Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

04/04/2006 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 394 INSURANCE POLICIES IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 394(L&C)am Out of Committee
*+ SB 311 ATHLETIC COMMISSION; BOXING & WRESTLING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ SB 312 CONCERT OR ATHLETIC EVENT PROMOTERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= SB 272 MORTGAGE LENDING
Moved CSSB 272(L&C) Out of Committee
+= HB 393 INSURANCE FOR COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 393(HES) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                         April 4, 2006                                                                                          
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Con Bunde, Chair                                                                                                        
Senator Ralph Seekins, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 311                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the  athletic commission and the commissioner                                                               
of  athletics; and  relating to  boxing, sparring,  and wrestling                                                               
contests, matches, and exhibitions."                                                                                            
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 312                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to the  promotion  of live  public events  for                                                               
which tickets are sold in advance."                                                                                             
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 272                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to mortgage  lenders and persons who  engage in                                                               
activities  relating to  mortgage lending;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 272(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 393(HES)                                                                                                  
"An  Act  requiring  that certain  health  care  insurance  plans                                                               
provide  coverage for  the costs  of colorectal  cancer screening                                                               
examinations  and   laboratory  tests;   and  providing   for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 393(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 394(L&C) am                                                                                               
"An Act relating  to allowing insurance policy forms  to be filed                                                               
and  approved in  languages  other than  English  if an  official                                                               
English language  version is also  filed, and authorizing  use of                                                               
insurance policy forms and associated materials in languages                                                                    
other than English."                                                                                                            
     MOVED CSHB 394(L&C) am OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 311                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ATHLETIC COMMISSION; BOXING & WRESTLING                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
03/24/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/24/06       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/04/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 312                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONCERT OR ATHLETIC EVENT PROMOTERS                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
03/24/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/24/06       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/04/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 272                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MORTGAGE LENDING                                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) WAGONER                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/08/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/08/06       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
03/02/06       (S)       L&C AT 2:00 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/02/06       (S)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
03/07/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/07/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/07/06       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/16/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/16/06       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
03/30/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/30/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/30/06       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/04/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 393                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INSURANCE FOR COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) ANDERSON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/25/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/25/06       (H)       L&C, HES                                                                                               
02/03/06       (H)       L&C AT 4:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/03/06       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
02/06/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/06/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 393(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/06/06       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/08/06       (H)       L&C RPT CS(L&C) 5DP 1NR 1AM                                                                            
02/08/06       (H)       DP: CRAWFORD, LYNN, LEDOUX, GUTTENBERG,                                                                
                         ANDERSON;                                                                                              
02/08/06       (H)       NR: KOTT;                                                                                              
02/08/06       (H)       AM: ROKEBERG                                                                                           
02/14/06       (H)       HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/14/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 393(HES) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/14/06       (H)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
02/17/06       (H)       HES RPT CS(HES) 6DP                                                                                    
02/17/06       (H)       DP: GARDNER, CISSNA, ANDERSON, GATTO,                                                                  
                         SEATON, WILSON                                                                                         
02/22/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
02/22/06       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 393(HES)                                                                                 
02/23/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/23/06       (S)       L&C, HES                                                                                               
03/09/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/09/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/09/06       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/04/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 394                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INSURANCE POLICIES IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) MEYER                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
01/25/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/25/06       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
02/22/06       (H)       L&C AT 4:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/22/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 394(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/22/06       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/24/06       (H)       L&C RPT CS(L&C) NT 5DP 1NR                                                                             
02/24/06       (H)       DP: CRAWFORD, LYNN, LEDOUX, GUTTENBERG,                                                                
                         ANDERSON;                                                                                              
02/24/06       (H)       NR: ROKEBERG                                                                                           
