Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/01/2004 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                                                                        
                         April 1, 2004                                                                                          
                           1:37 p.m.                                                                                            
TAPE(S) 04-29                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Con Bunde, Chair                                                                                                        
Senator Ralph Seekins, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
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                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 305                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the calculation and payment of unemployment                                                                 
compensation benefits; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 365                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the regulation of speech-language                                                                           
pathologist assistants; and providing for an effective date."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 365 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 341                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the dive fishery management assessment."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 377                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to the  state's mechanical code,  to mechanical                                                               
contractors   and   mechanical  administrators,   to   mechanical                                                               
standards and inspections involved  in certain housing loans, and                                                               
to the  adoption of  the state's  mechanical code;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
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                                                                                          
02/26/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/26/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/26/04       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/01/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 305                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BENEFITS                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
05/07/03       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/07/03       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
05/09/03       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
05/09/03       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
05/09/03       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/10/03       (H)       L&C RPT 4DP 2NR                                                                                        
05/10/03       (H)       DP: CRAWFORD, GUTTENBERG, DAHLSTROM,                                                                   
05/10/03       (H)       ANDERSON; NR: LYNN, ROKEBERG                                                                           
05/15/03       (H)       FIN RPT 6DP 3NR                                                                                        
05/15/03       (H)       DP: KERTTULA, BERKOWITZ, FOSTER,                                                                       
05/15/03       (H)       MEYER, HARRIS, WILLIAMS; NR: HAWKER,                                                                   
05/15/03       (H)       STOLTZE, MOSES                                                                                         
05/15/03       (H)       FIN AT 8:30 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
05/15/03       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
05/15/03       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
05/16/03       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
05/16/03       (H)       VERSION: HB 305                                                                                        
05/17/03       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/17/03       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
05/19/03       (S)       L&C AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
05/19/03       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/19/03       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/03/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/03/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/03/04       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/01/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 365                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST ASSISTANTS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
03/17/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/17/04       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/01/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 341                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DIVE FISHERY MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) WILLIAMS                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/12/04       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/2/04                                                                                
01/12/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/12/04       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
02/04/04       (H)       FSH RPT 6DP 1NR                                                                                        
02/04/04       (H)       DP: GARA, OGG, HEINZE, WILSON,                                                                         
02/04/04       (H)       SAMUELS, SEATON; NR: GUTTENBERG                                                                        
02/04/04       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/04/04       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/04/04       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
02/16/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/16/04       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
02/25/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/25/04       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/25/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/26/04       (H)       RES RPT 8DP 1DNP                                                                                       
02/26/04       (H)       DP: HEINZE, STEPOVICH, GATTO, LYNN,                                                                    
02/26/04       (H)       WOLF, KERTTULA, MASEK, DAHLSTROM;                                                                      
02/26/04       (H)       DNP: GUTTENBERG                                                                                        
03/15/04       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/15/04       (H)       VERSION: HB 341                                                                                        
03/17/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/17/04       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/01/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 377                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STATE MECHANICAL CODE                                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
03/26/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/26/04       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/01/04       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Garan Tarr, Chief of Staff                                                                                                  
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 27 for sponsor.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Everett Walton                                                                                                              
American Pest Management                                                                                                        
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 27.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Kristin Ryan, Director                                                                                                      
Division of Environmental Health                                                                                                
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
410 Willoughby                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99801-1795                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 27.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 305.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Pam LaBolle, President                                                                                                      
Alaska State Chamber of Commerce                                                                                                
217 Second Street                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SCS HB 305(L&C)                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Don Etheridge, President                                                                                                    
AFL-CIO                                                                                                                         
710 West 9th Street                                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SCS HB 305(L&C).                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Greg O'Claray                                                                                                      
Department of Labor & Workforce                                                                                                 
Development                                                                                                                     
PO Box 21149                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK 99802-1149                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 305.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Laura Young-Campbell                                                                                                        
Alaska Speech and Hearing Association                                                                                           
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 365.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Patricia Olmstead                                                                                                           
Alaska Speech Language and Hearing Association                                                                                  
PO Box 774462                                                                                                                   
Eagle River AK                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 365.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Dixie Alms                                                                                                                  
Public School Speech Pathologist                                                                                                
