SEEKINS moved to  pass HB 313 from  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations  and attached fiscal note.  There were                                                               
no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                            
CHAIR BUNDE [recessed] the meeting at 7:56 a.m.                                                                                 
TAPE 03-34, SIDE A                                                                                                            
        HB 232-HOMER MERCURY CLASSIC/GAMING PRIZE LIMIT                                                                     
CHAIR CON  BUNDE called the  meeting back  to order at  1:40 p.m.                                                               
Present were  SENATORS SEEKINS, STEVENS  and BUNDE.  He announced                                                               
HB 232 to be up for consideration.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL  SEATON, sponsor  of HB  232, said  the Homer                                                               
Mercury Classic  is similar  to the Nenana  Ice Classic  in which                                                               
ticket  purchasers  buy a  chance  to  guess  the time  when  the                                                               
mercury will  go down to 15  degrees. A drawing for  the prize is                                                               
held when  the mercury goes up  to 55 degrees in  the spring. The                                                               
Boys and  Girls Club, Homer  Chapter, has a  computerized weather                                                               
station on  top of its  building that monitors  [the temperature]                                                               
every hour in conjunction with  the NASA Globe Project, a project                                                               
that monitors global warming.                                                                                                   
The  only  other  mercury  classic  in  the  state  was  held  in                                                               
Fairbanks in 1987-88. This classic  will not conflict or preclude                                                               
anyone else from doing the same thing.                                                                                          
CHAIR BUNDE  commented that  it is interesting  that some  of the                                                               
same people who  oppose other forms of gambling  would think this                                                               
is a good idea and asked how much money is involved.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  replied that the  tickets cost $2  a piece                                                               
and  the total  depends on  how many  tickets the  children sell.                                                               
Fifty percent goes to the Boys and Girls Club.                                                                                  
MS.  JANE TOLLEFSRUD,  Coordinator  of Projects,  Homer Boys  and                                                               
Girls Club, offered to answer  questions and added that the Homer                                                               
Club in particular  has 350 members and the  Kenai Peninsula Boys                                                               
and Girls Club has a total of 3,000 members.                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS said there could be a large number of winners.                                                                  
MS. TOLLEFSRUD replied that they  thought using the hour would be                                                               
okay and  multiple winners could split  the pot. If they  need to                                                               
use  minutes, the  device  could be  recalibrated  to read  every                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked if the  Homer Boys  and Girls Club  have a                                                               
charitable gaming permit now.                                                                                                   
MS. TOLLEFSRUD  replied that the  Kenai Peninsula Boys  and Girls                                                               
Club has the gaming permit it is going to use.                                                                                  
SENATOR SEEKINS asked  if gaming permits are  normally limited to                                                               
a certain dollar amount on an annual basis.                                                                                     
CHAIR BUNDE responded  that pulltab winnings are  limited, but he                                                               
wasn't familiar with any limitation  on the classics like the ice                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS  said he was  trying to  figure out if  this will                                                               
expand  the  amount this  charity  would  bring  in in  terms  of                                                               
gambling revenue in a calendar year.                                                                                            
MS. TOLLEFSRUD said she didn't know  the answer to that. She does                                                               
know that  the only thing they  use their permit for  in Kenai is                                                               
the raffle and an auction that they have once per year.                                                                         
CHAIR  BUNDE said  he  thought  the limit  on  the  prizes is  $1                                                               
million  and  it's not  likely  that  they are  approaching  that                                                               
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said the  only  reason  he questioned  that  is                                                               
because the  number of  groups that want  to get  into charitable                                                               
gaming,  in  addition  to   charities  (like  municipalities  and                                                               
questionable non profits), is increasing.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  that his  understanding is  that the                                                               
Boys  and Girls  Club is  not involved  in pulltabs.  The Classic                                                               
will  be  a  twice-a-year  lottery, a  guessing  game  that  will                                                               
involve the kids in monitoring.                                                                                                 
CHAIR  BUNDE asked  Ms. Tollefsrud  and Representative  Seaton to                                                               
investigate if the  Boys and Girls Club was using  its permit for                                                               
pulltabs and whether, with the  classic, they would be held under                                                               
a one-umbrella  limit or whether  this would expand  their limit.                                                               
He closed public testimony and asked the will of the committee.                                                                 
SENATOR STEVENS  moved to pass HB  232 with zero fiscal  note and                                                               
individual recommendations.  There were no objections  and it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
             HB  83-REVISED UNIFORM ARBITRATION ACT                                                                         
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced HB 83 to be up for consideration.                                                                     
MS. LISA  WEISSLER, staff  to Representative  Berkowitz, sponsor,                                                               
gave members an overview of what  the bill does. First, it is the                                                               
Revised Uniform  Arbitration Act. She explained  that arbitration                                                               
is a voluntary  process that people agree to in  a contract. It's                                                               
an  alternative  to resolving  disputes  in  the courts  that  is                                                               
hopefully  speedier and  more economical.  The  original Act  was                                                               
developed in 1955. These acts  are normally developed by national                                                               
committees and  then states  can choose whether  or not  to adopt                                                               
them.  Alaska did  adopt  the Uniform  Arbitration  Act in  1968,                                                               
which  addressed some  of  the basics  of  arbitration. Over  the                                                               
years, arbitration  has become very  popular and deals  with more                                                               
complex issues; more money is involved.  So an effort was made by                                                               
the National  Conference of Commissioners  on Uniform  State Laws                                                               
to   update   the   National   Uniform   Arbitration   Act.   The                                                               
Commissioners came  up with the  Revised Uniform Act in  2000 and                                                               
so far five  states have adopted it. It has  been introduced this                                                               
year  by 12  more states,  including Alaska.  The revised  act is                                                               
much more  comprehensive and  updates the  basic coverage  of the                                                               
Uniform Act.  It addresses many  issues that were  not originally                                                               
covered. She continued:                                                                                                         
     It's a  very complicated looking piece  of legislation,                                                                    
     but,  in  the legal  world,  it  actually makes  things                                                                    
     simpler for  those folks who decide  to do arbitration.                                                                    
     Many  of  the provisions  can  be  waived so  it's  not                                                                    
