Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/10/1993 09:10 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE February 10, 1993 9:10 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chairman Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chairman Senator Robin Taylor Senator Jim Duncan Senator Johnny Ellis MEMBERS ABSENT None COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 24 am Relating to the shortage of adequate housing for military personnel and their dependents, directing the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and certain municipalities to develop a joint program for improving the inventory of housing for those personnel, and urging the governor, the commissioner of natural resources and local officials to identify public land that might be made available for that housing. SENATE BILL NO. 56 "An Act relating to the budget reserve fund established under art. IX, sec. 17, Constitution of the State of Alaska." SENATE BILL NO. 18 "An Act making an appropriation for a grant to the Municipality of Anchorage for renovation and addition to West Anchorage High School; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 79 "An Act setting termination dates for various boards, commissions, councils, agencies, committees, and divisions of state government; repealing obsolete statutes relating to the State Fire Commission and the Board of Electrical Examiners; repealing obsolete statutes relating to termination of agency programs and activities; increasing to 10 years the normal maximum interval for review of boards, commissions, and other entities that are subject to sunset reviews; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HJR 24 - No previous action to record. SB 56 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/3/93. SB 18 - No previous action to record. SB 79 - No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Eldon Mulder State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of HJR 24 Representative Kay Brown State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on CSSB 56 (STA) and SB 79 & SB 80 Senator Randy Phillips State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Testifed in support of CSSB 56 (STA) Senator Judy Salo State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of SJR 14 Gary Bader Division of Administrative Services Department of Education 801 W. 10th St., Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801-1894 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to CSSB 18 (STA) Randy Welker, Legislative Auditor Division of Legislative Audit P.O. Box 113300 Juneau, AK 99811-3300 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 79 & SB 80 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-8, SIDE A Number 001 Chairman Leman called the Senate Affairs Committee meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. SENATOR LEMAN introduced HJR 24 am (MILITARY HOUSING SHORTAGE) as the first order of business. REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER, prime sponsor of HJR 24, explained the purpose of the resolution is to address the housing shortage in relation to the military needs within the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas. The Base Relocation and Closure Commission (BRAC) is currently evaluating the various bases throughout the country for additional closure and consolidation and Alaska's bases are on that list. One of the criteria for closure includes the ability of both the existing and receiving communities infrastructures to support forces, missions and personnel. U.S. Senator Ted Stevens has pointed out that it is the only area or facet of Alaska's bases that is deficient. Representative Mulder said HJR 24 directs AHFC, in cooperation with the Municipality of Anchorage, the Matanuska Susitna Borough and the Fairbanks North Star Borough, to develop or recommend a self-sustaining program to provide suitable housing for military personnel and their dependents, and then to come back to the legislature next year with that plan. Number 070 SENATOR TAYLOR asked who will own these houses if they are built. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER answered the proposal is to develop a program, and it is envisioned that they would be privately owned, but they would be leased back to the military. This is a new approach that has never been tried before, and Senator Stevens believes it can be effective. Number 090 SENATOR ELLIS related that he was contacted by a constituent who told him that there are a number of landlords who claim there are numerous units available in their districts. People would like AHFC to perhaps assist them in fixing up these existing units to make them "suitable" for housing the military. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded that it is not envisioned that this program would actually be implemented until such time as the military is committed to staying in Alaska. He added that he would hope that the program would encompass renovation of older units. Number 175 SENATOR MILLER pointed out that a copy of the resolution should also be sent to the mayor of North Pole. SENATOR ELLIS requested that the resolution be held until later in the meeting so that he could prepare some language relating to existing landlords and existing housing. SENATOR LEMAN stated HJR 24 am would be held until later in the meeting. Number 225 SENATOR LEMAN introduced SB 56 (ADMINISTRATION OF BUDGET RESERVE FUND) as the next order of business. REPRESENTATIVE BROWN outlined the following changes made in a new draft committee substitute (8-LS0453\O) that was before the committee for its consideration: 1) An effective date is added to the title. 2) On page 1, lines 10 and 13, the six months language that appeared in prior draft has been removed and it now reads: "money received after an informal conference or after a request for a formal hearing has been received by the state the money would be deemed disputed and would go into the Constitutional Budget Reserve." 3) On page 2, line 7, a new sentence has been added to ensure that what is looked at for the purpose of determining what is available, the comparable sources from the prior year are looked as well. 4) On page 2, line 13, the words "federal funds" have been added and on page 2, line 14 the words "or money held in trust for a particular purpose." It now reads that money available for appropriation does not include "federal funds" the earnings reserve, "or money held for a particular purpose." 5) On page 2, line 20, the Department of Administration would be the entity transferring the money, rather than the Department of Revenue as in the prior draft. 6) On page 2, line 24, the transfer date has been changed from November 15 to December 16. 7) Sections 2 and 3, which deal with the effective date, are new. Representative Brown pointed out that the Section 2 application section states that Section 1 would apply to taxes received after June 30, together with penalties and interest. However, the legislative counsel has advised the legislature cannot in a piece of statute assure that a court might not reach a different result should this issue ever be litigated. She said after having talked to other members about it and recognizing the situation with the current budget year, she believes the bill will stand a better chance of passage if it contains an application provision. SENATOR MILLER moved that CSSB 56 (STA) referenced as 8- LS0453\O be adopted in lieu of the committee substitute adopted by the committee on 2/3/93. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS, Chairman of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, said he has looked at the committee substitute and that he has no problems with it. SENATOR TAYLOR stated that he believes that by passing this into statute law, it does a great deal more to establish what the legislature's original intent was of the proposition that was placed before the people. Number 300 SENATOR LEMAN asked for the will of the committee. SENATOR MILLER moved that CSSB 56 (STA) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. SENATOR LEMAN introduced SJR 14 (LINE ITEM VETO FOR U.S. PRESIDENT) as the next order of business. SENATOR JUDY SALO, prime sponsor of SJR 14, said one of the most pressing problems in this nation as we enter the 21st Century is the amount of the national debt. Although the presidential line-item veto would not solve the problem, it would be one tool that could be used to impede pork barrel type appropriations. While Congress has dealt with several measures in recent history which would give the President line-item veto control, there hasn't been enough internal motivation to pass this measure. Senator Salo said SJR 14 encourages Congress to establish line-item veto power for the President. SENATOR LEMAN noted that Presidents Reagan and Bush had asked for this power for 12 years, and he expressed his hope that with President Clinton calling for the same, that Democrats in Congress would now find this issue "politically correct" and support it. Number 340 SENATOR LEMAN asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR MILLER moved that SJR 14 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 370 SENATOR LEMAN introduced SB 18 (APPR: WEST ANCHORAGE HIGH SCHOOL) as the next order of business. SENATOR ELLIS, prime sponsor of SB 18, explained the legislation appropriates approximately $26 million on repair and renovation, life safety and other concerns at West Anchorage High School. He related that when he toured the facility last year, he was shocked to see the shape it was in. Senator Ellis said he is fully aware that the legislation is not likely to pass from Senate Finance to the floor in its current form. However, he and the Chair are working together to gain a profile for this project to allow the parents, staff and students to make their case through the legislative process. He said he's hopeful that it will pass on to the Finance Committee where it could be rolled into other measures. SENATOR LEMAN noted a work session on SB 18 scheduled for Saturday, February 13. He then directed attention to a proposed committee substitute which will add $9,050,000 for Romig Junior High School, which is the adjoining junior high school that feeds West High School. He said the purpose for this is to broaden the scope of discussion on Saturday. SENATOR TAYLOR questioned if the $25,896,000 was just for repairs at West Anchorage High School. SENATOR ELLIS acknowledged that was correct and that it was for Phase I and Phase II of the project. Number 445 SENATOR ELLIS moved that CSSB 18 (STA) be adopted. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. GARY BADER, Division of Administrative Services, Department of Education, said the department is aware that there is a statewide need for school construction, and the Governor has proposed a plan which the department hopes the legislature will seriously consider. He said the department is in opposition to SB 18 because it favors a comprehensive approach over a piecemeal approach. He clarified that they are not in opposition to the project. SENATOR LEMAN stated CSSB 18 (STA) would be held in committee and reminded members that the meeting in Anchorage on Saturday would be a work session, not a formal meeting. Number 480 SENATOR LEMAN brought HJR 24 am (MILITARY HOUSING SHORTAGE) back before the committee. SENATOR ELLIS moved that on page 2, line 26, after the word "programs" add "including upgrades to existing available housing." Hearing no objection, the Chair stated the amendment was adopted and would be incorporated into a State Affairs SCS. SENATOR MILLER moved that on page 3, line 13, add that a copy of the resolution be sent to the Honorable Luke Cunningham, Mayor of the City of North Pole." Hearing no objection, the amendment was adopted. SENATOR TAYLOR moved that SCS HJR 24 (STA) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 520 S E N A T O R L E M A N i n t r o d u c e d S B 7 9 (BOARDS/COMMISSIONS/COUNCILS/AUTHORITIES) and SB 80 (BOARDS/COMMISSIONS/COUNCILS/AUTHORITIES) as the final order of business. RANDY WELKER, Legislative Audit Division, explained SB 79 addresses the sunset legislation which has been on Alaska's books since 1977. The legislature adopted sunset laws in 1977 top review the operations and functions of a variety of boards and commissions. Since 1977, over 100 sunset reviews have been conducted on various boards and commissions, and significant improvements have been made in the accountability and operation of those boards. Mr. Welker noted that Alaska's review cycle of four years is the shortest of any state. The average review cycle is eight years and goes as high as 13 years in some states. The Legislatiave Audit Division is recommending that Alaska's cycle be amended to a 10-year sunset cycle. This would provide several advantages: (1) it would lessen the demand on audit resources; (2) there would be less legislative time devoted to continuous introduction of bills and hearings and testimony on various boards; (3) there would be less strain on board membership over the issues of sunset; and (4) less time would be devoted by the Department of Commerce & Economic Development to the sunset process. Responding to a question from Senator Taylor, Mr. Welker noted that there are several boards that they found through a review of statutes and other sources of information that are inactive and have been for a long time. These boards are being repealed in SB 80. SENATOR ELLIS asked what effect this legislation has on the Citizen's Review Panel for Permanency Planning. RANDY WELKER answered that SB 79 does not address it, however, it is repealed in SB 80 because it has been relatively inactive since its adoption by the legislature, primarily by choice of the Administration by not funding it. SENATOR ELLIS stated his strong opposition to deleting that particular panel. TAPE 93-8, SIDE B Number 010 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS pointed out that the list of boards being repealed in SB 80 were recommendations from last year's Legislative Budget & Audit Committee, and that the bill has several committees of referral so that it can get full consideration. He added that he shared Senators Ellis' concern with that particular board. RANDY WELKER clarified that the audit division's purpose in going through the statutes and preparing their report was to identify those boards that appeared not to have any activity. Part of the recommendations in the division's report and in the legislation are the result of the Governor's Task Force on Boards and Commissions. Number 075 Representative Brown stated that she does not believe the recommendation to eliminate the Telecommunications Information Council is adequately justified in the Governor's task force report, and that she does not see anything in there that rationalizes why they want to get rid of it. She said while the telecommunications council has had its problems in the past, it is doing a good job presently. She urged that the committee delete reference to that council from the bill and that it be allowed to continue its work. Number 095 SENATOR LEMAN stated SB 79 and SB 80 would be back before the committee at the Wednesday, February 17 meeting at which time he hopes to move them from committee. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 10:06 a.m.