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 365.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Nancy Lovering, President                                                                                                   
Alaska Speech and Hearing Association                                                                                           
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 365.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Marjorie Kassier, Director of Training                                                                                      
Center for Human Development                                                                                                    
University of Alaska Anchorage                                                                                                  
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 365.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Tim Barry                                                                                                                   
Staff to Representative Bill Williams                                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 365 for sponsor.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Julie Decker, Executive Director                                                                                            
Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association (SARDFA)                                                                   
PO Box 2138                                                                                                                     
Wrangell AK 99929                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HB 341.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Zach Warwick                                                                                                                
Staff to Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 377 for sponsor.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Eugene Rutland, Executive Director                                                                                          
Mechanical Contractors of Alaska                                                                                                
Fairbanks AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 377.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Doug Mathers                                                                                                                
Building Official                                                                                                               
City of Kodiak                                                                                                                  
Kodiak, Alaska 99615                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 377.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Greg Moore                                                                                                                  
Nana/Colt Engineering                                                                                                           
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 377.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Colin Maynard                                                                                                               
Alaska Professional Design Council (APDC)                                                                                       
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 377.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Craig Fredeen, Mechanical Engineer                                                                                          
ASCG, Inc.                                                                                                                      
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 377.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jeff Robinson                                                                                                               
Klebs Mechanical, Inc.                                                                                                          
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 377.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Eden Larson, President                                                                                                      
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)                                                                                       
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 377.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Sam Kito, III                                                                                                               
Alaska Professional Design Council (APDC)                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 377.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Craig Stevenson, Regional Manager                                                                                           
Governmental Relations Office                                                                                                   
International Code Council (ICC)                                                                                                
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 377.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-29, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                SB  27-TRACKING OF PESTICIDE USE                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON  BUNDE called  the Senate  Labor and  Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order  at 1:37  p.m. Present  were Senators                                                               
Ralph Seekins, Hollis  French, Bettye Davis and  Chair Con Bunde.                                                               
The first order  of business to come before the  committee was SB                                                               
27.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RALPH  SEEKINS moved to  adopt CSSB 27(L&C),  version \D,                                                               
for discussion purposes.  There were no objections and  it was so                                                               
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE pointed  out the changes, which are the  result of an                                                               
agreement between  the administration and the  bill's sponsor. On                                                               
page 1, line  9, the registration fee is changed  to $80; page 2,                                                               
line 10,  adds a new  subsection that requires the  department to                                                               
compile and make  available on the Internet a  list of pesticides                                                               
registered for use in the state;  page 2, line 30, defines notice                                                               
of spraying on properties adjacent  to the location; page 4, line                                                               
24, says the department "shall"  conduct this study; page 6, line                                                               
19, refers to  development of the household survey to  be used by                                                               
the  department  to  gather  information  relating  to  household                                                               
pesticides; page 7,  line 6, makes the appointments  to the board                                                               
effective immediately;  page 8, line  9, removes a  section; page                                                               
8, line  20, removes  the Pesticide Advisory  Board; and  page 9,                                                               
sections 7 - 9,  make the effective date June 30, 2008.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GARAN  TARR,  Chief  of   Staff  to  Senator  Johnny  Ellis,                                                               
acknowledged the  changes iterated by  Chair Bunde and  said that                                                               
the CS  is supported  by the  administration, the  department and                                                               
Senator Ellis.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH asked why the effective date is delayed.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR  explained that the  Pesticide Board didn't have  an end                                                               
point…the  original bill  was created  with three-year  staggered                                                               
terms.  The department  felt that  added a  layer of  bureaucracy                                                               
that it wasn't  interested in maintaining for  the long-term. So,                                                               
it  was  agreed  that  the board  would  become  responsible  for                                                               
tangible  results  like  development  of  the  household  survey,                                                               
helping  implement   the  tracking   program,  and   help  retail                                                               
establishments  with  the   notification  component.  Once  those                                                               
things were  done, it  would be appropriate  to sunset  the board                                                               
and the department would maintain what it had put in place.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH acknowledged her answer  and then pointed out that                                                               
changing the  registration fee  from $150  to $80  is one  of the                                                               
major changes and asked how that number was chosen.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TARR  replied that  the nationwide  average is  actually $135                                                               
and the  sponsor wanted to  stay with that higher  number because                                                               
the extra  revenue could  have gone  to other  important programs                                                               
the department maintains  or into the general  fund. However, the                                                               
department felt  more comfortable  with the  $80 fee.  A consumer                                                               
group  wrote   a  letter  saying  that   manufacturers  would  be                                                               
comfortable  with a  fee that  paid for  the program,  but didn't                                                               
feel they should  be charged in excess of that.  The $80 fee pays                                                               
for all that.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked if she was  able to win industry support for                                                               