03/02/06       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/02/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 394(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/02/06       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/03/06       (H)       FIN RPT CS(L&C) NT 3DP 5NR                                                                             
03/03/06       (H)       DP: FOSTER, MEYER, CHENAULT;                                                                           
03/03/06       (H)       NR: JOULE, HAWKER, WEYHRAUCH, HOLM,                                                                    
                         KELLY                                                                                                  
03/13/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/13/06       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 394(L&C) AM                                                                              
03/15/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/15/06       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/04/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RICK URION, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing                                                                  
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 311 and SB 312.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
AMY SEITZ                                                                                                                       
Staff to Senator Wagoner                                                                                                        
State Capitol                                                                                                                   
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 272 for sponsor.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ROGER PRINCE, Financial Institution Examiner                                                                                    
Division of Banking and Securities                                                                                              
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 272.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LAURIE HOLTE                                                                                                                    
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation                                                                                              
PO Box 101020                                                                                                                   
Anchorage AK 99504                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 272.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KEN GAIN                                                                                                                        
Independent Lenders of Alaska                                                                                                   
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 272.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN BREELAND, President                                                                                                       
Alaska Mortgage Bankers Association                                                                                             
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 272.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOE BRAMMER                                                                                                                     
Legislative Board                                                                                                               
Alaska Association of Mortgage Brokers (AKAMB)                                                                                  
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 272.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOHN MARTIN                                                                                                                     
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Had concerns regarding SB 272.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD,                                                                                                                  
Staff to Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                            
State Capitol                                                                                                                   
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Addressed HB 393 for the sponsor.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MELANIE MILHORN, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Retirement and Benefits                                                                                             
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on CSHB 393(HES).                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
EMILY NENON, Director                                                                                                           
Alaska Government Relations                                                                                                     
American Cancer Society                                                                                                         
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSHB 393(HES).                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL PAWLOWSKI                                                                                                               
Staff to Representative Kevin Meyer                                                                                             
State Capitol                                                                                                                   
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 394 for the sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JEFFERY TROUTT, Deputy Director                                                                                                 
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSHB 394(L&C) AM.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SHELDON WINTERS                                                                                                                 
State Farm Insurance Company                                                                                                    
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSHB 394(L&C) AM.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON  BUNDE called  the Senate  Labor and  Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at 1:32:21  PM. Present at the call to                                                             
order were  Senators Davis, Ben  Stevens, Ellis and  Chair Bunde.                                                               
Senator Seekins arrived at 1:35.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
         SB 311-ATHLETIC COMMISSION; BOXING & WRESTLING                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR CON BUNDE  announced SB 311 to be up  for consideration. He                                                               
said the Athletic Commission had not  been used in many years and                                                               
this was clean  up legislation that would  remove that commission                                                               
from the statutes.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RICK  URION, Director,  Division of  Corporations, Business,  and                                                               
Professional  Licensing,  Department  of  Commerce,  Community  &                                                               
Economic Development  (DCCED), agreed  that his portrayal  of the                                                               
bill was  accurate. This  provision is outdated  and needs  to go                                                               
away.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE announced that he would  hold the bill until the next                                                               
hearing to give  committee members a chance  to gather additional                                                               
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:35:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS arrived.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
           SB 312-CONCERT OR ATHLETIC EVENT PROMOTERS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE  announced SB 312 to be up  for consideration. He                                                               
disclosed that  he has a  possible conflict because his  son puts                                                               
on  concerts.  He  explained  that   the  idea  behind  having  a                                                               
