Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/26/2004 01:37 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                              
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                       February 26, 2004                                                                                        
                           1:37 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
TAPE(S) 04-15, 16                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Con Bunde, Chair                                                                                                        
Senator Ralph Seekins, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 324                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to  floral business  telephone listings  and to                                                               
acts involving those listings that  are considered unlawful trade                                                               
practices."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 315                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to the  administration  of commercial  fishing                                                               
entry permit buy-back programs."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 315 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 306                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to the  practice of naturopathic  medicine; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 306 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 311                                                                                                             
"An   Act  providing   for  a   special   deposit  for   workers'                                                               
compensation insurers; relating to the  board of governors of the                                                               
Alaska  Insurance  Guaranty   Association;  relating  to  covered                                                               
workers'  compensation  claims  paid   by  the  Alaska  Insurance                                                               
Guaranty Association; stating the  intent of the legislature, and                                                               
setting   out   limitations,   concerning   the   interpretation,                                                               
construction, and  implementation of workers'  compensation laws;                                                               
relating  to  restructuring   the  Alaska  workers'  compensation                                                               
system;  eliminating  the  Alaska  Workers'  Compensation  Board;                                                               
establishing  a  division  of workers'  compensation  within  the                                                               
Department  of  Labor  and Workforce  Development  and  assigning                                                               
certain  Alaska  Workers'  Compensation Board  functions  to  the                                                               
division and  the Department of Labor  and Workforce Development;                                                               
establishing   a   Workers'  Compensation   Appeals   Commission;                                                               
assigning certain  functions of the Alaska  Workers' Compensation                                                               
Board to  the Workers' Compensation Appeals  Commission; relating                                                               
to  agreements that  discharge  workers' compensation  liability;                                                               
providing   for  hearing   officers   in  workers'   compensation                                                               
proceedings; relating  to workers' compensation  awards; relating                                                               
to an  employer's failure to  insure and keep insured  or provide                                                               
security;  providing   for  appeals  from   compensation  orders;                                                               
relating  to  workers'  compensation proceedings;  providing  for                                                               
supreme  court   jurisdiction  of   appeals  from   the  Workers'                                                               
Compensation Appeals  Commission; providing for a  maximum amount                                                               
for  the cost-of-  living  adjustment  for workers'  compensation                                                               
benefits;  providing for  administrative penalties  for employers                                                               
uninsured   or    without   adequate   security    for   workers'                                                               
compensation; relating  to assigned risk pools  and insurers; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 27                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to pesticide use; relating  to program receipts                                                               
collected  by the  Department of  Environmental Conservation  for                                                               
registrations and licenses relating  to pesticides; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 315                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ENTRY PERMIT BUY-BACK PROGRAM                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s)  STEVENS B  BY REQUEST OF  SALMON INDUSTRY                                                               
TASK FORCE                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
02/11/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/11/04       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
02/24/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 306                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE                                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SEEKINS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/06/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/06/04       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
02/19/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/19/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/19/04       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 311                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INSURANCE & WORKERS' COMPENSATION SYSTEM                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/09/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/09/04       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
02/10/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/10/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/10/04       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/19/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/19/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/19/04       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  27                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: TRACKING OF PESTICIDE USE                                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) ELLIS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/21/03       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/17/03                                                                               
01/21/03       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/03       (S)       L&C, RES, FIN                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Cheryl Sutton                                                                                                               
Staff to Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                    
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Present to answer questions on SB 315.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Brian Hove                                                                                                                  
Staff to Senator Ralph Seekins                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Present to answer questions on SB 306.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wayne Aderhold                                                                                                              
Homer AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Michael Yourkowski                                                                                                          
Homer AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Shevaun Meggitt Tonseth                                                                                                     
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Dr. David Newirth, ND                                                                                                           
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Dr. Kayce Rose, ND                                                                                                              
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Dr. Madeleine Morrison-Young, ND                                                                                                
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Pamela Hansen                                                                                                               
Kenai AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Jane Simons                                                                                                                 
Kasilof AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Dr. Torrey Smith, ND                                                                                                            
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 306.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Linda Hall, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 311.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Paul Lisankie, Director                                                                                                     
Division of Workers' Compensation                                                                                               
Department of Labor & Workforce                                                                                                 
  Development                                                                                                                   
PO Box 21149                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK 99802-1149                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 311.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jim Robison                                                                                                                 
Eagle River AK 99577                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 311.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Pam LaBolle, President                                                                                                      
Alaska State Chamber of Commerce                                                                                                
     nd                                                                                                                         
217 2 St.                                                                                                                       
Juneau AK 99801                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 311.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Patricia Wilson                                                                                                             
Harbor Adjustment Services                                                                                                      
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 311.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Susan Daniels, Vice President                                                                                               
Workers' Compensation                                                                                                           
Northern Adjusters                                                                                                              
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 311.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Mike Klawitter, Director                                                                                                    
Risk Management                                                                                                                 
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 311.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Constance Livsey                                                                                                            
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 311.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 27.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Geran Tarr                                                                                                                  
Chief of Staff for Senator Ellis                                                                                                
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 27 for sponsor.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Kristin Ryan, Director                                                                                                      
Division of Environmental Health                                                                                                
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
410 Willoughby                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99801-1795                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 27.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Clay Frick                                                                                                                  
Port Alexander AK                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 27.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Marie Lavigne, Executive Director                                                                                           
Alaska Public Health Association                                                                                                
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 27.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Walt Parker                                                                                                                 
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 27.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Michelle Wilson                                                                                                             
Alaska Community Action on Toxics                                                                                               
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 27.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Ken Perry                                                                                                                   
Paratex Pied Piper                                                                                                              
         th                                                                                                                     
2440 E 88 Ave., Suite A                                                                                                         
Anchorage AK 99507                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 27.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Dr. Adam Grove, ND                                                                                                              
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 27.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-15, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
              SB 315-ENTRY PERMIT BUY-BACK PROGRAM                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON  BUNDE called  the Senate  Labor and  Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order  at 1:37  p.m. Present  were Senators                                                               
Gary Stevens, Ralph  Seekins, Hollis French and  Chair Con Bunde.                                                               
Senator Bettye Davis was excused.  The first order of business to                                                               
come before the committee was SB 315.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. CHERYL SUTTON, Staff to Senator Ben Stevens, sponsor of SB                                                                  
315, was present to answer questions, but there were none.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  RALPH SEEKINS  moved to  pass  SB 315,  version D,  from                                                               
committee with  individual recommendations and zero  fiscal note.                                                               
Senators Stevens, French, Seekins and  Chair Bunde voted yea; and                                                               
SB 315 moved from committee.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                  SB 306-NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced SB 306 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIAN HOVE, staff to Senator  Seekins, sponsor of SB 306, was                                                               
present to answer questions.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE  said he  had  asked  if naturopathic  colleges  are                                                               
associated  with traditional  colleges  and had  found that  they                                                               
aren't. He asked if Mr. Hove  knew of any major universities that                                                               
offered a degree in naturopathy.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOVE replied that he wasn't aware of any.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  said the Alaska  State Medical  Association suggests                                                               
that if SB 306 is enacted,  it should be amended to keep existing                                                               
law pertaining to naturopaths in  place and add a subsection that                                                               
would hold naturopaths  to the same standard of  care as licensed                                                               
physicians. He asked if anyone wanted to comment on that.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  what the  Medical Association  defines as                                                               
"same  standard of  care". He  forged  ahead saying  that SB  306                                                               
allows  naturopaths  to  practice  up   to  the  level  of  their                                                               
education and  only prescribe drugs  if they have been  granted a                                                               
Drug  Enforcement  Association  License and  perform  only  minor                                                               
surgery.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     If it  means that naturopaths  will have to be  held to                                                                    
     the same standard  as the doctor in  the performance of                                                                    
     those duties, I don't see  where anyone would object to                                                                    
     that....  They are  under  a  greater restriction  here                                                                    
     than a  nurse practitioner  or a  physician's assistant                                                                    
     and  have equivalent  or better  educational background                                                                    
     to support that....                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I think  all performing people  in the area  of medical                                                                    
     practice  should   be  held   to  the  same   level  of                                                                    
     performance  or standard  or performance  equivalent to                                                                    
     the levels of authority  that we're allowing them under                                                                    
     state  law, if  that's the  answer to  the question.  I                                                                    
     have no problem with that.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  said he had  no problem  with that either  and added                                                               
that the  Medical Association  also wanted  to keep  the existing                                                               
law  pertaining  to  naturopaths in  place  without  prescription                                                               
rights, if applicable.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. WAYNE ADERHOLD, Homer resident, supported SB 306.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Naturopathic  physicians  have   a  right  to  practice                                                                    
     commensurate with  their training  and to  provide even                                                                    
     more comprehensive  primary care  to their  patients in                                                                    
     Alaska and  I have a right  to receive that care  in my                                                                    
     home state....                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. ADERHOLD  said he uses  naturopathic services for  95 percent                                                               
of  his health  care needs  and related  how he  was successfully                                                               
treated  for  melanoma  through surgery  and  non-toxic  adjutant                                                               
therapy  from  a  naturopathic team  in  Arizona,  spending  only                                                               
$20,000 out of pocket. Although he  felt that the State of Alaska                                                               
is somewhat  progressive in allowing naturopaths  to practice, it                                                               
isn't as progressive as Arizona.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Naturopathic  health  care  is  supported  by  informed                                                                    
     consumers  throughout this  state [Alaska],  because it                                                                    
     is effective both  medically and financially. Consumers                                                                    
     of  naturopathic  services  are  required  to  take  an                                                                    
     active part  in decision-making and  responsibility for                                                                    
     their  own  health.  Naturopathic physicians  are  true                                                                    
     followers  of  the tenant,  first  do  not harm,  which                                                                    
     might be your standard care.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ADERHOLD  also  supported  regulations  established  by  the                                                               
naturopathic  board  and  informed  the  committee,  "Malpractice                                                               
rates on naturopathic physicians  are miniscule compared to those                                                               
on other physicians."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked Mr.  Aderhold, in the  course of  his melanoma                                                               
treatment, if he  needed a drug that a  naturopathic doctor could                                                               
have prescribed, but was not able to because of existing law.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ADERHOLD  replied  that  because  he  received  his  initial                                                               
treatment in  Arizona, where naturopaths can  write prescriptions                                                               
for regulated  drugs, he was able  to receive the one  he needed.                                                               
He received mostly unregulated drugs.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MICHAEL YOURKOWSKI,  Homer resident, said he is  a patient of                                                               
Dr.  Patrick Huffman,  ND,  in  Homer and  his  wife  is a  nurse                                                               
practitioner who  works in association  with him.  "Together they                                                               
provide  complementary  medicine  that  patients  really  benefit                                                               
from."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He  stressed  the  importance  of the  licensing  board  and  the                                                               
legitimacy it  would provide for people  who practice naturopathy                                                               
in Alaska.  He claimed his wife  is a nurse practitioner  and has                                                               
the   right  to   prescribe  medicine   while  her   naturopathic                                                               
associate, who has more education, cannot.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHEVAUN  TONSETH, Anchorage resident,  said she  fully trusts                                                               
her naturopathic  doctor, Dr.  Kayce Rose, and  prefers to  go to                                                               
her  for all  of her  primary care  instead of  going to  her and                                                               
another doctor.  "I feel she  should be  able to prescribe  or do                                                               
minor surgeries to what her training is...."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. DAVID  NEWIRTH, ND,  Anchorage, supported  SB 306,  "Based on                                                               
the fact that we do have the  training we're asking to be able to                                                               
practice to that level."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked him  to comment  on the  Medical Association's                                                               
request that  naturopaths be  held to the  same standard  of care                                                               
and whether there is a different standard of care at this point.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. NEWIRTH replied  that he didn't really  know the particulars,                                                               
but he  didn't see  that there  should be  any difference  in the                                                               
standard of care.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR. KAYCE  ROSE, ND, said she  thought that the standard  of care                                                               
is what is really at stake in SB 306.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     To  be able  to insure  that our  patients are  able to                                                                    
     receive  the  care  that   is  most  efficacious,  most                                                                    
     appropriate, for whatever they  are experiencing at the                                                                    
     time  is  contingent  on  our ability  to  be  able  to                                                                    
     prescribe  medicine  when  appropriate.  Our  education                                                                    
     allows us  to be  the most well-trained  physicians for                                                                    
     primary care  out there  because we  have such  a broad                                                                    
     spectrum of  opportunities of  types of  therapies that                                                                    
     we do offer.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR.  ROSE said  her  patients  might have  to  spend health  care                                                               
dollars  twice to  get  the same  type of  care.  She related  an                                                               
actual experience  in which one  of her patients  had dangerously                                                               
high blood  sugar and couldn't  wait the  three months to  see an                                                               
endocrinologist  who could  prescribe the  appropriate medication                                                               
and couldn't afford going to a  more emergent type of health care                                                               
facility.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. ROSE  said that naturopathic  colleges are not  extensions of                                                               
traditional   medical   schools,    but   they   are   accredited                                                               
universities  and are  held to  the same  standards as  any other                                                               
university.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR.  MADELEINE  MORRISON-YOUNG, ND,  said  she  has practiced  in                                                               
Eagle  River for  seven  years. She  supported  all the  previous                                                               
testimony   and  said   her   education   included  training   in                                                               
antibiotics and hormones.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     To  be a  primary care  physician and  doing gynecology                                                                    
     every  day  and giving  people  pap  smears, but  being                                                                    
     unable  to prescribe  them their  birth control  pills,                                                                    
     has been  a real struggle  in my practice for  not only                                                                    
     obviously   myself,  because   it's  frustrating,   but                                                                    
     financially  for my  patients.  Sending  them off  with                                                                    
     their  annuals   and  their  pap  results   to  another                                                                    
     practitioner  so  that  they  can get  a  simple  birth                                                                    
     control prescription is frustrating.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. YOUNG  said that naturopaths  have been  using bio-identical,                                                               
naturally compounded  hormones for years and  consider themselves                                                               
specialists in the area. She supported SB 306.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. PAMELA HANSEN,  Kenai resident, supported SB  306 saying that                                                               
she, her  husband and  her mother  use naturopathic  health care.                                                               
She would  like their doctor to  be able to provide  them all the                                                               
care they  need, i.e. full  prescriptive rights and the  right to                                                               
do minor surgery.  The state she originally came  from gave these                                                               
full rights  to naturopaths in  1962 and  she was amazed  to find                                                               
that Alaska didn't.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. JANE  SIMONS, Kasilof resident,  testified as a mother  and a                                                               
senior. She  has an adult  disabled son who  is 24 years  old and                                                               
she said they  are both receiving Medicaid. She is  forced to use                                                               
a medical doctor  who accepts Medicare and  Medicaid, because she                                                               
cannot afford  to pay  for health  care out-of-pocket.  "The care                                                               
that works for us is naturopathic care."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR. TORREY  SMITH, ND, said  he has practiced in  Anchorage since                                                               
1992  and supported  SB 306.  He wanted  the freedom  to use  the                                                               
skills he  has and feels  are most appropriate for  his patients.                                                               
He also wants to be able  to give patients the choices they would                                                               
like to have and need in dealing with their health care issues.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  noted that he  hadn't heard a single  person testify                                                               
against this bill,  but he still was searching for  the answer to                                                               
the  question of  the  same  standard of  care  that the  Medical                                                               
Association  has asked  about. He  would let  the bill  move from                                                               
committee today  with the proviso  that he  could amend it  if it                                                               
was necessary.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  moved  to  pass  SB  306  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note.  Senators                                                               
French, Seekins,  Stevens and Bunde  voted yea; and SB  306 moved                                                               
from committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
        SB 311-INSURANCE & WORKERS' COMPENSATION SYSTEM                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced SB 311 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LINDA  HALL, Director, Division  of Insurance,  Department of                                                               
Community &  Economic Development  (DCED), said she  would answer                                                               
questions that  had been  asked in  the last  couple of  days and                                                               
that   first,    Director   Lisankie,   Division    of   Workers'                                                               
Compensation,  would explain  the transition  process for  people                                                               
currently  in  the  system.  She   would  address  Chair  Bunde's                                                               
question  about  the cost  of  attorney  fees and  litigation  in                                                               
relation  to   premium  and  then   she  would  comment   on  the                                                               
appointment process.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. PAUL  LISANKIE, Director, Division of  Workers' Compensation,                                                               
Department of Labor and  Workforce Development (DOLWD), addressed                                                               
the question about  a woman who gets  workers' compensation based                                                               
on her spouse's  work experience with atomic  testing in Amchitka                                                               
in the 1970s. She was having  a hearing before the board in March                                                               
and wanted to know how SB  311 would affect her claim because its                                                               
effective date is  July 1, 2004 and provides  that anything being                                                               
heard  before the  board as  of that  date would  continue to  be                                                               
heard  until 45  days afterwards.  He did  not believe  her claim                                                               
would be affected.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     If  she  wished to  appeal,  she  would appeal  to  the                                                                    
     Superior  Court. The  only thing  I  would add  is...if                                                                    
     there was  someone else  who had a  claim based  on the                                                                    
     Amchitka testing and if  their hearing wasn't concluded                                                                    
     under the  current law before  July 1, then  they would                                                                    
     be susceptible  to the changes  just like  anybody else                                                                    
     would. There  is nothing specific to  an Amchitka claim                                                                    
     that would affect it.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLIS  FRENCH asked if  the Amchitka claim  person would                                                               
operate under  the old system  for 45 days or  to the end  of her                                                               
claim.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. LISANKIE clarified:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  45  days  is  just a  closeout  period  after  the                                                                    
     effective date so  that anything that was  heard by the                                                                    
     effective  date   by  the   existing  board   would  be                                                                    
     determined by  the existing board.  They would  have 45                                                                    
     days after the  effective date to wrap  up any decision                                                                    
     they hadn't gotten  out by then. So,  it would continue                                                                    
     in the current system. It would not change.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  pointed out  if further  fact finding  or another                                                               
hearing was  necessary, she might not  have a board to  appear in                                                               
front of if the commission had started functioning.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. LISANKIE  responded that his  answer would only apply  to her                                                               
current claim. If a hearing  took place after the effective date,                                                               
the new provisions would apply.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  said this woman does  not have a new  claim; it's                                                               
just taking a long time to resolve.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LISANKIE said  he understood  Senator French's  question now                                                               
and answered:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I  believe you're  correct that  the hearing  that took                                                                    
     place would be  resolved in the current  system, but if                                                                    
     for  some reason  another hearing  was to  be scheduled                                                                    
     after the  effective date, then  it would be  under the                                                                    
     new system.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE reminded  the committee that he had  a question about                                                               
the appointment process  and asked if the  commissioners would be                                                               
appointed and confirmed.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL replied:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Generally,  the appointment  process  in  this bill  is                                                                    
     exactly the same as the  current appointment process is                                                                    
     for the board. They would  be nominated by the governor                                                                    
     and  confirmed by  the Senate....  The change  is these                                                                    
     would now become fulltime  positions, but there's still                                                                    
     an executive  position for a limited  term. They're not                                                                    
     court  positions;  they're   administrative  law  judge                                                                    
     positions,  which  normally  aren't  vetted  through  a                                                                    
     third party screening process. One  of the things we've                                                                    
     talked  about  after  the question  came  up  is  there                                                                    
     are...not  large   numbers  of   workers'  compensation                                                                    
     attorneys. So, it's a fairly  small pool and experience                                                                    
     and reputations  are not as  well-known as  other types                                                                    