the bill's changes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TARR answered  that she  wasn't  sure they  were jumping  on                                                               
board,  even with  the  changes, but  they felt  $80  was a  more                                                               
appropriate fee. She  has every reason to  believe the department                                                               
will  make  implementation  of the  program  easy  for  industry,                                                               
especially with use of the Internet.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. EVERETT WALTON,  American Pest Management, said  that until a                                                               
competitor called  an hour ago  to tell  him about it,  he didn't                                                               
know anything  about the  bill and asked  that industry  be given                                                               
more notification  in the future.  He said his company  might buy                                                               
only $100  worth of a  certain chemical in  a whole year  and the                                                               
$80 registration  fee would  not be  practical in  that instance.                                                               
The chemicals his company deals with  are some of the most modern                                                               
with the  least toxicity available.  New York and  California can                                                               
charge a  $135 fee  because they  have 30  million or  40 million                                                               
people, but there  are only 600,000 people in Alaska  - mostly in                                                               
Anchorage, Fairbanks,  Juneau and Ketchikan -  in many instances,                                                               
small companies  wouldn't have incentive  to do  any registration                                                               
at all.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Right now they are  doing blanket registrations because                                                                    
     it's free. If they have  to pick and choose, they might                                                                    
     just  decide  that  it's   too  much  trouble,  because                                                                    
     there's no profit margin there  and that is a concern I                                                                    
     have.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALTON  also pointed  out that  most of  the bill  is already                                                               
covered by  existing municipal or  state statutes. All  this bill                                                               
will  do is  add to  the cost  of doing  business and  it has  no                                                               
enforcement provisions.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He said  the same groups  pushing this  issue are trying  to stop                                                               
development all over  the state. Of the seven  or eight companies                                                               
in Alaska, only two have more  than one employee. He also thought                                                               
that the  big chain  stores like Fred  Meyer and  Wal-Mart should                                                               
have been  invited to  have input  on this  bill. In  response to                                                               
communities  that do  not want  aerial spraying,  he pointed  out                                                               
that Nebraska has  the longest life expectancy in  the nation and                                                               
also  has one  of  the  highest spraying  rates.  A DEC  tracking                                                               
system is  okay with  him, but he  didn't want to  have to  add a                                                               
person to the payroll just to feed information to the state.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that the  bill has two more committees to                                                               
go through and  there was a substantial amount of  time for input                                                               
on these issues.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KRISTIN RYAN,  Director, Division  of Environmental  Health,                                                               
Department   of  Environmental   Conservation  (DEC),   said  the                                                               
pesticide program is in the  laboratory services component of the                                                               
department's budget. The registration  fees are in alignment with                                                               
other  states and  would be  sufficient  to cover  costs for  the                                                               
Pesticide  Advisory  Board,  creating the  web-based  information                                                               
system  for pesticide  use and  doing a  household use  survey of                                                               
pesticides.  Alaska  is  currently   the  only  state  without  a                                                               
pesticide fee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked if she felt  the $80 fee would be burdensome to                                                               
the  point  of  eliminating  the availability  of  pesticides  in                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. RYAN  replied that she  didn't think so. Many  pesticides are                                                               
registered because  their companies want  to be able to  say they                                                               
are registered in 50 states. If  their chemical is not used here,                                                               
there is no  point in doing so  if they would have to  pay a fee.                                                               
She expected a  certain amount of attrition  of pesticides names,                                                               
but not their use.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  reiterated that the  department is not  making money                                                               
on the $80 fee. It's not a hidden tax.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. RYAN  said the  CS has  a new fiscal  note and  explained the                                                               
state  has  primacy and  employs  four  staff people.  The  state                                                               
contributes a  $56,000 match  for the  revenues it  receives from                                                               
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS arrived at 1:55 p.m.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked  if this bill would require  new labeling by                                                               
stores like Wal-Mart.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. RYAN  replied yes. It  would require  a placard to  be posted                                                               
for certain  chemicals the  department thought  needed additional                                                               
warning.  Homeowners  are  the ones  who  misuse  chemicals  most                                                               
often;  commercial  applicators  are  certified  and  it's  their                                                               
business to apply them correctly.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked her  if  she  thought  Round Up  would  be                                                               
required to have a placard.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. RYAN  replied that she  didn't know, but a  recent Washington                                                               
state  court  decision  required  that  to  occur  for  10  -  15                                                               
pesticides.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  commented that he was  trying to get a  handle on                                                               
the burden  this law would  put on  retailers and asked  her what                                                               
pesticides are commonly used.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. RYAN  replied that she didn't  have any idea right  now. Over                                                               
500 are registered  for use in the state. Maybe  10 percent would                                                               
be required to have that placard.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  RALPH  SEEKINS  asked   if  farmers  or  landowners  are                                                               
required to register their use  of pesticides either by the state                                                               
or the federal government.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.   RYAN   replied  that   the   registration   process  is   a                                                               
responsibility of the product maker.  A product cannot be used or                                                               
sold in a state where it is  not registered. A farmer would be an                                                               
applicator  and  is required  by  the  federal government  to  be                                                               
certified  to   use  certain  pesticides.   The  state   has  the                                                               
additional  responsibility, in  regulation, to  require a  permit                                                               
for spraying  by airplane  or helicopter. If  one farmer  were to                                                               
spray  multiple  farmers' properties,  he  would  need to  get  a                                                               
permit.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  if section  5 would  require a  farmer or                                                               
private landowner to give notice of applying pesticides.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. RYAN  answered that only  certified applicators have  to give                                                               
notification.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE said  he would hold the bill for  more information on                                                               
its impact to retailers.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS asked  why information listed on page  6, line 2,                                                               
was being  gathered if  it wasn't  going to  be regulated  in the                                                               
future.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE referred the question to  Ms. Ryan to answer when the                                                               
bill came up in committee again.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
           HB 305-UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BENEFITS                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced HB 305 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RALPH  SEEKINS moved  to adopt  SCS HB  305(L&C), version                                                               
\D, for  the working  document. There were  no objections  and it                                                               
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE  summarized the  CS  saying  that Legislative  Legal                                                               
Services  advised using  effective dates  to make  the bill  more                                                               
efficient. Another  change on page  14, line 24, says  if someone                                                               
left  suitable  work  voluntarily,  was  fired  for  good  cause,                                                               
discharged for  misconduct or  failed to  seek reemployment  in a                                                               
comparable job,  the five-week waiting period  for benefits would                                                               
change to a 25-week waiting  period. Another change increases the                                                               
amount of  benefits to as  much as  $312. Alaska's rank  would go                                                               
from 47  to 30 in the  nation in unemployment benefits  after the                                                               
final increase.  This increases cost  for employers also,  but it                                                               
is slowly phased in through 2010.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TOM  ANDERSON, sponsor,  said the current  bill is                                                               
the   result   of   negotiations   and  a   compromise   by   the                                                               
administration,   labor   organizations  and   those   businesses                                                               
directly  affected  by  the bill.  Employee  representatives  are                                                               
concerned that the idea of  leaving work voluntarily for whatever                                                               
reason  is broad  on page  14.  If someone  were fired  unfairly,                                                               
making him  wait for 25 weeks  would be unfair. It's  also viewed                                                               
that  both versions  don't affect  hotel, restaurant  and tourism                                                               
jobs in  general, because  the increase in  benefits begins  at a                                                               
wage of about  $27,000 per year and most of  those jobs are below                                                               
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  said employees  are an integral  part of                                                               
the  unemployment insurance  system by  contributing to  the fund                                                               
themselves. Increasing the waiting  period is not consistent with                                                               
the other two  states that have a similar design  that believe it                                                               
isn't  right to  punish the  worker  who pays  under the  system.                                                               
Mortgages  and car  payments are  only  some of  the things  that                                                               
could be in jeopardy and  would adversely affect the employee. He                                                               
urged  the  committee  to  change   the  waiting  period  or  the                                                               
definition of good cause for discharge in the CS.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE suggested  working with his staff to  tighten up that                                                               
language to avoid someone being treated unfairly.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  if  good cause  is  defined currently  in                                                               
regulation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  answered that he assumed  it was defined                                                               
some place and suggested using a  computer search to find all the                                                               
places.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked where the 25-week waiting period came from.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE indicated  that Pam LaBolle, Alaska  State Chamber of                                                               
Commerce, would answer that question in later testimony.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PAM LABOLLE,  President, Alaska  State Chamber  of Commerce,                                                               
supported SCS HB 305(L&C). She  found the actuarial study done by                                                               
the Department of  Labor noting that Alaska has  the most liberal                                                               
policy in the nation for  paying unemployment insurance benefits.                                                               
Forty-seven states totally deny benefits  for anyone who is fired                                                               
for  misconduct,  refuses an  offer  of  suitable work  or  quits                                                               
voluntarily without good cause.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Paying unemployment  to people who  quit their jobs  encourages a                                                               
poor work ethic,  but on the other hand, one  of the divisions in                                                               
the  Department of  Labor is  to train  people so  they are  more                                                               
employable. Alaska  is second only  to Connecticut as far  as the                                                               
percentage  of  people  who are  unemployed  who  gain  benefits.                                                               
Alaska is one  of twelve states that provides benefits  for up to                                                               
three  dependents  ($24  per week)  above  the  national  benefit                                                               
amount.  The   department  has  reported   that  50   percent  of                                                               
applicants  receive  benefits  for dependents,  which  would  put                                                               
Alaska above the 30 place.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE said  he understood  that receiving  the dependent's                                                               
                                                                th                                                              
allowance would put those who receive maximum benefits  up to 11                                                                
or 12 in the nation.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:25 p.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-29, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. LABOLLE said  studies indicate that 50 percent or  more of UI                                                               
recipients assisted in the Case  Management Program were fired or                                                               
quit their job.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     So, they are voluntarily  unemployed. The employers' UI                                                                    
     tax rates are  higher than they need to be  in order to                                                                    
     cover  benefits   to  individuals  who  quit   or  were                                                                    
     fired....   We  fully   believe  in   the  Unemployment                                                                    
     Insurance   Program.   We   absolutely   believe   that                                                                    
     employees who  are involuntarily, who through  no fault                                                                    
     of their own,  which is language that  the national law                                                                    
     uses  in this  statement, are  unemployed, they  should                                                                    
     receive assistance and  it should be of  an amount that                                                                    
     will  hold them  over till  they get  their jobs.  It's                                                                    
     only those  who choose to be  unemployed either through                                                                    
     their  actions or  voluntary efforts  or their  lack of                                                                    
     desire  to accept  another job  that shouldn't  receive                                                                    
     benefits at all.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  if she  recognized  that a  person who  is                                                               
unemployed  through no  fault of  his or  her own,  who has  five                                                               
children,  should probably  get more  unemployment than  a single                                                               
worker.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. LABOLLE replied  that by doing it that way,  the state policy                                                               
appears  to be  based on  need, not  based on  what insurance  is                                                               
usually  based  on  -  how much  you  paid  in.  Philosophically,                                                               
though, she felt it was important for families to have benefits.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked  if  she  agreed  that  parents,  who  are                                                               