promoter's license  is that if  someone chooses to be  a promoter                                                               
and sell advance tickets to an  event - whether it's a concert or                                                               
an athletic  event - and then  for some reason would  not be able                                                               
to provide  the concert, the  bond that is  called for in  SB 312                                                               
would allow the  state to at least  partially reimburse consumers                                                               
who  had purchased  the advance  tickets.  He viewed  this is  as                                                               
consumer protection  legislation that would also  provide revenue                                                               
to the state in the form of licensing fees.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RICK  URION, Director,  Division of  Corporations, Business,  and                                                               
Professional  Licensing,  Department  of  Commerce,  Community  &                                                               
Economic  Development   (DCCED),  explained  that   his  division                                                               
licenses 13 promoters  at this time and the licenses  cost $375 a                                                               
year. Promoters are  also required to have a $5,000  bond or cash                                                               
deposit. No  one has lost  money while  he has been  the director                                                               
and  he has  received only  one  complaint about  a promoter  who                                                               
didn't have  a bond. He also  heard a rumor about  someone losing                                                               
money in Anchorage a while ago.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. URION  suggested that  the committee  might want  to consider                                                               
whether it  wants to expand SB  312 to cover promoters  of boxing                                                               
and any  event in which  tickets are  sold in advance  because it                                                               
might be more inclusive than they would like.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:38:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS noted that the bill contained exemptions.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE explained  that if  a promoter  wants to  put on  an                                                               
event for a non-profit, the profits  have to go to the non-profit                                                               
rather than to the private entity that might be using its name.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked if  university or  school-sponsored events                                                               
would be 502(c)(3)s that would be covered under this bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. URION responded that he assumed those would be nonprofits.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked  his staff to get a Department  of Law opinion.                                                               
He then said SB 312 would be set aside.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                    SB 272-MORTGAGE LENDING                                                                                 
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced SB 272 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS moved to adopt  CSSB 272, version P, as the                                                               
working  document.  There  were  no  objections  and  it  was  so                                                               
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
AMY SEITZ, staff to Senator  Wagoner, sponsor of SB 272, reviewed                                                               
changes that were on a memo from Terry Bannister, Legal Drafter.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:45:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE referenced  a memorandum from Terry  Bannister with a                                                               
question about interstate commerce.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ replied  that it was her understanding  that if out-of-                                                               
state  companies and  instate companies  were  treated the  same,                                                               
that was not an issue.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ROGER  PRINCE,   Financial  Institution  Examiner,   Division  of                                                               
Banking  and  Securities,  Department of  Commerce,  Community  &                                                               
Economic  Development  (DCCED),  referenced   a  letter  from  Ed                                                               
Sniffen, Department  of Law, regarding  the Payday Loan  Act that                                                               
covered the  same enforcement concerns  against both  instate and                                                               
out-of-state  companies as  well  as on-line  companies. It  said                                                               
that as long  as the Division of Banking and  the law, itself (SB                                                               
272), treats  interstate and out-of-state  companies identically,                                                               
there is no violation of interstate commerce clauses.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked him if this bill treated both equally.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. PRINCE replied yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:48:02 PM                                                                                                                    
LAURIE  HOLTE,  Alaska  Housing  Finance  Corporation,  said  she                                                               
supported SB 272.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:48:45 PM                                                                                                                    
KEN GAIN,  Independent Lenders  of Alaska,  said he  reviewed the                                                               
draft and considered  the changes to be  technical. The substance                                                               
hadn't been changed and he still supported it.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:49:33 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN BREELAND,  President, Alaska Mortgage  Bankers Association,                                                               
said he also found the changes acceptable.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:50:08 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE     BRAMMER,     member,    Legislative     Board,     Alaska                                                               
Association of Mortgage  Brokers (AKAMB). He said  they were told                                                               
at the  last public hearing  that the program  administration fee                                                               
as outlined in  AS 06.60.600 would be applicable  to all mortgage                                                               
loan instruments  recorded. He  wanted clarification  that exempt                                                               
folks would still be required  to charge the application $10 fee.                                                               
He had  suggested making  the fee  negotiable to  be paid  by the                                                               
buyer or  the seller in  the transaction, because he  didn't know                                                               
if that would comply with HUD guidelines.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRAMMER  believed that  the exemptions were  fine and  that a                                                               
lot of  them would be  regulated by the  feds, but felt  that all                                                               
parties  who believed  they  were exempt  should  be required  to                                                               
apply  for the  exemption  and  pay an  annual  fee  - much  like                                                               
Nevada's model  legislation. This would  insure that they  have a                                                               
full list of all the players  and make certain that no one slides                                                               
through the cracks in believing they  are exempt and then harm is                                                               
done to  the consumer  when it's  too late  to correct.  He urged                                                               
passage of this legislation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:52:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BUNDE  asked if  his  concerns  about the  revisions  been                                                               
discussed by the bill's sponsor.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SEITZ  replied  that  the  sponsor  hadn't  heard  of  these                                                               
concerns, but  she assured  him that they  would be  addressed in                                                               
the next committee of referral.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:53:09 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN MARTIN  said he  was testifying  for himself  from Anchorage                                                               
and  had testified  several times  on the  need to  designate the                                                               
mortgage broker  as a  lending institution since  they are  not a                                                               
depository   organization   and   do  not   have   a   depository                                                               
relationship  with  their  clients.   Language  in  AS  06.60.010                                                               
clearly indicates  that residential property transactions  are to                                                               
be covered by the license and  will be a concern of the licensee.                                                               
AS 06.60.025 would require an  independent contractor to obtain a                                                               
license and  he asked why  they would let someone  be responsible                                                               
for the independent  contractor especially when he  must agree to                                                               
abide by  the requirements of  the chapter anyway. It  just makes                                                               
sense to delete this exemption.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He  also pointed  out  that  licenses are  issued  on a  biennial                                                               
basis, not an annual basis, and  he recommended the same for this                                                               
license. Also, the  initial fee for most licenses is  $50 and the                                                               
majority  of  license fees  are  under  $300 and  he  recommended                                                               
adopting the same figures.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARTIN said an article in  the October 2005 issue of Mortgage                                                               
Originator Magazine indicated that  the cost of background checks                                                               
vary from  $10 to $125 and  he suggested capping the  fee at $125                                                               
with the balance to be refunded to the licensee if not used.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He  recommended  in Section  .070  that  the Department  issue  a                                                               
license  within 30  days rather  than 90  days, because  a person                                                               
could waste a quarter of a  year waiting around to be licensed to                                                               
try  and earn  money and  he didn't  think that  was fair  to the                                                               
licensee or the general public.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Regarding  Section 250(b),  loan  files are  two  or more  inches                                                               
thick and  he thought  the Department  needed to  clarify exactly                                                               
which information  it wants retained.  He didn't think  it proper                                                               
for the  Department to  have every single  piece of  paper, which                                                               
may contain privacy issues that  would catch the attention of the                                                               
FTC. He  thought this should  be investigated. He  also suggested                                                               
combining  Sections  250(c) and  250(d)  and  have both  entities                                                               
accountable on  the same  level. In Section  610(b), he  found it                                                               
convenient that  the Department would  mandate a $10 fee,  but it                                                               
wouldn't be  responsible or liable for  an agent's defilification                                                               
and  he  thought  there  should be  some  recourse.  However,  he                                                               
thought the biggest component missing  on this bill was licensing                                                               
of originators  because that's  where 98  percent of  the problem                                                               
comes from in this business.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARTIN  said he just  received the  new P version  and hadn't                                                               
had the opportunity to review it  and wanted to be able to submit                                                               
written comments on it.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE thanked  him and asked him to submit  his comments to                                                               
Senator Wagoner after his review.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:57:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to pass  CSSB 272(L&C), version P,  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
note.  Senators  Ben Stevens,  Ellis,  Davis,  Seekins and  Chair                                                               
Bunde voted yea; and CSSB  272(L&C) moved from committee with the                                                               
assurance that  their questions would  be address in  the Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:58:25 PM                                                                                                                    
    CSHB 393(HES)-INSURANCE FOR COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE announced CSHB 393(HES) to be up for consideration.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD,  staff to  Representative Tom  Anderson, addressed                                                               
CSHB 393(HES) for the sponsor. He  said in the last meeting there                                                               
was  some concern  about the  fiscal  note from  the Division  of                                                               
Retirement and Benefits. Since that  time, he had talked with the                                                               
Division  of  Insurance  and  the   Division  of  Retirement  and                                                               
Benefits and sought a legal  opinion from Legislative Legal. As a                                                               
result, the fiscal note before them was revised.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:00:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MELANIE MILHORN,  Director, Division of Retirement  and Benefits,                                                               
Department   of  Administration   (DOA),   said  the   Department                                                               
administers  two health  plans -  one  for retirees  and one  for                                                               
active employees.  The governing  authority for both  those plans                                                               
is found in AS 39.30.090.  The state became self-insured in 1997.                                                               
The active  plan covers approximately  5,300 employees  and 8,900                                                               
dependents for a total of  14,400 active people. The retiree plan                                                               
provides  system paid  health care  coverage for  PERS, TRS,  JRS                                                               
(Judicial Retirement  System) and EPORS (Elected  Public Officers                                                               
Retirement System)  members -  approximately 29,300  retirees and                                                               
their dependent number of 24,700  for a total of 54,000 retirees.                                                               
The  Commissioner of  the Department  of  Administration has  the                                                               
authority to make changes to both plans in AS 39.30.090 - .095.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The Division  has not taken a  position on policy aspect  of CSHB                                                               
393(HES), but agrees  that preventative services are  in the best                                                               
interests of employees  and their families. They  can also reduce                                                               
costs to a plan.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MILHORN  explained that  in  preparing  for the  very  first                                                               
hearing  on  this bill,  the  Division  was under  the  erroneous                                                               
assumption  that colorectal  cancer screening  would be  mandated                                                               
coverage  for  the retiree  plan  in  accordance with  AS  21.42.                                                               
However, further  discussions with the Division  of Insurance and                                                               
Department  of  Law  and  revealed  that it  is  not  a  mandated                                                               
coverage  and the  Division  of Retirement  and  Benefits is  not                                                               
regulated under  the Division of  Insurance. So, there  would not                                                               
be an impact to the state's active or retiree plan.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The  active plan  already covers  preventative  services such  as                                                               
colorectal cancer screening if a  physician requests that testing                                                               
be  done within  90 days  of an  annual exam.  It does  not cover                                                               
preventative services for the retiree  plan with the exception of                                                               
those  found  in AS  21.42  -  PSA  testing, mammograms  and  pap                                                               
smears.  Those  were   not  under  the  retiree   plan,  but  the                                                               
Commissioner of the Department  of Administration had voluntarily                                                               
amended it to include those preventative coverages.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked if  the process  to get  colorectal screenings                                                               
included  in  the  retirees  plan  would be  to  go  through  the                                                               
Commissioner  of the  Department  of Administration  who has  the                                                               
authority  to make  the same  decision he  made on  breast cancer                                                               
screening for active employees.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILHORN replied yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:05:33 PM                                                                                                                    
EMILY  NENON,  Director,  Alaska Government  Relations,  American                                                               
Cancer Society,  said she had  testified at the  previous hearing                                                               
and was available to answer questions.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:05:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS moved  to pass CSHB 393(HES)  from committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  attached revised  fiscal  note.                                                               
Senators  Davis,  Ellis, Ben  Stevens,  Seekins  and Chair  Bunde                                                               
voted yea; and CSHB 393(HES) moved from committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
    CSHB 394(L&C)AM-INSURANCE POLICIES IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced CSHB 394(L&C)AM to be up for                                                                          
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL PAWLOWSKI, staff to Representative Kevin Meyer, sponsor                                                                 
of HB 394, said that according to the last census, more than                                                                    
80,000 Alaskans speak a language other than English at home.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Even  though  they  are   still  required  to  purchase                                                                    
     insurance,  there is  an  obstacle in  state  law to  a                                                                    
     company  providing them  with  associated materials  or                                                                    
     policies that are published in  a foreign language. The                                                                    
     problem  is  that since  the  law  is silent  on  which                                                                    
     version  of policy,  be it  the non-English  version or                                                                    
     the  English  version,  is the  official  version.  And                                                                    
     since insurance contracts  and policies are interpreted                                                                    
     against  the   insurance  company   with  all   of  the                                                                    
     associated   materials  brought   in,   and  since   no                                                                    
     translation is ever perfect and  there can be plenty of                                                                    
     disagreement  in court  as to  the nuances  of a  word,                                                                    
     companies are reluctant  to publish policies, pamphlets                                                                    
     and materials  in a language  other than  English. This                                                                    
     has  led to  a growing  portion of  our population  not                                                                    
     being adequately served.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     As  the  chairman  said,  insurance  polices  are  hard                                                                    
     enough to  understand in our  own language. And  to ask                                                                    
     someone  to  wade through  the  minutia  of a  contract                                                                    
     without   supporting    materials   for   informational                                                                    
     purposes  is  detrimental  to them  trying  to  conduct                                                                    
     regular  business  in  the state  of  Alaska.  So,  the                                                                    
     sponsor introduced HB 394 to  remove that obstacle from                                                                    
     statute,   put   adequate   barriers  in   to   prevent                                                                    
     misrepresentation  of information  and to  clarify that                                                                    
     these  are to  be only  for informational  purposes. He                                                                    
     believes that this  will lead to a freer  market in the                                                                    
     state  to  conduct  business and  serve  Alaskans  that                                                                    
     truly need the service.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked if it requires any one to try to provide                                                                      
written information in any language.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. PAWLOWSKI replied no, it requires nothing of anyone. It only                                                                
removes an obstacle to allow people and companies to pursue a                                                                   
business activity that they might want to.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:09:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  about language  on page  2, line  6, that                                                               
says  an   "insurer  may  not  misrepresent   information  in  an                                                               
insurance  policy  ....translated  into  a  language  other  than                                                               
English" and asked if he could only misrepresent in English.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PAWLOWSKI  replied  that  was  a  good  question,  but  that                                                               
language came  from, AS 21.36.030 on  misrepresentation and false                                                               
advertising. The  actual activity in  English is covered  under a                                                               
separate statute.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:10:28 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFFERY TROUTT,  Deputy Director, Division of  Insurance, said he                                                               
was here primarily to answer  questions, but wanted to expound on                                                               
some  of the  issues raised.  He recalled  that the  Division had                                                               
received two  health policies in Spanish.  An English translation                                                               
was sent along with it. Under  that circumstance he said he would                                                               
consider the  Spanish version as the  operative version. However,                                                               
business phrases  might mean one  thing in Mexico and  another in                                                               
Chile or  El Salvador. He said,  "It's good to have  an anchor so                                                               
everybody knows what version you are working on."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TROUTT said  he viewed  this as  a consumer  protection bill                                                               
that would encourage insurance companies  to provide materials in                                                               
a form  that people could  understand and his  Division supported                                                               
the  legislation. He  strongly supported  Senator Seekins'  point                                                               
about lying stating:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     To  me, I  believe  a  lie is  a  lie  whether it's  in                                                                    
     English,  Spanish, Tagalong  or Mandarin.  And I  would                                                                    
     apply Section  21.36.120 and  .140 against  anybody, no                                                                    
     matter  what  language they  were  lying  in. But  even                                                                    
     though   I  believe   those  two   statutes  apply   to                                                                    
     misrepresentation  in a  foreign language,  as somebody                                                                    
     who works in enforcement, I  don't mind you giving me a                                                                    
     little extra rope to hang the bad guys with.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:13:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SHELDON WINTERS,  State Farm Insurance,  said that State  Farm is                                                               
the largest insurer  of homes and autos in the  United States and                                                               
in Alaska.  He supported  CSHB 394(L&C) AM  saying it  would help                                                               
better serve State Farm's customers  by providing more meaningful                                                               
information to them.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
This  bill is  needed, first,  because it  deals with  the actual                                                               
insurance  policy  forms  that   get  filed  with  the  Division.                                                               
Currently, if a non-English version is  filed, there is no law as                                                               
to which  version controls and  he understands that  the Division                                                               
has   unofficially   assumed   that   the   non-English   version                                                               
controlled.  He suggested  that two  requirements be  met -  one,                                                               
that  both  versions  are  filed and,  two,  that  both  versions                                                               
provide notice  to the  consumer that  this is  for informational                                                               
purposes and the English version controls.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Secondly,  Mr.  Winters  said that  insurance  companies  provide                                                               
brochures describing coverage and  other information to consumers                                                               
and that  is impossible  if the  consumer doesn't  speak English.                                                               
The problem  is with court  interpretation of such  materials and                                                               
the inherent subtle differences between  an English version and a                                                               
non-English version.  Alaska's Supreme  Court has ruled  if there                                                               
is a dispute  about what a policy provides, the  court has to not                                                               
only look at  the actual policy language, but at  any other extra                                                               
evidence that  the consumer  may have looked  at or  relied upon.                                                               
That would include the advertising  or the brochures the industry                                                               
provides to them.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Other jurisdictions that allow  policies and advertising material                                                               
to be  produced in a non-English  version can produce a  lot more                                                               
information and  he used California  as an example.  Twelve other                                                               
states  have laws  that allow  what is  trying to  be done  here.                                                               
However,  most other  states don't  require an  English and  non-                                                               
English  version to  be  produced. Some  don't  even require  the                                                               
notice that  the English version  controls, but he  believed that                                                               
was good for the consumer.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  remarked that this  seems to be a  relatively simple                                                               
and non-controversial bill.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:18:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to  pass CSHB  394(L&C) am  from committee                                                               
with individual  recommendations and  attached zero  fiscal note.                                                               
Senators  Davis,  Ellis, Ben  Stevens,  Seekins  and Chair  Bunde                                                               
voted yea; and CSHB 394(L&C) am moved from committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Bunde adjourned the meeting at 2:19:18 PM.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects