Legislature(2001 - 2002)

05/01/2002 10:40 AM RLS

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                     SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                           May 1, 2002                                                                                          
                           10:40 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Randy Phillips, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Rick Halford                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 181                                                                                                             
"An Act  making the interest rate  for the Alaska  Housing Finance                                                              
Corporation's small  community housing mortgage loans  the same as                                                              
the  interest   rate  on  mortgage   loans  purchased   under  the                                                              
corporation's  special  mortgage loan  purchase  program from  the                                                              
proceeds  of the  most recent  applicable issue  of taxable  bonds                                                              
before the origination or purchase  of the small community housing                                                              
mortgage loans."                                                                                                                
     APPROVED FOR CALENDARING                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 364                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to medical  services under  the state  Medicaid                                                              
program."                                                                                                                       
     APPROVED FOR CALENDARING                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 281(JUD)                                                                                                  
"An  Act  relating  to civil  liability  for  providing  alcoholic                                                              
beverages to a person under 21 years  of age; and providing for an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
     APPROVED FOR CALENDARING                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 331(STA)                                                                                                  
"An  Act relating  to  appointment of  persons  to positions  that                                                              
require  confirmation by  the legislature;  and  providing for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
     APPROVED FOR CALENDARING                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 402(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An  Act relating  to  diversion  payments, wage  subsidies,  cash                                                              
assistance,  and self-  sufficiency  services  provided under  the                                                              
Alaska temporary  assistance program;  relating to the  food stamp                                                              
program; relating to child support  cases that include persons who                                                              
receive  cash assistance  or self-sufficiency  services under  the                                                              
Alaska  temporary   assistance  program;  and  providing   for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
     APPROVED FOR CALENDARING                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 462(RES)                                                                                                  
"An Act  relating to the  release of certain confidential  records                                                              
and reports concerning  fishing, fish buying, or  fish processing;                                                              
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
     APPROVED FOR CALENDARING                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 23                                                                                              
Proposing  amendments  to Uniform  Rule  20  of the  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature;  and   providing  for  an  effective   date  for  the                                                              
amendments.                                                                                                                     
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB 181 - See Finance Report dated 4/24/02.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SB 364 - See Finance minutes dated 4/24/02.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB  281  -  See Labor  and  Commerce  minutes  dated  3/21/02  and                                                              
Judiciary minutes from 4/24/02.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 331 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/21/02 and 4/2/02.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 402 - See HES minutes dated 4/10/02 and Finance Report dated                                                                 
4/25/02.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 462 - See Resources minutes dated 4/24/02.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Katrina Matheny                                                                                                             
Staff to Representative Gary Stevens                                                                                            
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified for the sponsor of HB 462                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Karen McCarthy                                                                                                              
Staff to Representative Bunde                                                                                                   
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified for the sponsor of HCR 23                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
Mr. Tom Wright                                                                                                                  
Staff to Representative Porter                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions related to HCR 23                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
Ms. Amy Erickson                                                                                                                
Staff to Representative Murkowski                                                                                               
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:   Requested that  HB 262 be held  in committee                                                            
24 hours.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 02-11, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN RANDY PHILLIPS called the  Senate Rules Committee meeting                                                            
to order at  10:40 a.m. Senators Cowdery, Therriault  and Phillips                                                              
were present.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD moved to calendar  at the Chairman's discretion SB                                                          
181-SMALL  COMMUNITY HOUSING  LOANS with  its accompanying  fiscal                                                          
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS announced  that with  no objection, the  motion                                                              
carried.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD moved to calendar  at the Chairman's discretion SB                                                          
364-MEDICAID PAYMENTS FOR ABORTIONS and its zero fiscal note.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS announced  that with  no objection, the  motion                                                              
carried.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD moved to calendar  at the Chairman's discretion HB                                                          
281-CIVIL  LIABILITY FOR  PROVIDING ALCOHOL  and its  accompanying                                                          
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS announced  that with  no objection, the  motion                                                              
carried.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD moved to calendar  at the Chairman's discretion HB                                                          
331-PRESENTMENT  OF  GOVERNOR'S APPOINTEES  and  its  accompanying                                                          
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS announced  that with  no objection, the  motion                                                              