unemployed, need to have a way to feed their family.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. LABOLLE assented  - on the condition that  an employee became                                                               
unemployed through no fault of his own.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said  the department's numbers show  that in 2002,                                                               
only  10  percent  of  Alaskan  claimants  received  the  maximum                                                               
dependents  allowance. He  extrapolated  that 90  percent of  the                                                               
other claimants didn't get the maximum dependent's allowance.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     So, it isn't that we  can automatically add the maximum                                                                    
     dependent's allowance  on to  the average claim  of the                                                                    
     Alaskan worker,  because that  would be  misleading. We                                                                    
     wouldn't be  looking at the real  picture. The document                                                                    
     goes  on  to point  out  that  the average  dependent's                                                                    
     allowance  for FY02  is $19.30,  which is  quite a  bit                                                                    
     less than  that maximum  of $72.  What it  doesn't tell                                                                  
     you  is   what  percentage   [of  claimants]   take  no                                                                  
     dependent's allowance,  whatsoever.... I  wouldn't want                                                                  
     anyone to  get the  impression from the  testimony here                                                                    
     today that we're lavish with  our dependent allowance -                                                                    
     that we  throw a  lot of  it around -  that it's  a big                                                                    
     change in  our unemployment. It looks  like the average                                                                    
     change is $19.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. LABOLLE replied  that last year, 44 percent  of claimants had                                                               
dependents and  received dependent coverage, although  they might                                                               
not all  have been at the  maximum weekly benefit amount  and the                                                               
number of dependents wasn't indicated.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE said  he wanted more information  from the department                                                               
about  the  last three  years  on  the  number of  claimants  who                                                               
claimed dependents.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said he wanted clarification as well.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. LABOLLE reminded the committee  that the proposed increase in                                                               
the maximum weekly  benefit amount has an $8 million  cost to the                                                               
private  sector  employers, but  it  would  cost the  state,  the                                                               
largest employer, as well. The last  fiscal note was zero and she                                                               
wanted to know how that could be.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. DON ETHERIDGE, Alaska State  AFL-CIO, opposed SCS HB 305(L&C)                                                               
and didn't  want anything but  the original bill passed.  He said                                                               
it's real  easy to talk about  people getting fired for  cause or                                                               
voluntarily  quitting,  but  when  you are  in  the  business  of                                                               
representing  people,   you  realize  that  people   quit  a  job                                                               
voluntarily,  but don't  want to.  It's to  the point  where they                                                               
have to quit.  Many times the stress of a  particular job gets to                                                               
someone  and they  have to  quit  for their  health reasons.  His                                                               
concern  is not  for the  construction  workers who  would get  a                                                               
little  bit more,  but  for the  people who  don't  make as  much                                                               
money. Sometimes, processing a grievance  takes a year and in the                                                               
meantime, people have lost their  homes, maybe lost their family,                                                               
been on welfare, or whatever. "We  just can't buy into this. We'd                                                               
just as soon see it go away as to make this change to it."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked Commissioner Greg  O'Claray to comment  and to                                                               
prepare a chart  showing three to five years of  numbers of folks                                                               
who  claim maximum  dependents  to no  dependents  and any  other                                                               
information that he thought would be useful.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GREG O'CLARAY,  Department of  Labor and  Workforce                                                               
Development (DOLWD),  acknowledged his request and  said that the                                                               
department supported the original bill, but not the SCS.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     There are  a couple  of facts  that I  think I  need to                                                                    
     enter  into  the record.  One  of  the prior  witnesses                                                                    
     testified  that to  her knowledge,  over 50  percent of                                                                    
     the   claimants   fit   into  the   voluntarily   quit,                                                                    
     terminated  for  cause,   refusal  to  accept  suitable                                                                    
     employment  [category]. That's  not exactly  a fact  in                                                                    
     this case.  Last year, there were  64,000 claimants for                                                                    
     UI benefits.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  interrupted  to  clarify  that  he  heard  that                                                               
testimony regarding the  group was in the  case management study,                                                               
not the overall universe.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER O'CLARAY continued:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I just wanted to say  that because I didn't want anyone                                                                    
     to  be misled  and  I'm sure  that  Ms. LaBolle  didn't                                                                    
     intend  to mislead  anyone, either,  but the  number of                                                                    
     folks  that would  fall  within the  CS  for denial  of                                                                    
     benefits of up to 25  weeks under the bill were 13,758.                                                                    
     That's  what  we  denied  last  year  or  required  the                                                                    
     waiting period that fit  into that particular category,                                                                    
     out of the  total of 64,000 claimants. That  was in the                                                                    
     neighborhood  of   about  27   percent  of   the  total                                                                    
     claimants.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked if paying dependent  benefits shortchanged                                                               
people without  dependents who qualify  for a  benefit. According                                                               
to  his interpretation  of the  chart, the  state is  only paying                                                               
10.7 percent of what someone deserves.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE jumped  in saying he didn't think  that was accurate.                                                               
He  read it  to say  ten percent  of the  claimants received  the                                                               
maximum dependent's allowance.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS wanted  to make sure everyone  received what they                                                               
were entitled to.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  O'CLARAY  commented  that   he  would  provide  the                                                               
information that was requested. He  said that the department paid                                                               
out  $174 million  in benefits  last year.  Nearly 80  percent of                                                               
those  dollars  found their  way  into  the Alaskan  economy  and                                                               
making claimants  wait for 25 weeks  takes a pretty big  bite out                                                               
of the Alaskan  economy. There is a difference of  opinion on why                                                               
Alaska is more liberal in  terms of its qualification for payout,                                                               
but it is because of the  high cost of remaining in Alaska during                                                               
an unemployed period. Prior legislatures have recognized that.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE thanked  everyone  for their  comments  and said  he                                                               
looked forward to bringing the bill up at another time.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
         SB 365-SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST ASSISTANTS                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR CON BUNDE  announced SB 365 to be up  for consideration and                                                               
said that  it was introduced on  the behalf of the  Alaska Speech                                                               
Pathologists.  There  is  currently  a  shortage  of  speech  and                                                               
language  pathologists  in Alaska  and  this  bill aims  to  give                                                               
credentials  and supervisory  authority  to  speech and  language                                                               
pathologist assistants. The use of  an assistant does not replace                                                               
the work of a pathologist, but rather extends it.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAURA YOUNG-CAMPBELL, Mat-Su  Speech Pathologist, said she is                                                               
also  on the  executive board  of the  Alaska Speech  and Hearing                                                               
Association and that  there is a nationwide  shortage of language                                                               
and  speech  pathologists.  According  to U.S.  Bureau  of  Labor                                                               
statistics,  34,000 additional  language and  speech pathologists                                                               
will  be needed  nationwide to  fill the  demand between  2000 to                                                               
2010, a  39 percent increase.  Alaska is experiencing  a shortage                                                               
in schools,  private practice and  hospitals and has  been trying                                                               
to deal with the shortage for years.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The Alaska Speech  and Hearing Association has  been working with                                                               
the  University of  Alaska and  other organizations  to bring  up                                                               
programs  or  develop  training  opportunities  specific  to  our                                                               
unique needs.  The Prince William Sound  Community College offers                                                               
a  Speech Pathology  Assistant  Program  where students  graduate                                                               
with an associate degree, which  includes appropriate course work                                                               
specific to  speech language  pathology and  practical experience                                                               
in a variety of employment settings.  One of the larger needs for                                                               
speech and  language pathologists  is in  schools. When  a speech                                                               
pathologist  is absent  or  needs to  attend  a meeting,  usually                                                               
speech   therapy  is   cancelled.  Having   an  assistant   would                                                               
facilitate consistent  and ongoing  therapy treatment.  Having an                                                               
assistant  would allow  students to  work in  smaller groups  and                                                               
receive  more individual  instruction.  In a  majority of  cases,                                                               
with  consistent and  enhanced services,  students will  complete                                                               
their goals in less time.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     SB  365 will  allow speech  pathology assistants  to be                                                                    
     recognized  for  their  training while  providing  them                                                                    
     with  a   scope  of  practice,   which  is   under  the                                                                    
     supervision of a licensed  or certified speech language                                                                    
     pathologist.   Due  to   the   forecast  of   long-term                                                                    
     shortages,  I  feel  that SB  365  does  support  these                                                                    
     services  to all  Alaskans.  I urge  you  to pass  this                                                                    
     bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE asked  if  this  bill runs  counter  to any  federal                                                               
requirements in the area of special education.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. CAMPBELL replied  no and that it would  meet the professional                                                               
standards in the No Child Left Behind Act.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked if the  American Speech and Hearing Association                                                               
(ASHA) had taken a position on this bill.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. CAMPBELL  replied that ASHA  drafted guidelines in  March and                                                               
31  states  currently recognize  the  use  of support  personnel.                                                               
Twenty-two  of   those  use  registration  and   the  others  use                                                               
licensure.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE indicated there were no further questions for her.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PATRICIA  OLMSTEAD  said  she is  a  life-long  Alaskan  and                                                               
returned  in 1979  to  practice as  a  certified speech  language                                                               
pathologist. She  has been traveling mostly  remote regions since                                                               
that time, both in school  district capacities and with the early                                                               
intervention network.  She is the official  legislative counselor                                                               
for  the Alaska  Speech  Language  Pathologists and  Audiologists                                                               
Association, representing  them at  the American  Speech Language                                                               
Hearing Association  where she was  applauded when  she announced                                                               
these initiatives were taking place in Alaska.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
She said  there is  a tremendous shortage  because there  is more                                                               
demand in schools, hospitals and  private settings. She supported                                                               
previous testimony  on how use  of assistants will  help services                                                               
to  be   extended.  Practically   speaking,  she   relies  almost                                                               
exclusively on third-party payment. She  will be able to bill for                                                               
an assistant if he or  she is appropriately trained and certified                                                               
by her.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. DIXIE ALMS  said she has been a public  speech pathologist in                                                               
Juneau  for 29  years. She  urged the  committee's support  of SB                                                               
365.  She  is currently  split  between  Riverbend and  Gastineau                                                               
Elementary Schools. She  has about 22 kids at  Riverbend, but her                                                               
caseload  at  Gastineau is  30  and  climbing. She  has  formally                                                               
written  a complaint  to both  of her  principals and  the school                                                               
district  to  document  the challenges  she  is  experiencing  at                                                               
Gastineau because  she can't  do her  job. If  she had  a trained                                                               
assistant, her kids  would receive better and  more competent and                                                               
complete services than she can provide half-time.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NANCY   LOVERING,  President,  Alaska  Speech   and  Hearing                                                               
Association,  said  she  is  also   a  licensed  speech  language                                                               
pathologist  in private  practice in  Anchorage for  the past  14                                                               
years.  She supported  SB  365. Many  of  these assistants  would                                                               
receive  their training  from a  program  offered through  Prince                                                               
William  Sound Community  College  and the  University of  Alaska                                                               
Anchorage. She  explained that the program  includes courses such                                                               
as Introduction  to Communication  Disorders, Voice  and Diction,                                                               
Communication   Disorders  for   Adults  and   Children,  Therapy                                                               
Techniques, Early Childhood Communication  Disorders and two 100-                                                               
hour practicums  - one being  in a generalized  special education                                                               
arena and the other in specific speech and language services.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR.  MARJORIE KASSIER,  Director  of Training,  Center for  Human                                                               
Development,  UAA, said  this program  was started  by a  request                                                               
from the Alaska  Speech Language and Hearing  Association. All of                                                               
the  course  work  and  training  has  been  developed  with  the                                                               
cooperation of speech language  pathologists. Currently, about 60                                                               
students  are  working  towards   the  assistant  degree  at  the                                                               
associate level. More  than two-thirds of them are  in small bush                                                               
and  rural hub  communities. The  program is  distance delivered,                                                               
which  allows  training for  potential  assistants  all over  the                                                               
state.   The  Mental   Health   Trust   Authority  has   provided                                                               
substantial scholarships  and grants have been  received from the                                                               
federal Department of Education and the Department of Labor.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE asked  if a  speech  language pathologist  assistant                                                               
would  be analogous  to a  teaching assistant  at the  elementary                                                               
level of a public school.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. KASSIER  replied, "Absolutely.  In fact,  that's a  very good                                                               
way of describing what they would do...."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  also pointed  out that  becoming an  assistant would                                                               
lead the way to becoming a fully certified pathologist.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. KASSIER  agreed and  said that although  the program  is only                                                               
three years old, it already  has 10 graduates. That doesn't sound                                                               
like much, but  most of the students already have  full time jobs                                                               
and families.  They are extremely  motivated and  competent. This                                                               
suggests to her that they may go on and get bachelor degrees.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to  pass SB 365  and attached  fiscal note                                                               
with  individual recommendations.  Senators  Bettye Davis,  Ralph                                                               
Seekins, Hollis French and Chair Con  Bunde voted yea; and SB 365                                                               
moved from committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
           HB 341-DIVE FISHERY MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced HB 341 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TIM  BARRY, staff to  Representative Bill  Williams, sponsor,                                                               
explained that  the bill  was requested  by the  Southeast Alaska                                                               
Regional Dive Fisheries Association  (SARDFA). It's essentially a                                                               
housekeeping measure  to give  the organization  more flexibility                                                               
in   its   operations.   SARDFA  is   an   effective   management                                                               
organization  and  is  composed   of  fishermen,  processors  and                                                               
representatives of  a number of Southeast  Alaska communities; it                                                               
works  closely  with  the  Alaska Department  of  Fish  and  Game                                                               
(ADF&G)  to  develop  management   plans  for  the  various  dive                                                               
fisheries. Members of  SARDFA pay a tax based on  a percentage of                                                               
the value  of their catch  and the  revenue is spent  on managing                                                               
the dive fisheries. Under current  state law, association members                                                               
elect to tax themselves  at a rate of either 1%, 3%,  5% or 7% of                                                               
the value of their landings in  a particular dive fishery. HB 341                                                               
would  give  association members  the  additional  option to  tax                                                               
themselves at 2%, 4% or 6% rates. There is a zero fiscal note.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked how the  members would choose to  change their                                                               
assessment.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BARRY replied  that  the  members of  the  association in  a                                                               
particular dive fishery  would vote to change the  tax rate. This                                                               
legislation  was   modeled  on   the  Alaska   Seafood  Marketing                                                               
Association (ASMI) and the aquaculture association models.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. JULIE  DECKER, Executive Director, Southeast  Alaska Regional                                                               
Dive  Fisheries  Association (SARDFA),  said  its  mission is  to                                                               
develop, expand  and enhance new  and existing dive  fisheries in                                                               
Southeast. She said that geoducks  and sea cucumbers are taxed at                                                               
5 and  7 percent for  sea urchins.  The assessments help  pay for                                                               
the increased  cost of management  and surveying  associated with                                                               
expansion  of   the  fisheries  and  for   special  developmental                                                               
projects, which  allow them  to increase  the ex-vessel  value of                                                               
the resources.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE said  that similar  legislation  in other  fisheries                                                               
didn't have  unanimous agreement  on taxing themselves  and asked                                                               
if she had polled her membership.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. DECKER  replied that she  has received  overwhelming response                                                               
to this legislation  and over two-thirds voted  to tax themselves                                                               
in each of the fisheries.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:12 p.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-30, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DECKER explained  that  the association  sees  the need  for                                                               
flexibility in the  future and wants to have this  in place ahead                                                               
of time.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH  asked her exactly how the  tax money would                                                               
be spent.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. DECKER responded  that each year the  association develops an                                                               
annual  operating plan  in cooperation  with ADF&G.  Some of  the                                                               
funds are  used to  pay for SARDFA  administration costs  and for                                                               
ADF&G  to survey  new areas,  a little  bit of  research that  is                                                               
necessary  for sustainable  management of  the resource  and some                                                               
water and PSP  testing costs for the geoduck  fishery. Some funds                                                               
could  be used  for  starting small  pilot enhancement  projects,                                                               
which basically consists of reseeding certain areas.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RALPH  SEEKINS moved to  pass HB 341 from  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  objected, because  he hadn't  had enough  time to                                                               
look at it.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE said  he  would  hold HB  341  over  until the  next                                                               
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                  SB 377-STATE MECHANICAL CODE                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE  announced SB 377 to be up  for consideration for                                                               
its first hearing and that he didn't intend to move it today.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ZACH WARWICK,  staff to  Senator  Gene Therriault,  sponsor,                                                               
said it  is designed to solve  a problem that arose  in 2001 when                                                               
the  Department of  Public Safety  (DPS) adopted  a new  brand of                                                               
building code for the State of Alaska.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The  state has  five codes  for building  construction: plumbing,                                                               
electrical,  mechanical, building  and  fire.  The Department  of                                                               
Labor  and  Workforce  Development   (DOLWD)  has  the  statutory                                                               
authority to adopt  the mechanical and electrical  codes; the DPS                                                               
by  default has  used the  following statute  to adopt  the other                                                               
three codes. It states:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The Department  of Public Safety may  adopt regulations                                                                    
     for the  purpose of protecting  life and  property from                                                                    
     fire  and explosion  by establishing  minimum standards                                                                    
     for   fire   and   safety   criteria   in   commercial,                                                                    
     industrial,  business,  institutional or  other  public                                                                    
     buildings and  buildings used for  residential purposes                                                                    
     containing four or more dwelling units.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK  explained that when  the DPS adopted the  new codes,                                                               
which are  different than  the Uniform Codes,  it was  done under                                                               
the guise that if the new  codes weren't adopted, the state would                                                               
lose Federal  Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  money. That was                                                               
a  completely untrue  statement. Mechanical  contractors who  are                                                               
the ones  in the  field doing the  installations didn't  have any                                                               
input  on  design  or  installation   procedures;  the  code  was                                                               
primarily   designed  by   architects,  engineers   and  building                                                               
officials.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Currently,  a  lawsuit before  the  Supreme  Court of  Alaska  is                                                               
trying to revert  back to the uniform family of  codes. This bill                                                               
would  solve  that problem  by  removing  all references  to  the                                                               
Uniform Mechanical Code.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE said  about 10  people wanted  to testify  and there                                                               
were  about 11  minutes left  and that  another hearing  would be                                                               
held at another time.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EUGENE RUTLAND,  Executive Director,  Mechanical Contractors                                                               
of Alaska,  supported SB 377.  He explained that  recently Alaska                                                               
adopted a Mechanical Code and  a Plumbing Code that was published                                                               
by  two   different  entities  who   did  not   coordinate  their                                                               
publications with each other.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     We  need to  have these  codes under  one agency  where                                                                    
     they  can  be  coordinated. The  Department  of  Public                                                                    
     safety  only performs  mechanical  and electrical  plan                                                                    
     review  for  fire  and life  safety  requirements.  The                                                                    
     balance of the mechanical code  is not enforced at this                                                                    
     time.   The   Department   of   Labor   and   Workforce                                                                    
     Development   has  field   inspectors  who   physically                                                                    
     inspect  actual  installations.  Since  mechanical  and                                                                    
     plumbing  are   so  closely  intertwined,   these  same                                                                    
     inspectors  could  and  should inspect  the  mechanical                                                                    
     installation, also.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Finally, the  owners of our  member firms  are licensed                                                                    
     mechanical administrators. They  have both plumbing and                                                                    
     mechanical  category  endorsements on  their  licenses.                                                                    
     State  statutes  require  them  to  sign  off  on  each                                                                    
     project they  are responsible for. This  certifies that                                                                    
     the  project has  been solved  in  accordance with  the                                                                    
     applicable  mechanical or  plumbing codes.  The penalty                                                                    
     for  violation  ranges  from  a   fine  to  a  loss  of                                                                    
     license.... We support the passage of SB 377.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUG MATHERS, Building Official, City of Kodiak, opposed SB                                                                 
377. His reasoning is in the fax he sent to the committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GREG MOORE, Nana/Colt Engineering, said they are an oil and                                                                 
gas engineering firm and opposed SB 377.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     We oppose it because  we haven't finished the business,                                                                    
     yet,  of  the Safety  Codes  Task  Force. If  we  would                                                                    
     finish  our  business  there, those  items  that  we're                                                                    
     talking about in this bill would be taken care of....                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     We  also oppose  it  because this  bill  only tries  to                                                                    
     solve  the problem  for  477 mechanical  administrators                                                                    
     that will  be affected  by this  bill. There  are 6,166                                                                    
     engineers,  designers  and  residential  builders  that                                                                    
     will  also  be  affected  by this  bill,  except  in  a                                                                    
     negative way.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLIN MAYNARD, Alaska Professional Design Council (APDC),                                                                   
opposed SB 377.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     We  believe that  the process  that  the department  of                                                                    
     Public  Safety has  used to  adopt the  mechanical code                                                                    
     for over  40 years has  always been the same.  The code                                                                    
     was   written  by   The  International   Conference  of                                                                    
     Building Officials  (ICBO) that  they have  adopted for                                                                    
     the  last  40  years.  ICBO  now,  under  the  name  of                                                                    
     International  Code  Council  (ICC),  has  written  the                                                                    
     International  Mechanical  Code  that we're  using,  so                                                                    
     it's not  a different code.  It's the same  people with                                                                    
     the same code.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAIG FREDEEN,  Mechanical Engineer,  ASCG, Inc.  opposed SB                                                               
377. He thought the code should  stay in the Department of Public                                                               
Safety because it has a more open and public process.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEFF ROBINSON, Klebs Mechanical, Inc., opposed SB 377.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. EDEN LARSON, President,  Associated Builders and Contractors,                                                               
(ABC), opposed SB 377.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAM KITO  III,  Alaska Professional  Design Council  (APDC),                                                               
said it represents  over 5,000 design professionals  in the State                                                               
of Alaska and opposed SB 377.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAIG STEVENSON,  Regional  Manager, Governmental  Relations                                                               
Office, ICC, said  it is a nonprofit,  public benefit corporation                                                               
whose history  is in three former  groups - one of  them known as                                                               
ICBO. Although  their process of  code development is  similar to                                                               
what ICBO used  to do, it's much expanded and  includes much more                                                               
industry in  the decision making process.  The Uniform Mechanical                                                               
Code that  has been adopted by  the State of Alaska  was the ICBO                                                               
version  and that  is not  promulgated  and updated  by them  any                                                               
more;  however, the  assets of  ICBO are  owned by  the ICC.  His                                                               
organization helps  facilitate a process  for safety codes  to be                                                               
used by local  and state government. He suggested that  SB 377 be                                                               
held for further investigation to see  if it meets the spirit and                                                               
intent of  AS 44.62, Administrative  Procedures, and if  it meets                                                               
the state's  policy for public  meetings. He opposes the  bill on                                                               
the grounds  that there hasn't  been a complete inquiry  into all                                                               
the organizations, their processes and  what others have in terms                                                               
of  providing solutions.  Lastly, he  noted faulty  references on                                                               
page 1, lines 10, 11 and 13.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked  him to forward his comments in  writing to the                                                               
committee. There  being no  further business  to come  before the                                                               
committee, he adjourned the meeting at 3:30 p.m.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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