     of attorneys tend to be....  So, we have a concern that                                                                    
     a judicial  council would even have  sufficient numbers                                                                    
     of  people  to   interview  and  make  recommendations.                                                                    
     Generally,  my comment  on that  is that  nothing would                                                                    
     prohibit   a   governor   from   seeking,   informally,                                                                    
     recommendations from various  organizations and I would                                                                    
     anticipate that  that would occur. It  does, typically,                                                                    
     today in board positions.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE said the ad hoc group wanted to have input and he                                                                   
asked how long this bill had been in the public domain and if                                                                   
any attempt had been made to share it with that group.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL replied that the ad hoc committee was not consulted in                                                                 
the process of this particular bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The  bill genesis  came from  primarily me  - not  that                                                                    
     piece of it. But, primarily  the pieces I have proposed                                                                    
     in  legislation and  administratively are  dramatically                                                                    
     increasing  the  cost   of  workers'  compensation  for                                                                    
     employers. I've  made a proposal, as  you're all aware,                                                                    
     because we've  heard it in this  committee, to increase                                                                    
     assessments  for the  Guaranty Fund.  Effective January                                                                    
     1, the rate approval done  by the Division of Insurance                                                                    
     averaged  22 percent.  We have  an  increasing cost  of                                                                    
     claims and, as I put  forth legislation that I know has                                                                    
     an impact on the  availability of workers' compensation                                                                    
     the goal was to find a  way to, frankly, put a light at                                                                    
     the  end of  the tunnel,  to  attempt to  find ways  to                                                                    
     start to get some control  over the claim costs. I will                                                                    
     talk about litigation also and  to find ways to do that                                                                    
     without reducing benefits to  workers. I think that was                                                                    
     an important element of what  we looked at. This was, I                                                                    
     think,  in our  minds a  systemic change  to streamline                                                                    
     and bring predictability into  the appeals process, not                                                                    
     to change benefits.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I  think  there  are  very   important  issues  and  we                                                                    
     discussed  them  a little  bit  when  we discussed  the                                                                    
     Oregon system.  I think there  are issues that  need to                                                                    
     be  addressed that  could affect  benefits, that  could                                                                    
     affect  reemployment benefits,  various things,  that I                                                                    
     think are  very appropriate  for a  group of  labor and                                                                    
     management to get  together and discuss and  to work on                                                                    
     and have  input.... I think,  if that sheds  any light,                                                                    
     the short answer was no, we didn't take it to them.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   RALPH  SEEKINS   said   he  felt   it  incumbent   upon                                                               
legislators, since they  have made this the  exclusive remedy, to                                                               
make sure  that worker's compensation claims  are resolved fairly                                                               
and in a timely fashion. At  the same time, they should make sure                                                               
the compensation is  adequate and fair to the  injured worker. He                                                               
asked her  if this legislation  meets those hurdles and  what are                                                               
the major  benefits to  the state  and the  workers that  she has                                                               
laid out in the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL replied:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     To  me the  major  benefit is  a  more efficient,  more                                                                    
     predictable  system  -  that  as  cases  are  heard  by                                                                    
     hearing officers or the appeals  commission, there is a                                                                    
     precedent  set  that  can   then  allow  other  injured                                                                    
     workers or employers  who take exception to  a ruling -                                                                    
     maybe  to  a  decision  of  an  insurance  company,  to                                                                    
     wherever that dispute comes from  - that allows that to                                                                    
     be adjudicated more quickly  and more efficiently. But,                                                                    
     we  have  a precedent  so  that  we have  something  to                                                                    
     evaluate. Do I  have a claim? Has this  case been heard                                                                    
     and a  definitive type  of answer  given as  to whether                                                                    
     this  is   compensable  or   not,  whether   these  are                                                                    
     appropriate benefits.  That is  the advantage I  see to                                                                    
     the system. [END OF SIDE A]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-15, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL continued:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     In 2002, for  example, we had $202  million of workers'                                                                    
     compensation premium; $11 million  of that was expended                                                                    
     in  attorney   fees,  approximately  5   percent;  $1.2                                                                    
     million in  actual litigation costs, about  .6 percent.                                                                    
     I did that for five  years. The percentages of attorney                                                                    
     fees  ranged from  a high  in  1998 of  7.8 percent  of                                                                    
     actual premium  dollar to a  low in 2002 of  5 percent.                                                                    
     So, they  have been  going down  - not  steadily; there                                                                    
     are  jagged peaks.  Litigation costs  have gone  from a                                                                    
     high of 1.7 percent of earned  premium to - 2002 was .6                                                                    
     percent,  a   little  bit  higher  than   the  2001  .5                                                                    
     percent.... Attorney fees range from  5 to 7 percent of                                                                    
     the cost of premium.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked what the total premium is.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL answered the total premium was $202 million in 2002. In                                                                
1998, it was $132 million.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE announced that it was not his intention to move the                                                                 
bill today in order to have further input.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JIM ROBISON, Alaska resident for 58 years, said he is a 55-                                                                 
year member of Laborers Local 331, a former president of the                                                                    
AFL-CIO, a former workers' compensation board member and a                                                                      
former commissioner of the Department of Labor. He said:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I've been  involved with  workers' compensation  a long                                                                    
     time.  The   Workers'  Compensation  Act  has   been  a                                                                    
     political  football  ever  since Governor  J.P.  Strong                                                                    
     spoke  to the  1915 Territorial  Legislature about  the                                                                    
     need to cover the injured  worker. In 1981, in order to                                                                    
     get  rid  of the  politics  as  much as  possible,  the                                                                    
     Alaska AFL-CIO  and the Associated  General Contractors                                                                    
     of  Alaska agreed  to a  workers'  compensation ad  hoc                                                                    
     committee to  review the  Workers' Compensation  Act to                                                                    
     see if any  changes were needed and  it jointly lobbied                                                                    
     the  governor and  the Legislature  on any  agreed-upon                                                                    
     legislation to improve the act.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     We convene  this committee  as needed.  In the  past 23                                                                    
     years, we  have had  the support  of the  governors and                                                                    
     the Legislature  in our efforts.  At the  present time,                                                                    
     the  ad hoc  committee represents  the employer  and is                                                                    
     comprised  of Vic  Kattenaugh,  Judith Peterson,  April                                                                    
     Wiley, Laura  Jackson and John Garrett.  And for labor,                                                                    
     the representatives  are Kevin Dougherty,  myself, Dave                                                                    
     Ford,  John Giuchici  and  Barbara Huff-Tuckness.  This                                                                    
     committee will meet  on March 2 to  review and consider                                                                    
     SB  311  and  I'll   convey  the  timeframes  you  have                                                                    
     outlined so that we can  jointly give our views on this                                                                    
     bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Mr.  Chairman, I'm  not here  representing  the ad  hoc                                                                    
     committee, I'm  only representing  myself, but  this is                                                                    
     an important  bill and  I thank you  for holding  it in                                                                    
     committee  to  receive  the  input   from  the  ad  hoc                                                                    
     committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS wondered  why the  scope of  people who  want to                                                               
comment  on  this   bill  had  not  been   broadened  beyond  the                                                               
Association of General  Contractors to the rest  of the employers                                                               
in the State of Alaska.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBISON explained  that the Chamber of Commerce  was asked by                                                               
the employer group to become involved,  but it didn't want to and                                                               
he didn't know why.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PAM LABOLLE,  President, Alaska  State Chamber  of Commerce,                                                               
supported  SB  311.  Members  feel  that  elements  in  it  favor                                                               
improvement of the system.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PATRICIA WILSON,  Harbor Adjustment  Services, supported  SB                                                               
311 and echoed previous comments  about how it would increase the                                                               
efficiency  and  predictability   of  the  workers'  compensation                                                               
system. The  current system is  frustrating for both  the injured                                                               
workers and the people who handle their claims.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SUSAN   DANIELS,  Vice  President,   Workers'  Compensation,                                                               
Northern Adjusters, said it inherited  the 700 Fremont insolvency                                                               
claims in July 2003 and they  are in all different stages of this                                                               
process. She supported SB 311 and said:                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I  think   the  underlying  premise  is   important  to                                                                    
     recognize that the legislative  intent and the workers'                                                                    
     comp laws don't  seem to be our  major stumbling block,                                                                    
     but rather  the adjudication  process, the  delays, the                                                                    
     lack of a simple speedy  remedy for the injured workers                                                                    
     and  people involved  in the  decision making  on these                                                                    
     cases.  It's become  very complicated  and the  law, in                                                                    
     terms   of   paying   or  denying   claims,   is   very                                                                    
     inconsistent. So, many times  adjusters were faced with                                                                    
     the  decision of  whether  a claim  is  covered or  not                                                                    
     based on  a substantial  amount of grey  area -  end up                                                                    
     having to refer  a lot more cases  to defense attorneys                                                                    
     for a legal  opinion, which is not  only increasing the                                                                    
     cost of the attorney fee  end, but, short of that, more                                                                    
     claims  are being  paid  than  perhaps the  legislative                                                                    
     intent of the law intended to be covered.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MIKE  KLAWITTER, Director, Risk Management,  Anchorage School                                                               
District, said his district has  about 6,500 employees and is one                                                               
of the largest  self-insurers in the state. He thought  SB 311 is                                                               
a  positive step  for  workers' compensation  in  Alaska for  the                                                               
reasons already stated, particularly efficiency and consistency.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. CONSTANCE  LIVSEY, Anchorage attorney,  said the bulk  of her                                                               
practice   is   representing   employers  before   the   Workers'                                                               
Compensation Board.  She supported SB  311 and wanted  to clarify                                                               
two aspects of it.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     First, this  bill does not  in any way remove  or alter                                                                    
     the presumption  of compensability in favor  of injured                                                                    
     workers. That  presumption, for those  of you  who like                                                                    
     to  thumb  through  the legislation,  is  found  in  AS                                                                    
     23.30.120. The  bill does  not alter  that in  any way.                                                                    
     This is purely  a matter of procedure and  not a matter                                                                    
     of  substance. The  bill  is also  not  the product  of                                                                    
     collaboration  between  the   administration  and  WCCA                                                                    
     [Workers'  Compensation Committee  of Alaska].  We were                                                                    
     not involved in the drafting  of the bill and, in fact,                                                                    
     WCCA  first  got  a  copy  of the  bill  after  it  was                                                                    
     generally  available on  the  street  sometime in  late                                                                    
     January.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Let me  speak to a  couple aspects  of the bill  that I                                                                    
     believe  will  significantly improve  the  adjudication                                                                    
     process  for the  contested or  litigated workers  comp                                                                    
     claims.  The two-tier  system proposed  in the  bill to                                                                    
     create both a hearing  officer level and a commissioner                                                                    
     level would  significantly accelerate  the adjudication                                                                    
     process.  In fact,  that two-tier  system  is far  more                                                                    
     common around the country than  the system we now have.                                                                    
     The proposed  structure, I  believe, would  elevate the                                                                    
     qualifications  of   the  decision-makers   and  that's                                                                    
     significant  because workers'  compensation  is a  very                                                                    
     arcane  area of  the law.  It's a  unique set  of laws;                                                                    
     it's  a unique  body of  procedure. It's  not something                                                                    
     you wake up in the morning knowing how to do.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     If    we   have    decisions   made    by   experienced                                                                    
     practitioners,  I'm  convinced  you'll have  a  process                                                                    
     that is  fairer, that  is faster  and that  offers more                                                                    
     certainty.  Surely, that  benefits all  parties. As  it                                                                    
     stands  now, one  board panel  can  reach a  conclusion                                                                    
     different  from that  reached by  another board  panel.                                                                    
     One superior  court judge can  reach a  conclusion that                                                                    
     is  different than  that  reached  by another  superior                                                                    
     court judge. And so, as  Ms. Daniels testified, you end                                                                    
     up  with  a great  deal  of  inconsistencies that  cost                                                                    
     litigation.  That  benefits  no  one....  The  superior                                                                    
     court appeals  process is lengthy. It  commonly takes a                                                                    
     year or  a year and  a half  to get the  matter briefed                                                                    
     and decided. You can get,  as I mentioned, inconsistent                                                                    
     rulings  that have  no  binding  precedential value  on                                                                    
     other  cases. And  quite  frankly,  the superior  court                                                                    
     judges  are primarily  trial court  judges, not  appeal                                                                    
     judges. I don't  get the impression that  they have any                                                                    
     significant   experience   in   workers'   compensation                                                                    
     matters and  it simply  is a  disfavored area  of their                                                                    
     workload.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Finally, a  superior court  decision carries  no weight                                                                    
     at  [indisc].  It's an  odd  rule  and one  with  which                                                                    
     people may not be generally  familiar, but in an appeal                                                                    
     from  the administrative  agency  decision, the  Alaska                                                                    
     Supreme  Court  gives  no   deferential  value  to  the                                                                    
     superior court's decision. In  other words, they simply                                                                    
     directly review  the decision of the  board. Simply put                                                                    
     then,  the  entire year,  year  and  a half,  worth  of                                                                    
     superior court  process lends  nothing to  the ultimate                                                                    
     decision. For  all of those reasons  and several others                                                                    
     I probably don't have time for  today, I urge a vote in                                                                    
     favor or this bill.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked for any other comments and upon hearing none,                                                                 
set the bill aside.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                SB  27-TRACKING OF PESTICIDE USE                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced SB 27 to be up for consideration.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS, sponsor, said:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Large  amounts of  pesticides are  used  every year  in                                                                    
     urban and  rural Alaska, including around  schools, our                                                                    
     parks,  agricultural  lands,   grocery  stores,  public                                                                    
     buildings,  homes, gardens  and  just about  everywhere                                                                    
     you can imagine. Pesticides are  linked to a variety of                                                                    
     health   problems   including   cancer,   developmental                                                                    
     disorders,   reproductive   failure,   birth   defects,                                                                    
     allergies and asthma.... Despite  these known risks, we                                                                    
     have no  accurate information  on which  pesticides are                                                                    
     used,  where and  in  what amounts.  In  order to  make                                                                    
     informed and effective good  public policy decisions to                                                                    
     protect  water quality,  public health  and subsistence                                                                    
     foods, Alaskans need that  reliable kind of information                                                                    
     on pesticide use.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In   2001,  there   were  4,571   pesticide  labels   -                                                                    
     individual pesticide products  that were registered and                                                                    
     approved for  sale in our  state. In 2004,  that number                                                                    
     is up to approximately 5,500.  Alaska is the only state                                                                    
     that does  not collect registration fees  on pesticides                                                                    
     registered for sale  and use in our  state.... The word                                                                    
     chump has  come up  in some  of the  conversations here                                                                    
     that  we're the  only state  that does  not charge  Dow                                                                    
     Chemical    and   Monsanto,    outside   multi-national                                                                    
     corporations,   that   are   manufacturers   of   these                                                                    
     pesticides  sold  in  our   state.  Every  other  state                                                                    
     charges  a reasonable  fee and  that's  what this  bill                                                                    
     proposes to do, as well.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     What will  the bill  specifically do? It  would require                                                                    
     those who  use pesticides  for commercial  and contract                                                                    
     purposes  to provide  notice regarding  the application                                                                    
     of pesticides  to the DEC [Department  of Environmental                                                                    
     Conservation].  That  would  be  an  easy  thing.  They                                                                    
     already collect this information.  In their yellow page                                                                    
     ads, those distributors and appliers  here in the State                                                                    
     of  Alaska use  e-mail.  It  would be  a  matter of  e-                                                                    
     mailing DEC this information that's already collected.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The   Department  of   Environmental  Conservation   is                                                                    
     required  to  make  the  reporting  process  for  those                                                                    
     convenient. So,  that's a consideration for  business -                                                                    
     to make it as easy  as possible to make the information                                                                    
     available  to the  public through  the  website and  to                                                                    
     researchers and public officials in a timely manner.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In the  reports we  have a  protection for  business to                                                                    
     protect  the  privacy  of  the  applicators  and  their                                                                    
     clients.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The bill establishes  a seven-member pesticide advisory                                                                    
     board;  the  bill requires  a  registration  fee to  be                                                                    
     collected  as  noted  and helps  with  the  information                                                                    
     collected to  be used. We're  looking for  good science                                                                    
     and good data.  The information would be  used in those                                                                    
     areas that  I mentioned before -  water quality, public                                                                    
     health   and   subsistence.  Because   pesticides   are                                                                    
     designed  to  be  toxic   chemicals  that  kill  living                                                                    
     organisms and  are widely used in  our communities, the                                                                    
     public has  a right to  know, in my opinion,  about the                                                                    
     pesticides used around us.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     I  note there  is broad  support across  the state  for                                                                    
     this  legislation.... I'll  lend on  a personal  note -                                                                    
     you know, I've  known a lot of folks  who have suffered                                                                    
     from   breast   cancer   and  asthma,   immune   system                                                                    
     shutdowns,   various   ailments   and   their   doctors                                                                    
     invariably  ask  them  about their  exposure  to  these                                                                    
     kinds of  chemicals. The  fact is  in Alaska,  we don't                                                                    
     require this  information, we don't  keep track  of it,                                                                    
     we don't  look at it and  use it as part  of our making                                                                    
     of public policy.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked how the notification would take place.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS replied that he  envisions the information would be                                                               
provided to  the DEC  electronically where  it would  be compiled                                                               
and then  accessed by the public.  He is not looking  for the DEC                                                               
to mail  out notices of impending  pesticide use. "It would  be a                                                               
passive kind of system."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE rephrased  his answer saying, "It  would be incumbent                                                               
upon the public to access the information?"                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS indicated yes.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE supposed that it  wouldn't affect his neighbor who is                                                               
using "Round-Up," but that the  "Round-Up" would cost more to pay                                                               
for the fee. Senator Ellis indicated this was correct.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS said,  since  every other  state  is charging  the                                                               
manufacturers  a  reasonable  fee  for  each  of  the  chemicals,                                                               
theoretically  Alaska consumers  are  bearing the  cost of  those                                                               
registration fees.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked if he  was aware  of any other  regulations in                                                               
municipalities  affecting registration  of pesticides.  "Is there                                                               
any duplication going on here?"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GERAN TARR,  Chief of  Staff  for Senator  Ellis, wanted  to                                                               
clarify the  notice of commercial pesticide  spraying, a separate                                                               
component  from the  tracking mechanism.  Section 4  of SB  27 is                                                               
modeled   after  the   Municipality  of   Anchorage's  successful                                                               
program. She explained  that paper notification must  be given to                                                               
areas contiguous  to the  sprayed areas. People  must be  able to                                                               
see  that notification  at their  home or  place of  business and                                                               
make an  educated decision about whether  or not they want  to be                                                               
in that area  while the application was taking  place or whether,                                                               
because of  health issues or  small children, they would  want to                                                               
leave and come back later.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE said  there are always residue issues  and asked if                                                               
the notices  had to be up  only during the actual  application or                                                               
was there a time period after that.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR replied that the bill  says at least 48 hours before the                                                               
spraying and not more than 72  hours. "We want it close enough to                                                               
the application time that it's  reasonable and timely, but not so                                                               
far before...."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked, "But not  after the spray." She indicated that                                                               
is correct.  He said that the  program had gone very  smoothly in                                                               
Anchorage and  asked if  the bill has  a reporting  mechanism for                                                               
poisoning or pollution from pesticides.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TARR   replied  that  issue   isn't  a  component   of  this                                                               
legislation. Currently,  if exposure to a  pesticide takes place,                                                               
the  DEC  or  someone  in  the  public  health  sector  would  be                                                               
notified. The Environmental Protection  Agency (EPA) used to have                                                               
an office that  collated data on pesticide poisoning,  but it was                                                               
disbanded because of budget constraints.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS said:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     We're  trying  to  be as  circumspect  and  limited  in                                                                    
     requirements  for  DEC.  We think  if  we  charge  this                                                                    
     reasonable  fee and  they compile  the information,  at                                                                    
     least it's available  for people to be aware  of it and                                                                    
     access it  if they  need it,  if their  health requires                                                                    
     it, but  not to  create new bureaucracies  or a  lot of                                                                    
     requirements.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR  said that section 5  asks applicators to report  to the                                                               
DEC  and pointed  out that  the applicators  are already  keeping                                                               
track of this information.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS asked what a broadcast chemical is.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR  said that is  an older term that  was used for  what is                                                               
now called "pesticides."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS asked why there isn't a definition in the bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR  explained that a  lot of pesticide applications  in the                                                               
past  were  done  aerially,  so  the  idea  was  that  they  were                                                               
broadcast chemicals.  More recently, new categories  of chemicals                                                               
have been created, like insecticides, fungicides, pesticides.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  what the  difference was  between custom,                                                               
commercial or contract applicator.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR replied that language  was suggested by the drafters and                                                               
encompasses all the  people who apply pesticides  in a commercial                                                               
capacity statewide.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS asked if any of those terms include farmers.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR  replied that farmers  would be required to  report only                                                               
if they  hire a  commercial applicator  to do  their application.                                                               
Non-commercial  persons buying  a chemical  over-the-counter have                                                               
no reporting requirement.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  asked  specifically  if  that  included  share-                                                               
cropping, where  two people agree  to split the crop  in exchange                                                               
for one doing the application.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR  answered, "If they  haven't hired a  commercial company                                                               
to do the application, it doesn't include them."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  if commercial  application companies  are                                                               
required to have any type of license to apply pesticides.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TARR replied  that currently  they  are and  the program  is                                                               
partly  funded with  federal money  that is  administered through                                                               
the  cooperative extension  agencies. Section  3 of  SB 27  talks                                                               
about  regulations  for  licensing  of  the  applicators.  Alaska                                                               
charges a  registration fee, so  the state match for  the federal                                                               
funds is actually paid for by the applicators.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS asked what language on  line 15, page 4, meant  -                                                               
"The  department  may  conduct a  statistically  valid  household                                                               
pesticide  use  survey  to acquire  data  that  would  complement                                                               
information received."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR replied that one component  of this bill is the creation                                                               
of a pesticide advisory board  that is voluntary. Members are not                                                               
eligible for  per diem  or travel benefits.  Part of  the board's                                                               
mission  is  to come  up  with  a way  to  address  the issue  of                                                               
household use. Opponents of this  bill maintain that the majority                                                               
of  pesticide applications  in  the state  are  actually done  by                                                               
private individuals in  their home, which Senator  Ellis does not                                                               
dispute.  In  the interests  of  respecting  a private  citizen's                                                               
privacy,  a component  for  household  use is  not  in the  bill.                                                               
Instead the department is directed to  come up with a survey that                                                               
could be done  on a statewide basis about what  products are used                                                               
in homes and other relevant information.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  asked,  since  they don't  intend  to  regulate                                                               
household  pesticide  use,  why  would   that  data  need  to  be                                                               
gathered.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS stepped  in and said the department  might think it                                                               
is useful  information to get  a picture of  what is going  on in                                                               
the state,  but he didn't  have any  intention of going  there in                                                               
the  future.  He hoped  the  pesticides  weren't contributing  to                                                               
health problems  in Alaska, but  if they are, people  should know                                                               
about it.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked if the  $150 fee  is being charged  so the                                                               
state will  know which products  and how  much of them  are being                                                               
used in the state.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR  explained that  manufacturers of  the products  have to                                                               
register their  products in each  state before they can  be sold.                                                               
This is the  level at which the fee will  be collected. Over-the-                                                               
counter  products  are  not  tracked  in SB  27  beyond  what  is                                                               
registered  for sale  in the  state.  The $150  fee is  collected                                                               
because  that  would  pay  for  the  program.  All  other  states                                                               
currently charge fees. If retail  level sales were to be tracked,                                                               
some other tracking mechanism would have to be developed.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  added that DEC  could probably answer some  of these                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  said he has  received a lot of  positive feedback                                                               
from his  constituents on  this. He asked  how much  revenue this                                                               
program would bring in and how much would it cost.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR replied that the  registration fees would bring in about                                                               
$495,000 per  year based on  a drop-off  rate of 40  percent. She                                                               
explained  when other  states have  adopted  a registration  fee,                                                               
some companies decide  not to register all of  their products for                                                               
sale,  because their  inventories indicate  how much  product has                                                               
been  shipped,  what's  selling  and  what's  not.  In  2008  the                                                               
licensing fee, which  is charged on a tri-annual  basis, brings a                                                               
bump in revenue. Operating costs  are significantly less than the                                                               
revenue generated, which could be  used to fund other programs in                                                               
a time of fiscal need.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS said he could  see what SB 27  is trying to                                                               
do  and that  the board  has an  important function,  but he  was                                                               
concerned that its structure insured  that its members would only                                                               
be from the  Anchorage Bowl. A lot of other  people are impacted,                                                               
however, in fisheries, for instance.  People from Kodiak would be                                                               
precluded  from serving  because it  would cost  them substantial                                                               
monies to  travel to  the meetings.  He asked  why transportation                                                               
costs are not being covered.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  replied that  he is mindful  of trying  to control                                                               
costs and that video and  teleconferencing are used all the time.                                                               
"I  have no  pride of  authorship  about the  composition of  the                                                               
board  - [we're]  totally  open to  your  suggestions.... I  just                                                               
think it's  the kiss of death  to have this cost  very much money                                                               
or to require a general fund obligation...."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS said he could  not dispel the feeling that people                                                               
from the  Aleutian area might  be precluded from serving  on this                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KRISTIN RYAN,  Director, Division  of Environmental  Health,                                                               
Department  of Environmental  Health  (DEC),  said the  pesticide                                                               
program resides in  her division. She presented  a brief overview                                                               
of the existing program:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     A  pesticide   is  any  substance   or  a   mixture  of                                                                    
     substances   intended   for   preventing,   destroying,                                                                    
     repelling or  mitigating any pests. So,  that goes from                                                                    
     anything  from an  insect to  animals  to bacteria  and                                                                    
     viruses.  Pesticides have  been regulated  in the  U.S.                                                                    
     since  at least  100 years  through various  government                                                                    
     agencies.   In  1947,   Congress  passed   the  Federal                                                                    
     Insecticide, Fungicide  and Rodenticide Act  (FIFRA) as                                                                    
     the  primary federal  law for  pesticide management  in                                                                    
     the U.S.  The federal  law includes a  registration and                                                                    
     reregistration of all pesticides  sold in the U.S. [END                                                                    
     OF TAPE].                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-16, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. RYAN continued:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     ...the amount, the frequency and  the timing of its use                                                                    
     and the  storage and  disposal practices.  According to                                                                    
     EPA [Environmental  Protection Agency],  its evaluation                                                                    
     during this registration process  is meant to determine                                                                    
     and put  stipulations on  its use so  that it  will not                                                                    
     have any  adverse affect on  humans or  environments or                                                                    
     non-targeted species.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The  EPA  requires restrictions  to  be  placed on  the                                                                    
     labeling of a pesticide. No  pesticide is allowed to be                                                                    
     used  without following  the  label requirements.  That                                                                    
     breaks not  only state law,  but federal law.  EPA does                                                                    
     an extensive  evaluation of its  use to insure  that it                                                                    
     won't  harm  species  it's  not  intended  to  if  used                                                                    
     properly.  EPA,   in  turn,  enters   into  cooperative                                                                    
     agreements with  states, which they have  done with the                                                                    
     State  of  Alaska, to  implement  some  aspects of  the                                                                    
     federal  program.  The  State   of  Alaska  trains  and                                                                    
     certifies  pesticide  applicators in  cooperation  with                                                                    
     the    Cooperative    Extension   Service.    [Indisc.]                                                                    
     implements a field-based  outreach program that focuses                                                                    
     primarily    on    agricultural   worker    protection,                                                                    
     groundwater    protection   and    endangered   species                                                                    
     protection. We  do inspections of records  of certified                                                                    
     applicators  to insure  that they  are maintaining  the                                                                    
     records we require in our regulations currently.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     We also,  in addition  to the  federal program,  have a                                                                    
     state registration  system where we, in  turn, register                                                                    
     pesticides that EPA has  already deemed appropriate. As                                                                    
     you've  already heard  from Senator  Ellis' staff  that                                                                    
     there is a large percentage  and it has been increasing                                                                    
     every year.  We're a  little over  5,500 this  year for                                                                    
     pesticides  registered for  use in  Alaska. We  receive                                                                    
     approximately  400  new  registrations a  year  and  we                                                                    
     deny, I  would say, on the  average of 10 a  year based                                                                    
     on  concerns  that it's  inappropriate  to  use in  our                                                                    
     climate.  We also  stick  an  additional percentage  of                                                                    
     those pesticides  approved by  EPA on a  restricted use                                                                    
     list, meaning that they are  only allowed to be used by                                                                    
     certified applicators.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Recently, we  passed some  regulations that  do require                                                                    
     schools  to publicly  notify and  post warnings  before                                                                    
     pesticides are used  in the state. So,  they do already                                                                    
     have the  requirement to notify the  public before they                                                                    
     spray pesticides.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     One final  thing, just to  clarify, the way I  read the                                                                    
     legislation,  we  would  only be  requiring  commercial                                                                    
     applicators  to comply  with  certain  aspects of  this                                                                    
     legislation,   but  if   you  determine   a  commercial                                                                    
     applicator as  someone who is  certified by  the state,                                                                    
     and  we  have  approximately 994  certified  recipients                                                                    
     right  now,   but  some  recipients   receive  multiple                                                                    
     certifications.  So,  that  doesn't  mean  there's  994                                                                    
     people.  They would  all be  required  to report  their                                                                    
     usage  of   the  chemicals.  Oftentimes,   farmers  are                                                                    
     required  to  become  certified   due  to  other  rules                                                                    
     related to pesticide usage.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked how far from  a school notification has  to be                                                               
posted currently or does it just have to be announced.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. RYAN  replied that  she wasn't sure  of the  actual distance,                                                               
but regulation says a sign is  required to be posted indicating a                                                               
pesticide treated area and to keep out.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE said she could get back to him on the distance.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLAY FRICK,  Port Alexander, said he is  a commercial troller                                                               
and supports SB 27.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     I feel  our commercial  fishing industry would  be best                                                                    
     served  by  having  such   legislation.  As  you  know,                                                                    
     commercial  fishing  is   the  largest  private  sector                                                                    
     employer in the state and all  we can do to promote our                                                                    
     fisheries, it will be so much better for it.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. FRICK  said he thought  consumers are becoming more  aware of                                                               
the  quality  of  wild  raised  salmon  coming  from  a  pristine                                                               
environment over  farmed salmon.  He noted that  this legislation                                                               
also  gained  a seal  of  approval  from the  Marine  Stewardship                                                               
Council  as an  important item  to promote  the sale  of Alaska's                                                               
salmon. "The chemicals  that we use in our  environment have been                                                               
proved to be toxic to fish...."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He pointed out  that the organic market is booming  and toxins in                                                               
the  environment are  a growing  concern. Growers  in California,                                                               
like  the Great  Tree and  Fruit League  and the  Western Growers                                                               
Association,  have  endorsed  a  similar law  in  California.  It                                                               
basically  quantifies and  verifies  what sort  of chemicals  are                                                               
being spread in the environment.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MARIE  LAVIGNE,  Executive Director,  Alaska  Public  Health                                                               
Association,  supported  SB  27.   The  association  champions  a                                                               
community's right  to know  in an  effort to  reduce the  risk of                                                               
exposure to  toxic substances  and to  best protect  the public's                                                               
health.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     We firmly believe the right  to know about chemicals in                                                                    
     one's  community,  workplace   or  near  one's  child's                                                                    
     school  is   not  only  an   important  right   in  our                                                                    
     democracy, but a vital component of public health....                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Hazard reduction activities and  right to know programs                                                                    
     are an  essential means  of protecting  individuals and                                                                    
     communities from  harm due to the  release of hazardous                                                                    
     chemicals.  At  this  time,  Alaskans  lack  access  to                                                                    
     records to safeguard their own exposure to pesticides.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
She  said a  recent survey  indicates that  93 percent  of voters                                                               
favor disclosure of pesticide use.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALT  PARKER, Anchorage  resident, said he  is a  survivor of                                                               
the federal herbicide and pesticide  efforts of territorial days.                                                               
He reported  that he has worked  with the Arctic Council  for the                                                               
last   10  years   on  a   variety  of   programs  dealing   with                                                               
contaminants. The council has a  pretty good handle on the Arctic                                                               
part of  the issue, but not  on the Alaskan part.  It's important                                                               
to  have a  firm  database  in Alaska  against  which to  measure                                                               
airborne pollutants  and other things arriving  by various means.                                                               
He felt that SB 27 provides  the foundation for what Alaska needs                                                               
to  participate  with  the federal  agencies  as  Northeast  Asia                                                               
replaces Europe  and North  America as  the industrial  center of                                                               
the world in the next 20 years.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MICHELLE WILSON,  Alaska Community Action on  Toxics, said it                                                               
is a  non-profit, statewide membership organization  dedicated to                                                               
insuring the health of Alaskan  communities. "We believe everyone                                                               
has a  right to  clean air  and clean water  and foods  free from                                                               
toxic contamination...."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
She  said she  strongly supports  SB 27,  especially the  section                                                               
requiring  modest  label  registration  fees  based  on  national                                                               
averages and steps to improving  public notification of pesticide                                                               
use. She  added that pregnant  women, nursing  mothers, children,                                                               
elders  and  especially  those  with  heart  conditions,  chronic                                                               
illnesses  and  asthma are  very  susceptible  to adverse  health                                                               
effects from pesticide exposure.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     We feel  despite the risks of  pesticide exposure, that                                                                    
     Alaskans  are  not  being   given  adequate  or  timely                                                                    
     notification  of  these  applications.   SB  27  is  an                                                                    
     important first  step to assuring public  right to know                                                                    
     about quantities, types and  locations of pesticides in                                                                    
     our  workplaces,  our  parks,   our  public  lands  and                                                                    
     buildings.  Current onsite  notification  is absent  or                                                                    
     not enforced.  Notification law  allows for  the public                                                                    
     or  workers in  jobs to  evaluate their  own risks  and                                                                    
     take precautions when necessary.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
She  recommended amending  section 4  (2) to  extend notification                                                               
from 48 to  72 hours after a pesticide application,  an idea that                                                               
was unanimously  adopted by the  Anchorage School Board  in 2000.                                                               
After spraying  is when  the public  is especially  vulnerable to                                                               
the risk of inhalation residue from pesticides.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON said  further that  after this  bill was  written the                                                               
State of Alaska  changed regulations to allow  aerial spraying of                                                               
toxic  chemicals  for forestry  purposes,  contrary  to over  330                                                               
comments ranging  from local governments  and native  councils to                                                               
Alaska shellfish  and salmon  industry representatives  and other                                                               
agencies.   Upon  receiving   a   permit  from   DEC,  the   only                                                               
notification for aerial  spraying consists of a  public notice in                                                               
the  newspaper.  "For  the  hunter,  the  berry  picker  and  the                                                               
fishermen, there  is no notice  that an  area will be  sprayed by                                                               
chemicals."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
In  conclusion,  she  said  that   the  program  would  be  self-                                                               
supporting.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEN PERRY,  Anchorage resident, said he  would submit written                                                               
testimony on why he opposes SB 27.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR. ADAM GROVE, ND, supported SB  27 saying that he would forward                                                               
a couple of editorials he  wrote for the newspaper describing the                                                               
ill effects of pesticides. He  thought getting information out to                                                               
the  public was  a  good first  step, as  well  as the  Pesticide                                                               
Advisory Board.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE thanked him for his  comments and said SB 27 would be                                                               
set aside for  a future meeting. There being  no further business                                                               
to come before the committee, he adjourned the meeting at 3:30                                                                  
p.m.                                                                                                                            

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