carried.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD moved to calendar  at the Chairman's discretion HB                                                          
402-ALASKA  TEMPORARY  ASSISTANCE  PROGRAM  and  its  accompanying                                                          
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS announced  that with  no objection, the  motion                                                              
carried.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS  announced the committee  would take up  HB 462-                                                          
CONFIDENTIALITY OF FISHING RECORDS.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KATRINA  MATHENY,  staff  to   Representative  Gary  Stevens,                                                              
explained  that  HB 462  was  introduced  to provide  some  needed                                                              
changes  to   the  confidentiality   provisions  for   information                                                              
submitted  to the  Department of  Fish  and Game  and the  Limited                                                              
Entry Commission. HB 462:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   · Clarifies that reports submitted by the catcher exporters                                                                  
     are included;                                                                                                              
   · Provides that certain information held as confidential may                                                                 
     be released back to the entity that is the subject of the                                                                  
     information;                                                                                                               
   · Provides that certain confidential information be provided                                                                 
     to third parties at the request of the entity that is the                                                                  
     subject of the information;                                                                                                
   · Adds salt water charter logbooks to information that is                                                                    
     available to the Department of Public Safety; and                                                                          
   · Provides that Commercial Operators Annual Reports (COAR) are                                                               
     available to the Department of Public Safety and to                                                                        
     enforcement personnel of the National Marine Fisheries                                                                     
     Service and NOAA.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS  asked what committee referrals the  bill had in                                                              
the Senate.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MATHENY said it was heard by the Senate Resources Committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HALFORD moved  to  approve HB  462  and its  accompanying                                                              
fiscal notes for calendaring with individual recommendations.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection,  CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS  noted the  motion                                                              
carried.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS  announced the committee  would take up  HCR 23-                                                          
LEGISLATIVE  COMMITTEES: SPLIT  HOUSE HESS.  He noted that  Senate                                                          
members have a lot of questions about  this bill so his plan is to                                                              
hold it in committee until those questions are answered.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if the House Majority  Caucus instructed                                                              
Representative Bunde  to introduce this measure or  whether it was                                                              
his idea.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KAREN  MCCARTY,  staff  to   Representative  Bunde,  informed                                                              
members that Representative Guess  first sponsored a resolution to                                                              
split  the committee.  The House  Special  Committee on  Education                                                              
supported the  idea and  introduced HCR  23. The House  discussion                                                              
centered  on the  fact  that education  is  a core  constitutional                                                              
mandate  and,  aside from  permanent  fund  dividends,  it is  the                                                              
highest  expense  of  state  government.  The House  felt  that  a                                                              
standing committee  on education would allow legislators  to focus                                                              
on the  topic more than is  currently possible. Because  the House                                                              
recognized that  the Senate might  not be interested in  doing the                                                              
same, it  structured  the resolution  so as not  to affect  Senate                                                              
committee  structure.  Tam Cook,  legal  counsel,  found no  legal                                                              
requirement for image committees in the House and Senate.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked what is broken  and whether another standing                                                              
committee will require extra work and more personnel.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MCCARTY  said  she  doesn't  know  that  House  members  felt                                                              
something  was broken  but they did  feel the  situation could  be                                                              
improved. Representative  Bunde stated that from his  six years of                                                              
experience  chairing  House  HESS,  and  two  years  chairing  the                                                              
Special Committee on Education, a  standing committee on education                                                              
would be very beneficial. The Legislative  Affairs Agency prepared                                                              
a zero fiscal  note, indicating that no additional  staff would be                                                              
required. In looking through the  bills that have been referred to                                                              
both the House HESS Committee and  Special Committee on Education,                                                              
there  does not  appear to  have been  any overlap  of health  and                                                              
social services  issues and education  issues during the  past two                                                              
years.  She  said  she  believes   that  creation  of  a  standing                                                              
committee will require less work  on the part of the Department of                                                              
Education and Early Development (DOEED).                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked  how many members serve on  the two existing                                                              
committees.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCARTY said seven on each, although  three members are common                                                              
to both committees.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HALFORD  said  during  the  time he  has  served  in  the                                                              
legislature,  three  or  four  proposals  have come  up  to  split                                                              
committees: splitting  the Resources Committee into  renewable and                                                              
non-renewable resource  committees; splitting the  HESS committee;                                                              
and  splitting  the  Finance  Committee   into  an  appropriations                                                              
committee  and a  ways and  means  committee. He  said what  makes                                                              
sense for a 40 member House does  not necessarily make sense for a                                                              