     something  set  in stone  and,  from  what I've  heard,                                                                    
     people  who do  this type  of thing  think it's  a good                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked, for the  record, if anything in  the bill                                                               
requires  any  form of  arbitration  or  whether it  is  entirely                                                               
voluntary on both parties.                                                                                                      
MS. WEISSLER  replied that  it is  voluntary and has  to be  in a                                                               
contract signed by both parties.                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  if there  is anything  in this  bill that                                                               
would vary from the Uniform Act  or whether it is tailored to any                                                               
other issue particular to the state of Alaska.                                                                                  
MS. WEISSLER answered  that a couple of  provisions were included                                                               
in response  to a  concern of  the Department  of Law  that labor                                                               
agreements  not be  subject to  these  rules unless  specifically                                                               
agreed to.                                                                                                                      
MR.  GRANT  CALLOW,  Attorney  and  Alaska  Commissioner  to  the                                                               
National  Conference  of  Commissioners on  Uniform  State  Laws,                                                               
concurred with Ms. Weissler's answer.                                                                                           
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to pass  CSHB 83(JUD) from  committee with                                                               
its zero  fiscal note and individual  recommendations. There were                                                               
no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                            
         SB 194-LIQUOR DELIVERED TO HOTELS/CRUISE SHIPS                                                                     
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced SB 194 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
SENATOR  GARY   STEVENS,  sponsor,  explained  that   this  issue                                                               
initially arose  because a  florist in  Seward wanted  to deliver                                                               
gift baskets  with alcohol  to cruise ships.  There was  a change                                                               
that  allowed  wine and  champagne  to  be  delivered in  a  gift                                                               
basket,  but  this  bill  would allow  distilled  spirits  to  be                                                               
delivered  either  to cruise  ships  or  to  hotels in  a  floral                                                               
CHAIR BUNDE asked if anyone had expressed opposition.                                                                           
SENATOR STEVENS said he hadn't  heard of any opposition. He moved                                                               
to  pass  SB  194  from  committee  with  zero  fiscal  note  and                                                               
individual recommendations.  There were no objections  and it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
              CSHB 269(FIN)-SAFETY CODE TASK FORCE                                                                          
CHAIR BUNDE announced CSHB 269(FIN) to be up for consideration.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY  DAHLSTROM, sponsor, said that  this bill is                                                               
identical to SB  180, sponsored by Senator  Therriault, which was                                                               
already heard in this committee. There is only one difference -                                                                 
the  size  of  the  advisory  task force  was  expanded  in  CSHB                                                               
269(FIN) to include more folks. She explained:                                                                                  
     There  are five  primary  safety codes  that deal  with                                                                    
     construction  in   Alaska  and   they  are   under  the                                                                    
     jurisdiction  of  two  different  departments.  Therein                                                                    
     lies the  majority of the problems.  The fire, building                                                                    
     and mechanical codes are under  the jurisdiction of the                                                                    
     fire marshall  in the Department  of Public  Safety and                                                                    
     the plumbing  and electrical codes are  governed by the                                                                    
     Department  of Labor.  Each  department is  responsible                                                                    
     for adopting a family of  codes to bring uniformity and                                                                    
     consistency  for obvious  reasons  to the  construction                                                                    
     industry. The  current delegation  of authority  to the                                                                    
     respective  departments  has  caused  quite  a  bit  of                                                                    
     conflict and discrepancies and I  know that through the                                                                    
     hearings you've had that you are familiar with them.                                                                       
     The  mission of  the Safety  Task Force  is to  suggest                                                                    
     options  to consolidate  the  two  groups together  and                                                                    
     they   would   be   tasked  with   coming   back   with                                                                    
     recommendations that would  be due on the  first day of                                                                    
     our second legislative session.                                                                                            
     As part of the task  force, the legislation proposes an                                                                    
     advisory panel. These appointments  will be made by the                                                                    
     Governor   to  represent   the  different   areas.  The                                                                    
     president of the  Senate and speaker of  the House will                                                                    
     jointly appoint  11 additional members that  will serve                                                                    
     on the advisory committee.  The purpose of the advisory                                                                    
     group is to advise the task  force on the effect of any                                                                    
     changes in  code adoption to the  respective industries                                                                    
     that  they belong  with.  This is  also  to insure  the                                                                    
     broadest   representation  of   stakeholders  so   that                                                                    
     everyone has  a good opportunity  and a good  chance to                                                                    
     voice their concerns....                                                                                                   
CHAIR BUNDE  asked if it is  safe to assume the  task force would                                                               
recommend a single code and whether that is possible.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM replied yes and,  although it would be a                                                               
daunting  task,  she thought  it  was  possible. All  agree  that                                                               
safety is the main issue.                                                                                                       
MR. GREG MOORE,  NANA/Colt Engineering, said his  company has 180                                                               
stakeholders and  they support  the idea of  the task  force, but                                                               
they  remain  concerned  that no  building  officials,  local  or                                                               
state,  will sit  in  a voting  position on  the  task force.  He                                                               
conceded  that  building  officials   will  sit  on  an  advisory                                                               
committee, but said that their input  is too valuable to not have                                                               
a voting  position. The  argument he  has heard  is that  using a                                                               
representative  from every  segment  of industry  would make  the                                                               
task  force  too unwieldy  and  he  suggested removing  a  voting                                                               
member that  might not  be as  critical to  the outcome.  He said                                                               
there  is  one   electric  code  and  no  one   is  disputing  an                                                               
[electrician's] place on the task force.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM responded that  her feeling about having                                                               
a member  from the electric  community is that even  though there                                                               
is only one code, it's got to  mesh with all the other codes. She                                                               
felt  their   representation  was  important.  She   felt  it  is                                                               
important to have  a building official on  the advisory committee                                                               
rather  than  the task  force,  because  building officials  have                                                               
regulatory  oversight over  private  sector members  of the  task                                                               
force.  Therefore,  they  have  an  opportunity  to  wield  undue                                                               
influence over other members of the task force.                                                                                 
MR.  COLIN MAYNARD,  APDC, agreed  with the  previous speaker  in                                                               
that the task force needs to be more balanced. He said:                                                                         
     The  fact of  the matter  is that  code enforcement  is                                                                    
     done by  architects and  engineers and  code officials,                                                                    
     not  by contractors  or subcontractors.  Those are  the                                                                    
     people who  work with it every  day designing buildings                                                                    
     and  overseeing  contractors  to  make  sure  they  are                                                                    
     meeting the  requirements of the  code. To  have people                                                                    
     that  are being  overseen  deciding  what code  they're                                                                    
     going to do,  I think, is incorrect.  If the electrical                                                                    
     one is not  the one to pull out of  there to add either                                                                    
     another  engineer  or  the building  official,  then  I                                                                    
     would  combine  the  plumbing  and  mechanical  seat  -                                                                    
     because we've heard testimony that  almost all of these                                                                    
     people    have    both    plumbing    and    mechanical                                                                    
     administrator's  licenses, so  one person  could handle                                                                    
     that job. I don't think  that what this task force will                                                                    
     come  out with  will be  worth anything  if the  design                                                                    
     community and code officials aren't  combined in it and                                                                    
     right now with this make-up we're not buying into it.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSRTOM said  she had made note  of his comments                                                               
again, but  she feels that  the most  efficient way for  the task                                                               
force  to be  set  up  is with  the  members  that are  currently                                                               
CHAIR BUNDE asked if she  could help the committee understand the                                                               
issue Mr.  Maynard makes about  the design people being  the ones                                                               
that are actually doing the  enforcement. He questioned, "Indeed,                                                               
should  they, then,  be deciding  the codes  or is  that the  fox                                                               
guarding the hen house?"                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM asked  if she  could have  Zach Warwick                                                               
from Senator Therriault's office help with the answer.                                                                          
SENATOR SEEKINS interjected and said that he had:                                                                               
     ...agreed  in conversations  with the  Senate President                                                                    
     that  if this  task  force does  become  a reality,  he                                                                    
     would be one of the co-chairs  and he would not take it                                                                    
     kindly for anyone to imply  that that task force, then,                                                                    
     would be unruly  or that the product of  the task force                                                                    
     would be worthless or I wouldn't spend my time there.                                                                      
CHAIR  BUNDE recapped  that  Mr. Maynard's  view  is that  design                                                               
folks are  the ones that  have to  police codes; he  thought they                                                               
are the ones that should help  decide what code it will be rather                                                               
than  the people  who are  being policed  (plumbers, contractors,                                                               
etc.). He wanted to know  what Mr. Warwick and Senator Therriault                                                               
thought  about that  and, if  the  people who  are enforcing  the                                                               
codes  get to  choose which  code,  they would  have an  inherent                                                               
MR. ZACH WARWICK, staff to  Senator Therriault, responded that he                                                               
thought there  would be  some inherent conflict.  "It's a  like a                                                               
police officer writing the law."                                                                                                
He said  that mechanical  plumbing administrators  are ultimately                                                               
the ones  that go out and  inspect their companies' work  to make                                                               
sure  everything is  up  to  snuff when  it  comes  time for  the                                                               
building  inspectors  to  come   out  and  actually  inspect  the                                                               
building. He stated,                                                                                                            
     So, they  do have  a very  direct need  to look  at the                                                                    
     code as  well. Other  than that,  I'm not  sure exactly                                                                    
     where  that question  was heading.  I  don't think  the                                                                    
     design  and  engineering  community   is  the  one  who                                                                    
     polices it;  they are  the ones who  draw the  code. It                                                                    
     would be the  local building official - is  the one who                                                                    
     is going out and policing it.                                                                                              
MR. DOUG MATHERS, Building Official  for the City of Kodiak, said                                                               
he had sent a  fax to the committee. He said the  task force is a                                                               
good idea and noted:                                                                                                            
     My  problem  is  I  don't really  understand  how  come                                                                    
     there's not  a building  official and  a representative                                                                    
     from the  fire marshal's office  as a voting  member on                                                                    
     the  task   force.  We're  the  ones   responsible  for                                                                    
     enforcing  these  codes.  They actually  developed  the                                                                    
     codes  through  the   International  Code  Council  and                                                                    
MR. WARWICK responded  by saying that having  a building official                                                               
as a voting  member would be similar to Senator  Seekins as a car                                                               
dealer  telling the  State of  Alaska which  vehicles to  buy. He                                                               
maintained, "I  think that's the  kind of influence  these people                                                               
would bring to this task force  as a voting member rather than an                                                               
advisory position."                                                                                                             
MAYOR STEVEN  THOMPSON, City  of Fairbanks,  said the  city feels                                                               
the task  force would be  unbalanced without a  building official                                                               
and fire marshall. He indicated:                                                                                                
     The architects and engineers  design the buildings; the                                                                    
     building   officials   enforce   the  codes   and   the                                                                    
     contractors  build the  buildings. I  really think  you                                                                    
     need  to  have  a  better balance  than  what  you  are                                                                    
     proposing on  this task  force. We  go through  quite a                                                                    
     process and I'm  sure all the other  communities do. We                                                                    
     have  a  code review  commission  that  we appoint.  We                                                                    
     spent two years having  hearings and public meetings on                                                                    
     our code review before we  decided what to do with them                                                                    
     and now  to have  that possibly  changed in  the future                                                                    
     kind of scares  us a bit. We want to  make sure this is                                                                    
     balanced, that we  have the right people  on there that                                                                    
     are going  to have objective  views on what's  going to                                                                    
     be taking place.                                                                                                           
SENATOR SEEKINS asked about the  makeup of the city's code review                                                               
MAYOR  THOMPSON said  he would  have  Steve Shuttlesworth  answer                                                               
MR. STEVE SHUTTLESWORTH said the  members consisted of Ron Price,                                                               
a   professional  architect;   Richard  Tilly   (chairman),  Home                                                               
Builders Association;  Jerry Mustard, a mechanical  engineer with                                                               
Holiday Parks;  Bill Howe, a co-consultant  with C.B. Bettisworth                                                               
and  Co.; Jim  Mobius,  an electrical  engineer;  Bill Dryder,  a                                                               
registered structural  engineer with  PDC; and Patty  Pearsall, a                                                               
registered architect.                                                                                                           
SENATOR SEEKINS responded that there  was one individual involved                                                               
in actual  construction; the rest were  engineers, architects and                                                               
MR. SHUTTLESWORTH said that was correct.                                                                                        
MR.  EUGENE RUTLAND,  Executive Director,  Mechanical Contractors                                                               
of  Alaska,  said  his  organization  is  made  up  of  about  50                                                               
contracting  firms that  perform  construction  projects of  many                                                               
types and  sizes across  the state of  Alaska. They  believe that                                                               
code  adoption by  regulation, which  is currently  used in  this                                                               
state, is  flawed and needs  to be  looked at. He  stated support                                                               
for  CSHB 269(FIN)  with no  amendments. He  said the  task force                                                               
would  come up  with solutions  to issues  of code  adoption that                                                               
would have broad  support in the construction  community and that                                                               
members  would  allow  the  stakeholders to  have  an  equal  and                                                               
effective voice in the process.                                                                                                 
MR. CHARLES  DEARDON, City of  Ketchikan, said he  was testifying                                                               
for Mayor Bob Weinstein, and that  he agrees with the mayors from                                                               
Juneau  and Fairbanks  that  this bill  is  flawed regarding  the                                                               
voting members of  the task force. It should  include a municipal                                                               
code official and fire official.                                                                                                
MR.  JAMES  BAISDEN,  Kenai  Fire  Marshal,  expressed  the  same                                                               
concerns as  others that a  building and fire official  would not                                                               
be voting members of the task force. He maintained:                                                                             
     After  the  buildings  are built,  the  fire  officials                                                                    
     still have to  deal with these facilities  for the next                                                                    
     50 to  75 years and for  us not to have  an equal voice                                                                    
     as a voting member of  this committee just doesn't make                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   DAHLSTROM   repeated    that   she   appreciates                                                               
everyone's involvement  and that everyone agrees  this deals with                                                               
critical issues.  She still believed  the current make-up  of the                                                               
task force and advisory panel would be effective.                                                                               
CHAIR BUNDE closed public discussion.                                                                                           
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  he  could see  how this  could  be a  very                                                               
contentious issue  if the  panel is created.  Because this  is so                                                               
contentious, the legislature  has been asked to  become the final                                                               
arbiter  and voters  on  how  the code  issues  are handled.  The                                                               
contractors  need  a  transition period  between  codes.  Because                                                               
there is  tension between  two sets  of codes  and municipalities                                                               
across the  state are able to  adopt different sets of  codes, it                                                               
makes  this   issue  contentious.  This  task   force  will  have                                                               
recommendations for the legislature and  there will still be time                                                               
for everyone to weigh in, but  he hoped they would come back with                                                               
good  recommendations  that  adequately  protect  the  safety  of                                                               
TAPE 03-34, SIDE B                                                                                                            
SENATOR SEEKINS  offered to co-chair  the subcommittee  and hoped                                                               
that all those discussions would take place in it. He asked:                                                                    
     Would I as a member  of the committee put more credence                                                                    
     in  the  vote  of  someone on  the  task  force  versus                                                                    
     someone  I knew?  I've  known  Steve Shuttlesworth  for                                                                    
     years; I've known Mayor Thompson  for years; I've known                                                                    
     several contractors  for years; the man  who helped put                                                                    
     me in business was a  mechanical contractor. My dad was                                                                    
     an electrical contractor. I had  a journeyman's book in                                                                    
     the carpenter's union when I was 19 years old....                                                                          
He said  he hoped to  bring back a  common sense solution  to the                                                               
tension  between  these  two  groups.   He  moved  to  pass  CSHB                                                               
294(FIN),   version    I,   from   committee    with   individual                                                               
recommendations,  and  said,  "...with   the  commitment,  if  it                                                               
passes, as  co-chairman that I'll  work with everybody to  try to                                                               
come up with  a solid recommendation to bring back  so we can get                                                               
it solved next year."                                                                                                           
CHAIR  BUNDE  noted  there  were  no objections  and  it  was  so                                                               
     CSHB 257(JUD)am-REAL ESTATE LICENSEES:DUTIES & CLAIMS                                                                  
CHAIR BUNDE announced CSHB 257(JUD)am  to be up for consideration                                                               
and said he had prepared a committee substitute (CS) for it.                                                                    
2:30 - 2:32 - at ease                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  NORM  ROKEBERG,  sponsor  of HB  257,  said  this                                                               
legislation is a combination of work  that has been under way for                                                               
about eight years. He explained:                                                                                                
     There is nothing  in this bill that  changes the duties                                                                    
     of a  real estate  licensee to  make a  disclosure when                                                                    
     they  represent either  a  buyer, a  seller  or a  dual                                                                    
     agent,  both  of  which are  recognized  under  current                                                                    
     Alaska statute.                                                                                                            
He  noted in  1991, the  legislature required  disclosure by  the                                                               
licensee  about  his  or  her  relationship  and  duties  in  the                                                               
transaction   to   the   client.  Currently,   you   can't   have                                                               
preauthorized  permission  from  a  house seller,  who  may  have                                                               
transferred out  of state, to  show his  house, which is  what is                                                               
occurring  right now  because of  a recent  court interpretation.                                                               
The  bill encompasses  the  right to  have  a preauthorized  dual                                                               
agency  relationship, allowing  a  property to  be presented  and                                                               
CHAIR  BUNDE  asked  if  the  CS  would  still  provide  consumer                                                               
protection for the dual agency.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  replied   absolutely.  It  only  allows                                                               
preauthorization and limits any remedy  if there's a failure or a                                                               
technical  breakdown, like  not getting  the paperwork  signed at                                                               
the right time.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR BUNDE  asked if a person  could sue to recover  an economic                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied that is correct.                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  moved to adopt SCS CSHB 257,  version X, as                                                               
the  working document.  There were  no objections  and it  was so                                                               
CHAIR  BUNDE  asked  if  that  was  the  document  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg was speaking to.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  said that  is correct.  He also  said he                                                               
had to go to anther meeting  so his staff, Heather Nobrega, would                                                               
continue to answer questions.                                                                                                   
SENATOR RALPH  SEEKINS asked  about the  current penalty  for not                                                               
explaining the  preauthorization situation to a  client. He asked                                                               
if there is a timeline for disclosure under the current law.                                                                    
MS. HEATHER  NOBREGA, staff to Representative  Rokeberg, answered                                                               
the current law  is interpreted to mean the disclosure  has to be                                                               
made before the agent walks in the front door of that house.                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  if it  is acceptable  for the  clients to                                                               
sign a paper later saying they understood it.                                                                                   
MS.  NOBREGA replied  that the  way the  law is  interpreted, the                                                               
agent would be in violation of the law.                                                                                         
CHAIR BUNDE said it was explained  to him that under current law,                                                               
not  only do  you need  permission, you  need written  permission                                                               
every time you show that  property. This bill would allow blanket                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked if that  requirement is in statute  or was                                                               
set by precedent.                                                                                                               
MS. NOBREGA answered  that is how the  court recently interpreted                                                               
the statute so it's a combination of both.                                                                                      
SENATOR  STEVENS wanted  to know  more about  the court  case and                                                               
what other issues were involved.                                                                                                
MR. HOWARD  TRICKEY, Prudential Jack White  and Prudential Vista,                                                               
said the  problem with  the current  law is  that the  statute is                                                               
vague  and   ambiguous  and  allowed   the  court  to   make  its                                                               
interpretation in  a single  case that  was just  litigated under                                                               
the  statute.  The  main  part  of   the  case  had  to  do  with                                                               
misrepresentation  and breach  of fiduciary  duties under  common                                                               
law.  As a  sideshow  in  the case,  the  ambiguous clause  about                                                               
disclosures that  Representative Rokeberg  talked about -  when a                                                               
seller  or buyer  receives specific  "assistance from  an agent,"                                                               
was interpreted  to have to  happen at  the initial showing  of a                                                               
A number  of claims in that  court case would not  be affected by                                                               
the proposed legislation - for  breach of fiduciary duty and tort                                                               
claims - contentions that the  agent had breached her contractual                                                               
obligation  and violated  general common  law agency  principles.                                                               
That was  the focus of the  decision by the Superior  Court judge                                                               
in   that  case.   The  contention   was  that   the  agent   had                                                               
misrepresented the value  of the property as  she had information                                                               
that  indicated  the property  was  worth  less than  the  asking                                                               
price.  The  buyer's  contention  was  that  he  suffered  actual                                                               
damages  because he  paid too  much for  the property.  Under the                                                               
proposed  amendment, if  a buyer  is damaged  and suffers  actual                                                               
damages by virtue  of a violation of the statute,  they can bring                                                               
claim  under the  statute  as well  as bring  a  claim under  the                                                               
common law of agency law, tort law or contract law.                                                                             
Section  4 of  the  CS  allows for  a  remedy  limited to  actual                                                               
damages  for violation  of the  statute. The  House version  said                                                               
there  would be  no  cause  of action  for  a  violation of  this                                                               
statute.  The reason  they want  to  limit the  remedy to  actual                                                               
damages  is   that  industry  is  facing   devastating  financial                                                               
consequences from  class action  plaintiffs' lawyers who  want to                                                               
bring  and are  asserting  the claim  in a  pending  case over  a                                                               
transaction where  no one suffered  any actual damages.  All they                                                               
are seeking is a return  of the commissions and punitive damages.                                                               
They feel  that is an  unfair financial  exposure and risk  to an                                                               
industry  (a lot  of  small business  people)  that cannot  cover                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS asked what actual damages really meant.                                                                         
MR. TRICKEY  replied that actual damages  would be the cost  to a                                                               
buyer who paid too  much or a seller who sold  for too little, if                                                               
the damage was caused by the  lack of disclosure that is required                                                               
by  the statute.  Another type  would be  if the  property had  a                                                               
defect or needed a repair.                                                                                                      
The  bill  says  the  plaintiff's remedy  for  violation  of  the                                                               
statute  would be  limited to  actual damages,  which would  be a                                                               
recovery  of the  commissions and  punitive damages.  Because the                                                               
claim is based  on a violation of a statute,  the legislature has                                                               
the  constitutional power  and authority  to limit  what remedies                                                               
ought to be available for a statutory violation.                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  said he  had received 158  e-mails about  this issue                                                               
from  around the  state  and  a vast  majority  of  them were  in                                                               
MR. STEVE  CONN, Alaska Public Interest  Research Group (AKPIRG),                                                               
said  he  could  show  members   why  the  legislation  would  be                                                               
egregiously damaging to the consumer:                                                                                           
     You're  probably  aware  of how  sacrosanct  an  agency                                                                    
     relationship  is  and  the fiduciary  duty  that  flows                                                                    
     there   from.  Fiduciary   duties,   of  course,   were                                                                    
     established  originally  in  common law.  There  is  no                                                                    
     question  that  a  dual agency  or  an  individual  who                                                                    
     purports to be  an agent with fiduciary  duties to both                                                                    
     buyer and seller is damnably complicated....                                                                               
     The problems, not  in the order of  their severity, are                                                                    
     it appears that the dual  agency concept is expanded to                                                                    
     lessors and lessees  as well as buyers  and sellers. So                                                                    
     now  there  is  not  only  unsophisticated  buyers  and                                                                    
     sellers,  but unsophisticated  lessors and  lessees who                                                                    
     have to suffer  through the question of  can they trust                                                                    
     their  agent. Language  in the  CS doesn't  clarify; if                                                                    
     anything,  it muddles  the written  authorization until                                                                    
     the   licensee's  relationship   with   the  party   is                                                                    
     completely established. Now, if  that is not subject to                                                                    
     a thousand  different interpretations by the  court, by                                                                    
     the   buyer,   by   the   seller,   leading   to   more                                                                    
     complications, I don't know what is.                                                                                       
     The limitation of simple  remedies is particularly bad,                                                                    
     not only in  future cases, but what  is more outrageous                                                                    
     than that is that you  are being called to intervene in                                                                    
     ongoing litigation about which  you have heard only one                                                                    
     side and  not a  very clear picture  of that  one side.                                                                    
     Apparently,  under  the   committee  substitute  you're                                                                    
     being asked  to take this  legislation and apply  it to                                                                    
     whatever  action  out  there....  in  court...  to  re-                                                                    
     determine the whole relationship retroactively....                                                                         
MR. CONN  said that art.  1, sec.  15 of the  Alaska Constitution                                                               
prohibits various kinds of state  actions and mentions impairment                                                               
of  contractual relationships.  He stated,  "This sort  of smells                                                               
like an unconstitutional action."                                                                                               
He said further:                                                                                                                
     If the  dual agency  arrangement is too  complicated to                                                                    
     handle  in   terms  of   parsing  out   the  respective                                                                    
     obligation either in writing  or in oral representation                                                                    
     and is too burdensome, then  they shouldn't do it. They                                                                    
     should  allow some  other agency  to  handle the  other                                                                    
     side  of  the transaction  or  they  should consider  a                                                                    
     breakdown into agents  who represent exclusively buyers                                                                    
     and exclusively sellers.                                                                                                   
CHAIR BUNDE  noted that  the committee just  went through  a back                                                               
wages  issue, which  was retroactive  and that  was deemed  to be                                                               
constitutional by the legislative legal folks.                                                                                  
MS. LINDA GARRISON,  real estate broker, Number  One Agency, said                                                               
they had  spent a  lot of hours  on this issue  to show  that the                                                               
consumer is the  one that should be thought of  here. She was not                                                               
surprised that  members received  so many  e-mails in  support of                                                               
this  legislation because  a lot  of agents  have been  violating                                                               
state law  and got  caught. Now  they want to  change the  law to                                                               
reflect what they have been doing for a long time.                                                                              
She said  the House removed  the retroactive clause on  this bill                                                               
because it  recognized that  was wrong.  In conclusion  she urged                                                               
members to not weaken the common  law of agencies and to not make                                                               
the law retroactive.                                                                                                            
MR.  DAVID GARRISON  said  he  is an  associate  broker and  owns                                                               
several businesses, one of which  leases properties. He explained                                                               
that one  of the findings  of fact in  the lawsuit is  that there                                                               
were offers  presented to the agent  who did not present  them to                                                               
the seller.  The agent stated that  the seller would only  take a                                                               
full-price  offer. She  did not  give disclosures.  She told  the                                                               
buyer  he  had to  buy  the  property  from  her. The  acts  were                                                               
egregious  and that  is why  punitive damages  were awarded.  The                                                               
case  settled a  year and  a  half ago.  He noted  that no  other                                                               
situations like that had occurred since then.                                                                                   
MR. GARRISON said  he had a problem with section  4, which limits                                                               
     The law  now is strong  enough.... The problem  is that                                                                    
     these  companies  which  have 300  agents  don't  train                                                                    
     their personnel well. It is  a matter of education. And                                                                    
       that's one of the things that needs to be brought                                                                        
     forward - better education.                                                                                                
He opposed the dual agency  relationship because it only benefits                                                               
the agent.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR SEEKINS asked if he was a party to this case.                                                                           
MR. GARRISON  replied no. He is  familiar with it because  he sat                                                               
on the agency task force and read the findings of the court.                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS asked him if he is a dual agent.                                                                                
MR. GARRISON replied that AAA  Customer Services owns most of the                                                               
properties it deals with.                                                                                                       
SENATOR SEEKINS asked if he advocated for single agency.                                                                        
MR. GARRISON  replied that he  is an advocate for  single agency,                                                               
but  also  tries  to  be  realistic about  the  fact  that  large                                                               
companies  have  this  problem. He  maintained,  "The  disclosure                                                               
needs to be there though, and they need to do it."                                                                              
SENATOR SEEKINS asked which part of section 4 he didn't like.                                                                   
MR.  GARRISON   replied  limiting  the  amount   of  damages  for                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS asked if he  thought someone should be allowed to                                                               
get punitive damages, not just actual damages.                                                                                  
MR. GARRISON replied yes.                                                                                                       
SENATOR SEEKINS asked  if he thought a clerical  error that could                                                               
be an error of timing should be cause for punitive damages.                                                                     
MR.  GARRISON  replied yes.  He  said  also  that it's  just  not                                                               
possible to be  a buyer's agent and a seller's  agent at the same                                                               
time. He stated, "It's like  one attorney representing both sides                                                               
of a divorce."                                                                                                                  
MS. GARRISON said she felt  strongly about that section also. She                                                               
did not think  the public right for any remedy  should be blocked                                                               
in  this way.  She maintained,  "We have  a very  good check  and                                                               
balance system."                                                                                                                
MR.  GARRISON clarified  that he  is not  saying there  should be                                                               
punitive damages  for a  clerical error. In  the court  case, the                                                               
agent told  the court that  was how  she did business  and that's                                                               
how she would  continue to do business. That's what  was found as                                                               
a grievous act, which is what punitive damages are all about.                                                                   
3:15 p.m.                                                                                                                       
TAPE 03-35, SIDE A                                                                                                            
MR. TRICKEY said he thought  this bill protects consumers because                                                               
it allows them  to recover for actual damages; it  doesn't in any                                                               
way change  the common law of  agency at all. Most  of the people                                                               
who say it  will don't understand the legislation.  Also, most of                                                               
the comments  about a pending  case are about the  Bonnie Maynard                                                               
case and  this is  not about  that case.  He indicated,  "If that                                                               
case went to  trial today under this statute, there  would be the                                                               
same result,  because there were misrepresentations  made in that                                                               
CHAIR  BUNDE said  that Ms.  Maynard  still has  her real  estate                                                               
license and  asked why the  State Real Estate Commission  had not                                                               
met to discipline her yet.                                                                                                      
MR. TRICKEY replied that he didn't  know where the case stands in                                                               
terms  of   the  disciplinary  process,  but   an  administrative                                                               
proceeding [is underway] to address  whether discipline should be                                                               
taken against her as a licensee.                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS moved to pass  SCS CSHB 257(L&C), version X, from                                                               
committee   with  individual   recommendations.  There   were  no                                                               
objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                               
3:18 - 3:19 p.m. - at ease                                                                                                      
          CSHB 195(L&C)am-STATE HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN                                                                       
SENATOR  SEEKINS   announced  CSHB   195(L&C)am  to  be   up  for                                                               
MS. HEATHER NOBREGA, staff  to Representative Rokeberg, explained                                                               
that CSHB  195(L&C)am deals  with two  distinct areas.  Section 1                                                               
attempts  to give  individual health  care insurance  seekers the                                                               
option of  providing a bare  bones insurance policy  that doesn't                                                               
include the  state mandates listed  in statute. This  is intended                                                               
to  be in  addition  to  the normal  individual  plan that  would                                                               
include  all the  mandates  that are  required.  The proposed  CS                                                               
includes clarifying language  on this issue on page 2,  lines 2 -                                                               
4,  that  the  bare  bones  coverage  is  "in  addition  to"  the                                                               
mandatory coverages listed in statute.                                                                                          
The Division  of Insurance  requested the  second portion  of the                                                               
bill.  The federal  government has  adopted the  Trade Adjustment                                                               
Assistance Act,  which provides a  65% health care tax  credit on                                                               
an insurance  premium for  people, like  timber and  oil workers,                                                               
who  have lost  their jobs  due to  the effects  of international                                                               
trade acts.                                                                                                                     
Sections 2  through 9  make conforming  amendments to  the Alaska                                                               
Comprehensive  Health Insurance  Association (ACHIA)  statutes so                                                               
that those  individuals who  do qualify  under the  Federal Trade                                                               
Adjustment Assistance  Act can  actually get  65% of  their ACHIA                                                               
premiums paid by the federal government.                                                                                        
SENATOR DAVIS arrived at 3:22 p.m.                                                                                              
SENATOR SEEKINS moved  to adopt SCS CSHB 195(L&C),  version U, as                                                               
the  working document.  There were  no objections  and it  was so                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS asked  Ms. Nobrega to explain the  numbers on the                                                               
handout, which she did briefly.                                                                                                 
SENATOR SEEKINS asked  what the impetus was to  provide this kind                                                               
of policy.                                                                                                                      
MS.  NOBREGA  replied  that this  was  Representative  Rokeberg's                                                               
idea. He  wanted to  help provide  cheaper health  care insurance                                                               
for people  who don't want all  the coverage but would  like some                                                               
form of health care insurance.                                                                                                  
MS.  MICHELLE  CASSANO,  Executive  Director,  American  Diabetes                                                               
Association, wanted  to clarify  the mandate  in AS  06.42.390 is                                                               
for   coverage  of   diabetes  treatment   including  medication,                                                               
equipment and education. She indicated:                                                                                         
     HB  195  will  eliminate  the  requirement  that  state                                                                    
     regulated  individual  health   insurance  plans  cover                                                                    
     diabetes   supplies,   equipment  and   self-management                                                                    
     education. It  will eliminate a similar  requirement to                                                                    
     many  other  health  benefits. The  business  community                                                                    
     claims   mandates-free   policies  provide   affordable                                                                    
     health  insurance  through [indisc.]  consumer  choice,                                                                    
     but,  in   fact,  they   only  provide   employers  and                                                                    
     consumers with  the choice of  a health  insurance plan                                                                    
     that does not cover basic, necessary services.                                                                             
     HB  195  will allow  diabetes  coverage  to be  offered                                                                    
     rather  than required  in  individual health  insurance                                                                    
     plans.  [Indisc.]  option   coverage,  but  it  doesn't                                                                    
She said that  they wouldn't support HB 195 unless  section 1 was                                                               
eliminated.  Approximately   39,000  Alaskans  are   affected  by                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS  asked if  the changes in  the bill  would remove                                                               
the mandate that insurance  policies cover preventative treatment                                                               
of diabetes  and whether that  would let the  insurance companies                                                               
off the hook  for all of the debilitating aspects  of diabetes as                                                               
it progresses.                                                                                                                  
MS. CASSANO replied that it  is scientific fact that preventative                                                               
care and good control of  diabetes can limit complications in the                                                               
aggregate by 68% in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.                                                                            
MS. LOIS HILDEBRAND, Volunteer, American Cancer Society, said:                                                                  
     This bill  sets up  a dangerous precedent  for Alaskans                                                                    
     for  not getting  life-saving  cancer screening  tests.                                                                    
     Furthermore,    it   contains    inconsistencies   that                                                                    
     undermine the  stated intent  of the  legislation. Over                                                                    
     the last  decade, state legislatures  have increasingly                                                                    
     become aware  of the importance of  requiring insurance                                                                    
     coverage  for  cancer  screening.  Early  detection  of                                                                    
     cancer is the key to survival....                                                                                          
She  said that  all attempts  made to  reduce required  insurance                                                               
coverage in Washington State failed.                                                                                            
MR. BILL MOORE, Manager, Legislative  Policy, [indisc.], said his                                                               
group likes legislation that responds  to consumer concerns about                                                               
rising costs of health insurance  premiums and offers a choice in                                                               
the health  insurance marketplace.  He stated,  "We think  HB 195                                                               
advances all of these principles."                                                                                              
MS. JANEL WRIGHT,  Anchorage resident, said she  has had diabetes                                                               
for over 27 years  and urged the committee to not  pass HB 195 or                                                               
at least to eliminate section 1.  She pointed out, "Access to and                                                               
reimbursement   providing  supplies   and   equipment  and   self                                                               
management  education  is  cost  effective."  She  said  managing                                                               
diabetes is  expensive, but the  cost to treat  the complications                                                               
of unmanaged diabetes is even more expensive.                                                                                   
MS. LINDA HALL,  Director of the Division of  Insurance, said she                                                               
thought there  was a misunderstanding about  this particular bill                                                               
and the adopted CS.                                                                                                             
     There is  no intention  on the part  of the  sponsor of                                                                    
     the bill,  which has  the support  of the  division, to                                                                    
     remove mandates  for coverage. This  was an  attempt to                                                                    
     make  an option  available should  anyone choose  to do                                                                    
     so,  requires a  very  clear disclosure  of the  lesser                                                                    
     coverage provided by this particular  option so that it                                                                    
     might  make a  small dent  in the  number of  uninsured                                                                    
     people. We have a  problem with health insurance costs;                                                                    
     we have a problem with health care costs....                                                                               
MS. HALL  said the CS  specifically maintains those  mandates for                                                               
individuals who  choose to buy  individual health  care policies.                                                               
This  does  not  affect  group   policies  or  employer  provided                                                               
policies at all. She explained:                                                                                                 
     The Division  of Insurance did  ask for the  balance of                                                                    
     this  bill to  be added.  There will  be federal  money                                                                    
     available  in August  for  individuals  whose jobs  are                                                                    
     replaced through various  international trade assistant                                                                    
     acts. This money is coming  from the federal government                                                                    
     and will  be administered  by the Department  of Labor.                                                                    
     Again, this  is a small  step in helping  alleviate our                                                                    
     uninsured population.  The estimate  right now  is that                                                                    
     there  probably would  have been  200 people  this year                                                                    
     affected by  this. The estimates  we were given  by the                                                                    
     Alaska Department of  Labor indicated up to  as many as                                                                    
     2,000  could have  been affected  in some  prior years.                                                                    
     We're very  much encouraging you  to pass this  bill so                                                                    
     that our  citizens will  be eligible  for this  care in                                                                    
     August when the money is available.                                                                                        
CHAIR BUNDE thanked  her and said they would hear  the bill again                                                               
and Ms.  Hall would be  available, but  he wanted to  take public                                                               
testimony with the remaining time.                                                                                              
MS. BETSY TURNER-BOGGREN, Ester  resident, asked the committee to                                                               
not support  HB 195 as  it is written.  Three years ago,  she and                                                               
her son, Max,  traveled to Juneau and testified in  front of this                                                               
committee  in  support of  HB  298  and  SB 276,  which  required                                                               
insurers in our state to  reimburse for costs related to diabetes                                                               
management. It became law and  had overwhelming support. She told                                                               
members, "HB 195 would not create  a new type of health insurance                                                               
policy. Instead, it would recreate  the old type of policies that                                                               
did not work well for the people of Alaska."                                                                                    
CHAIR  BUNDE  responded  that  testimony  from  the  Division  of                                                               
Insurance said  that this  bill does  not remove  any requirement                                                               
for coverage.                                                                                                                   
MS.  BOGGREN replied  that  she didn't  think  that the  language                                                               
stated that very clearly, especially in section 1, which says:                                                                  
         A health care insurer may offer a health care                                                                          
      insurance plan issued to the individual market that                                                                       
     does not include health coverage required under...                                                                         
CHAIR  BUNDE said  he  would get  further  clarification of  that                                                               
MS.  KARIN  BRAUN,  Nurse Midwife,  opposed  HB  195,  especially                                                               
section  1. She  was concerned  that if  the legislature  creates                                                               
this precedent for individuals, group insurance will follow.                                                                    
MS.  CARLA  WILLIAMS,  Alaska Breast  Cancer  Advocacy  Partners,                                                               
opposed  HB  195   and  said  that  she   had  submitted  written                                                               
MS.  CAMILLE SOLEIL,  Alaska Nurses  Association (ANA),  said the                                                               
ANA opposes section  1 of HB 195. The ANA's  concern is that this                                                               
type of insurance would discriminate against midwives.                                                                          
CHAIR  BUNDE apologized  for rushing  the testimony,  but members                                                               
were late  for another meeting.  He said  he would hold  the bill                                                               
for further work and testimony.                                                                                                 
CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting at 3:47 p.m.                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects