Legislature(2021 - 2022)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/03/2021 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 69 EXEMPT RENEWABLE ENERGY ELECTRIC PLANTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 69 Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+= SB 54 AHFC WATER & SEWER BONDS/TRANSPORTATION TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 54 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+= SB 55 EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS TO PERS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 55 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+= SB 9 ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL; ALCOHOL REG TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ SJR 9 URGE EXEMPTION FOR CRUISE SHIPS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                          March 3, 2021                                                                                         
                            1:30 p.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Mia Costello, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Roger Holland, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Joshua Revak (via teleconference)                                                                                       
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 69                                                                                                              
"An  Act  extending  an exemption  from  regulation  as  a  public                                                              
utility   for  plants   and  facilities   generating   electricity                                                              
entirely  from renewable  energy resources;  and providing  for an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 69 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 54                                                                                                              
"An Act authorizing  and relating to the issuance of  bonds by the                                                              
Alaska Housing  Finance Corporation for  safe and clean  water and                                                              
hygienic   sewage   disposal   facility   capital   projects   and                                                              
transportation  projects;  providing  for  the  repayment  of  the                                                              
bonds and bond costs;  relating to the dividend paid  to the state                                                              
by the  Alaska Housing Finance  Corporation; and providing  for an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 54 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 55                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating   to  employer  contributions   to  the  Public                                                              
Employees'  Retirement  System of  Alaska;  and providing  for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 55 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 9                                                                                                               
"An  Act  relating   to  alcoholic  beverages;  relating   to  the                                                              
regulation  of   manufacturers,  wholesalers,  and   retailers  of                                                              
alcoholic  beverages;  relating  to  licenses,  endorsements,  and                                                              
permits  involving   alcoholic  beverages;   relating   to  common                                                              
carrier  approval to  transport  or deliver  alcoholic  beverages;                                                              
relating  to the  Alcoholic Beverage  Control  Board; relating  to                                                              
offenses  involving  alcoholic  beverages;  amending  Rule  17(h),                                                              
Alaska  Rules of  Minor Offense  Procedure; and  providing for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 9                                                                                                   
Urging  the United  States Congress  to exempt  cruise ships  from                                                              
certain  provisions  of  the Passenger  Vessel  Services  Act  and                                                              
other applicable provisions  of federal law for  the period during                                                              
which  Canadian ports  are closed  to cruise  ships carrying  more                                                              
than 100  people; and  urging the President  of the United  States                                                              
not to fine  or take actions  against cruise ships sailing  to the                                                              
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  69                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EXEMPT RENEWABLE ENERGY ELECTRIC PLANTS                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) REVAK                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/03/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/03/21       (S)       L&C                                                                                                    
02/10/21       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/10/21       (S)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
02/15/21       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/15/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/15/21       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/03/21       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  54                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AHFC WATER & SEWER BONDS/TRANSPORTATION                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/25/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        

01/25/21 (S) L&C, FIN 02/24/21 (S) L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg) 02/24/21 (S) Heard & Held 02/24/21 (S) MINUTE(L&C) 03/03/21 (S) L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg) BILL: SB 55 SHORT TITLE: EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS TO PERS SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR

01/25/21 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS

01/25/21 (S) L&C, FIN 02/22/21 (S) L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg) 02/22/21 (S) Heard & Held 02/22/21 (S) MINUTE(L&C) 03/03/21 (S) L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg) WITNESS REGISTER BRYAN BUTCHER, CEO/Executive Director Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Explained that SB 54 authorizes AHFC to sell tax-exempt capital project bonds, primarily for transportation and village safe water projects. ROB CARPENTER, Deputy Commissioner Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF) Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions and provided information related to SB 54. NEIL STEININGER, Director Office of Management and Budget Office of the Governor Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information and answered questions related to SB 55 on behalf of the administration. ACTION NARRATIVE 1:30:27 PM CHAIR MIA COSTELLO called the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. Present at the call to order were Senators Gray-Jackson, Holland, Revak (via teleconference), and Chair Costello. Senator Stevens arrived soon thereafter. SB 69-EXEMPT RENEWABLE ENERGY ELECTRIC PLANTS 1:31:25 PM CHAIR COSTELLO announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 69, "An Act extending an exemption from regulation as a public utility for plants and facilities generating electricity entirely from renewable energy resources; and providing for an effective date." She noted that public testimony was closed and the intention was to hear from the sponsor and move the bill from committee. 1:31:47 PM SENATOR JOSH REVAK, speaking as the sponsor via teleconference, summarized that the bill is an [extension] of the exemption for small, private sector businesses from additional regulatory burden. He noted that Alaska is the only state that has this additional regulatory burden. 1:32:26 PM SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON noted the letter from the Alaska Power Association and expressed hope that as a representative of small electric utilities, APA would have an opportunity to address its concerns when the bill goes through the public process in the House. 1:33:37 PM SENATOR STEVENS joined the committee. CHAIR COSTELLO said she informed the sponsor of the letter from APA in opposition to SB 69. The letter arrived after public testimony closed but she committed to follow the bill through the House process. She listed the individuals online who were available to answer questions. 1:35:06 PM SENATOR HOLLAND noted that he talked to the sponsor about potentially removing the additional regulatory burden for all small businesses, not just the ones that sell renewable energy. He acknowledged that it was too late for the Senate to consider that in this legislation. CHAIR COSTELLO said the committee would be interested in pursuing that idea. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON said she wanted to make sure the APA representative who was listening on line was aware of the next process for the bill. CHAIR COSTELLO explained that once the bill passes the Senate it goes to the House where it will go through the committee process and then the floor. She noted that the sponsor indicated he was willing to work with ATA during that process. 1:37:15 PM At ease 1:37:47 PM CHAIR COSTELLO reconvened the meeting and solicited a motion. 1:37:52 PM SENATOR HOLLAND moved to report SB 69, [work order 32- LS0432\A], from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). CHAIR COSTELLO found no objection and SB 69 was reported from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee. 1:38:23 PM At ease SB 54-AHFC WATER & SEWER BONDS/TRANSPORTATION 1:41:07 PM CHAIR COSTELLO reconvened the meeting and announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 54, "An Act authorizing and relating to the issuance of bonds by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation for safe and clean water and hygienic sewage disposal facility capital projects and transportation projects; providing for the repayment of the bonds and bond costs; relating to the dividend paid to the state by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation; and providing for an effective date." She advised that SB 54 was introduced on behalf of the governor. This was the second hearing and the intention was to take public testimony and look to the will of the committee. She noted that the next committee of referral was Finance. CHAIR COSTELLO asked Stacy Barnes if she would like to comment on the bill. 1:42:02 PM STACY BARNES, Director, Governmental Relations and Public Affairs, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Anchorage, Alaska, deferred comment to CEO Bryan Butcher. CHAIR COSTELLO asked Mr. Butcher to give the members a brief review of the bill. 1:42:55 PM BRYAN BUTCHER, CEO/Executive Director, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), Anchorage, Alaska, explained that SB 54 authorizes AHFC to sell $101.63 million in tax-exempt capital project bonds to fund DEC and DOTPF federal match in the capital budget, primarily for transportation and village safe water projects. The debt service on the 20-year bonds would come out of the corporation's annual dividend to the state. He noted that the dividend has been over $40 million the last several years and has the capacity to pay between $6 million and $7 million a year in debt service. This depends on the interest rate when the bonds go to market, but the expectation is that rates will remain low. CHAIR COSTELLO asked if AHFC's AA+ bond rating is separate from the state. MR. BUTCHER agreed that was correct. CHAIR COSTELLO mentioned who was available to answer questions. 1:44:55 PM SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON noted that she received, but had not reviewed, the list of shovel-ready projects that she requested during the last hearing. CHAIR COSTELLO asked if she would like the committee to take an at-ease to look at the list before moving the bill. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON replied it is 71 pages and she would look at it later. CHAIR COSTELLO asked Mr. Butcher to describe the process to develop the list. 1:46:04 PM MR. BUTCHER explained that AHFC informed the governor's office of the level of bonds that the corporation could fund. The governor's office submitted the list of projects to AHFC to ensure that they fit under the IRS requirements. AHFC had no input on the specific projects but the OMB director indicated they emphasized federal match that needed to occur as the best place for the funds. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON asked what percentage of the projects are for Anchorage. MR. BUTCHER deferred the question to Rob Carpenter with DOTPF. CHAIR COSTELLO asked Mr. Carpenter to respond to Senator Gray- Jackson. She also asked what percentage of the list applies to statewide airports and whether it includes money for maintenance of airports or just construction. 1:48:16 PM ROB CARPENTER, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF), Juneau, Alaska, offered to follow up with the specific information Senator Gray-Jackson requested as well the information about aviation. He noted that Anchorage typically receives roughly 50 percent of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) funding. The money for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) comes from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and it typically goes for rural airport construction work such as runway resurfacing and apron expansion, not things like plowing. 1:49:30 PM SENATOR STEVENS asked for an analysis of what the rest of the state receives after Anchorage gets 50 percent. MR. CARPENTER agreed to provide the information. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON asked if the Port of Alaska qualifies for any of the money. MR. CARPENTER answered mostly no. These Title 23 federal highway projects are generally restricted to maintenance. Funding for the Port of Anchorage would be restricted to roadways leading to the port and potentially for freight staging areas. CHAIR COSTELLO found no further questions and solicited a motion. 1:51:45 PM SENATOR HOLLAND moved to report SB 54, [work order 32-GS1713\A], from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). 1:52:04 PM At ease 1:53:39 PM CHAIR COSTELLO reconvened the meeting and recognized Senator Holland. 1:53:42 PM SENATOR HOLLAND withdrew the previous motion. 1:53:51 PM CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony on SB 54; finding none, she closed public testimony on SB 54. 1:54:29 PM SENATOR HOLLAND moved to report SB 54, [work order 32-GS1713\A], from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). CHAIR COSTELLO found no objection and SB 54 was reported from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee. 1:54:52 PM At ease SB 55-EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS TO PERS 1:57:41 PM CHAIR COSTELLO reconvened the meeting and announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 55, "An Act relating to employer contributions to the Public Employees' Retirement System of Alaska; and providing for an effective date." CHAIR COSTELLO recounted that this was the second hearing and the intention was to hear invited and public testimony before looking to the will of the committee. 1:58:33 PM NEIL STEININGER, Director, Office of Management and Budget, Office of the Governor, Juneau, Alaska, summarized that SB 55 provides tools to change how the state finances its retirement obligations to allow cost sharing with the federal government and other partners. He clarified that the state intends to continue to fully fund its retirement obligations at the actuarial cost. Furthermore, the state intends to continue to provide the same retirement benefits to current and future retirees. SENATOR STEVENS asked if OMB would recommend that the state revisit the idea of paying down the retirement obligation as it did some years ago. MR. STEININGER suggested he was referring to the $3 billion deposit in FY15. SENATOR STEVENS agreed. MR. STEININGER said the $3 billion deposit was a good decision at the time and would be again if the resources were available. However, it is not an option in the state's current financial situation. SENATOR STEVENS responded, "You are not recommending any pay down this year then." MR. STEININGER answered no; OMB's recommendation is to meet the statutory actuarial obligation and continue to do so, but not make any lump sum deposits this year. CHAIR COSTELLO asked if he was aware of any opposition to the bill MR. STEININGER answered no. 2:01:28 PM SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON asked him to restate that employees will not be required to make additional contributions. MR. STEININGER answered, "There is no change to the employee experience contribution; there is no additional contribution that any employee will have to make." The bill simply addresses the costs on the state's side. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON asked him to confirm that the retirement contributions for the state and the employees will remain whole MR. STEININGER answered that is correct. 2:02:06 PM SENATOR STEVENS asked him to remind the committee of the share that communities pay currently and if there was potential that a larger share may be required in the future. MR. STEININGER replied that 22 percent is the cap on the share from communities; SB 55 does not seek to change that and there are no plans to change it going forward. The bill only affects the State of Alaska portion. 2:03:01 PM CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony on SB 55; finding none, she closed public testimony on SB 55 and solicited the will of the committee. 2:03:31 PM SENATOR HOLLAND moved to report SB 55, [work order 32-GS1684\A], from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). CHAIR COSTELLO found no objection and SB 55 was reported from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee. 2:03:49 PM At ease 2:05:18 PM CHAIR COSTELLO reconvened the meeting and advised that the committee was waiting for an amendment on SB 9 so it would not be heard today. 2:05:48 PM There being no further business to come before the committee, Chair Costello adjourned the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting at 2:05 p.m.

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 69 Written Testimony Alaska Power Association.pdf HL&C 4/26/2021 3:15:00 PM
SL&C 3/3/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 69
SB 69 List of renewable facilities 2010-2021.pdf HL&C 4/26/2021 3:15:00 PM
SL&C 3/3/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 69
SB 9 Letter of Support MSHF.pdf SFIN 5/3/2021 9:00:00 AM
SL&C 3/3/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 9
SJR 9 v. B.PDF SL&C 3/3/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9
SJR 9 Supporting Document KTOO.pdf SL&C 3/3/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9
SJR 9 Letters of Support.pdf SL&C 3/3/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9