20  member Senate.  What has  kept it  from happening  is not  the                                                              
legal issue,  but the  attitude that  the public understanding  of                                                              
the process benefits by having similar  structures in both bodies.                                                              
He advised Ms.  McCarty that the House needs a  strong argument to                                                              
change that attitude.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD  acknowledged that the House, as  an organization,                                                              
always needs  more committees  and creates  special committees  to                                                              
"fill  in  the number  of  people  it  is  trying  to keep  in  an                                                              
organization." The  Senate always has too many  committees so that                                                              
Finance Committee  members must chair a standing  committee or, at                                                              
times, one  Senator chairs  more than  one standing committee.  He                                                              
said the  request to split a  committee is not  unreasonable given                                                              
the  operating structure  of the  House,  but the  question is  do                                                              
legislators want  to change the  Uniform Rule that  designates the                                                              
same  standing  committees  in  both  bodies.  He  suggested  that                                                              
another way  to get  the same result  is to add,  in Section  1, a                                                              
specific provision so that by resolution,  either body could split                                                              
a committee for a session.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if  the two  committees would  share the                                                              
same committee room.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MCCARTY said  that  could occur.  This  session, the  Special                                                              
Committee on Education  met in the House Judiciary  Committee room                                                              
in  the  morning  and  then used  the  House  Finance  room  after                                                              
subcommittees finished their work.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  said he agrees  with Senator Halford  that the                                                              
House needs more committees but it  has taken care of that problem                                                              
by creating  special committees  over the  years or by  appointing                                                              
co-chairs.  He  pointed out that by using co-chairs,  the workload                                                              
is split and the  committee can meet at the same  time in the same                                                              
place on  different days.  He expressed concern  that HCR  23 will                                                              
not work down the line because of the need for dedicated space.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCARTY  said there has  not been a  lot of discussion  in the                                                              
House about  the logistical  details; however,  the operations  of                                                              
the special committee  have worked smoothly so she  sees no reason                                                              
that  the operations  of a  standing  committee would  not be  the                                                              
same.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if education-related  legislation is only                                                              
referred to the  Special Committee on Education  and by-passes the                                                              
House HESS Committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCARTY said  quite a few bills received a  double referral to                                                              
both the House HESS Committee and  Special Committee on Education.                                                              
The House HESS  Committee had 42 education-related  bills referred                                                              
to  it,  most  of those  were  previously  heard  in  the  special                                                              
committee.  Her  understanding,  from  Mr.  Wright,  is  that  all                                                              
education-related   legislation,   except  bonding   issues,   was                                                              
referred to both.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS asked,  if  the bills  moved  from the  Special                                                              
Committee on  Education to  the House HESS  Committee, how  HCR 23                                                              
will  improve anything.  He said  he has  a saying,  "If it  ain't                                                              
broke, don't fix it," and is trying  to understand how HCR 23 will                                                              
improve anything.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCARTY said one of the benefits,  if HCR 23 passes, will be a                                                              
more  efficient use  of  time because  legislation  will not  need                                                              
double committee referrals.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS  maintained that Ms.  McCarty said that  many of                                                              
the education-related  bills were referred to both  committees. He                                                              
then asked  if those bills will be  referred to only one  of those                                                              
committees if HCR 23 passes.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCARTY said that is correct.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked why that is not done now.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOM  WRIGHT, staff  to Representative  Porter, Speaker  of the                                                              
House, explained  that every bill  needs a referral to  a standing                                                              
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if most  of the bills that got the double                                                              
referral were referred to other standing committees.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WRIGHT said  those that  needed an  additional referral  were                                                              
given one -  it depended on the  content of the bill.  However, if                                                              
the  bill needed  no other  referrals,  it was  referred to  House                                                              
HESS.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS noted  that all bills must go  through the Rules                                                              
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGHT  said that  is correct  but the  House has a  different                                                              
Rules process.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS announced the committee would take up HB 262.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN   PHILLIPS  asked   Ms.   Erickson  what   Representative                                                              
Murkowski  would like the  committee to  do in  regard to  HB 262-                                                          
BUILDING SAFETY ACCOUNT.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  AMY  ERICKSON,  staff  to  Representative   Murkowski,  asked                                                              
members  to  hold the  bill  another  day to  give  Representative                                                              
Murkowski a chance to discuss the matter with her caucus.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS agreed.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  further business  to come  before the  committee,                                                              
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS adjourned the meeting at 10:58 a.m.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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