Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/17/1993 09:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS February 17, 1993 9:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chairman Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chairman Senator Robin Taylor Senator Jim Duncan Senator Johnny Ellis MEMBERS ABSENT All Present COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 84 "An Act relating to fees for identification cards and certain motor vehicle licenses and permits; to licenses issued to drivers and to revocation of a license to drive; and providing for an effective date." HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 6 Relating to Armed Forces History Month. SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 19 Requesting the United States Air Force to rename Shemya Air Force Base to Eareckson Air Force Base. 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." SENATE BILL NO. 80 "An Act eliminating, consolidating, changing the membership requirements of, and transferring the duties of various boards, commissions, councils, panels, authorities, corporations, foundations, and similar entities of state government; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 26 "An Act relating to the location of the convening of the legislature in regular session; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 84 - No previous action to record. HCR 6 - No previous action to record. SB 79 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/10/93. SB 80 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/10/93. SB 26 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 1/28/93, 2/4/93, and 2/9/93. WITNESS REGISTER Joshua Fink, Staff Senator Tim Kelly State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 84. Phillip Simon Anchorage Restaurant and Beverage Association 1154 Tonga Anchorage, Alaska 99507 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 84. Don Skewis 1402 Gambel Anchorage, Alaska 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 84. Carol Wilson P.O. Box 104839 Anchorage, Alaska 99510 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 84. Jack Phelps, Staff Representative Pete Kott State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor HCR 6. Kristie Leaf, Deputy Director Boards and Commissions Office of the Governor P.O. Box 110001 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0001 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 79 and SB 80. Terry Lauterbach Legislative Legal Services 130 Seward Street Juneau, Alaska 99801-2105 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 79 and SB 80. Karen Morgan Division of Information Services Department of Administration P.O. Box 110206 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0210 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 80. Dennis DeWitt, Director Division of Pioneers' Benefits P.O. Box 110211 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0211 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 80. Harlan Knudson Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association 319 Seward Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 80. Dale Anderson 9040 Glacier Hwy. Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 26. Christopher Clark P.O. Box 020443 Juneau, Alaska 99801-0443 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 26. Chip Wagoner 3294 Pioneer Ave. Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 26. Joe Poor, Director Juneau Chamber of Commerce 124 W. 5th Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 26. Jim Kohler, Director Southeast Conference 124 W. 5th Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 26. Linda Nissen 9417 Berner's Ave. Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 26. Dan Keck 203 Harbor Dr. Sitka, Alaska 99835 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 26. John Litten Sitka Chamber of Commerce 211 Crabapple Dr. Sitka, Alaska 99835 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 26. Senator Randy Phillips State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 26. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-9, SIDE A Number 001 SENATOR LEMAN called the State Affairs Committee meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. and announced SB 84 REVOKE DRIVER'S LICENSE IF USE FALSE I.D. to be up for consideration. JOSH FINK, aide for Senator Kelly, said this legislation was supported last year by the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Anchorage Health and Human Services Commission, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, the Daily News, CHAR, BARBA, and various PTAs. Putting a hologram over vital information on the license to prevent tampering and putting the words "under 21" on the license are the methods to be used. Number 60 SENATOR LEMAN asked if this was exactly like the bill that passed last year. MR. FINK replied that it is identical except for the periods of revocation for the first offense was 90 days last year and it was brought down to 60 days. The second offense was 12 months, or until you're 21 whichever is longer, in last year's bill and that was changed to 12 months. Number 75 SENATOR TAYLOR did not agree with lowering the penalties. He said in Ketchikan there is a movement to increase the penalty for the person who provides alcohol to a minor from a Class A misdemeanor to a felony, because recently a young man died as a result of obtaining alcohol from someone of legal age. Number 140 PHILLIP SIMON, Anchorage Restaurant and Beverage Association, supported SB 84. He thought it would be a great step forward. He thought the penalties should be strong. Number 160 CAROL WILSON supported SB 84. She thought it was necessary for all communities. Number 170 DON SKEWIS, Anchorage, supported SB 84. He said bar owners do not want to serve children and there are a lot of fake IDs being used. He supported strong penalties. Number 195 SENATOR TAYLOR moved to pass SB 84 from Committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ELLIS objected so he could have time to acquaint himself with the bill. Number 213 SENATOR LEMAN said he would bring SB 84 up again later in the meeting and announced HCR 6 ARMED FORCES HISTORY MONTH to be up for consideration. JACK PHELPS, aide for Representative Kott, said the purpose of the resolution was to commemorate the contribution of the U.S. Armed Services to the growth and development of the great state of Alaska. Number 244 SENATOR ELLIS asked if there would be a requirement to purchase new text books or incur any expense. MR. PHELPS said it would seem unlikely and that is not their intent. Number 282 SENATOR TAYLOR moved to pass HCR 6 from Committee with individual recommendations and asked for unanimous consent. There were no objections and it was so ordered. Number 289 SENATOR LEMAN announced SB 84 REVOKE DRIVER'S LICENSE IF USE FALSE I.D. to be up for consideration again. SENATOR TAYLOR moved to pass SB 84 from Committee with individual recommendation and asked for unanimous consent. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR LEMAN announced SJR 19 NAME SHEMYA AFB EARECKSON AIR FORCE BASE to be up for consideration. SENATOR TAYLOR said this issue came to his attention through Ralph Bartholomew, Mayor, Ketchikan Gateway Borough. He said this is something the military would be doing and he thought it good to show respect and honor to Colonel Eareckson. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the were any costs involved. SENATOR TAYLOR said whatever costs there are accrue to the federal government or the military, but there were none to the state of Alaska. SENATOR ELLIS asked if Shemya Air Force Base is a likely candidate for closure in the future. SENATOR TAYLOR said it was his understanding that this one may receive significant redirection, but it wouldn't be closed, according to Congressman Stephens. Number 347 SENATOR MILLER moved to pass SJR 19 from Committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR LEMAN announced SB 79 BOARDS/COMMISSIONS/ COUNCILS/AUTHORITIES and SB 80 BOARDS/COMMISSIONS/ COUNCILS/AUTHORITIES to be up for consideration. He said changing the sunset dates and an amendment regarding a technical error were the only two things that were different. RANDY WELKER said in the process of splitting the bills, one reference in the repealer section didn't get picked up. Number 370 SENATOR TAYLOR explained that there was a problem with the electrical workers who lost the ability, because of sunseting, to license various administrators. MR. WELKER said these bills are primarily to terminate regulation of electrical administrators by the state. MR. WELKER explained that termination has already occurred. This is simply an effort to clean up the statutes to reflect that. SENATOR TAYLOR said he didn't want to do that, because there were some real important public health and safety concerns we all need to be aware of concerning licensing of these people. He noted that the cold storage in Juneau burned down, because there was improper wiring inside. MR. WELKER said he would check with legal to see what the proper avenue for reestablishing the Board is, but he thought it would take separate legislation from this. Number 424 SENATOR DUNCAN asked what was the rationale for the varying lengths of time for review of various boards. MR. WELDER said there were several elements: one was if they had recently been reviewed under the sunset process, they were put in a later year of the ten year cycle, another was those boards and commissions they typically have no problems with, and boards and commissions that have not had a sunset review, yet, which were put in the earlier years of the review cycle. Number 450 KRISTIE LEAF, Deputy Director, Boards and Commissions, said the Governor's Task Force on Boards and Commissions recommended extensions, except for the Board of Mechanical Examiners. She said those Boards that do charge fees cover the cost of their own operations. They do not support changing the sunset from 4 years to 10 years. They feel that it would establish each Board as a more permanent structure in government which is contrary to current trends. They recommended the Code Revision Commission, the Hazardous Substance Spill Technology Review Council, and Storage Tank Assistance Board not be recommended for extension. The Older Alaskans Commission was recommended to be combined with the Pioneer Home Advisory Board. The Woman's Commission was recommended to be consolidated with two other Boards. SENATOR ELLIS asked if there were any specific recommendations from her Task Force on what was originally called the Cost of Care Review Board. MS. LEAF said SB 80 contained some of the recommendations of the Governor's Task Force. Others were the result of a study by Legislative Budget and Audit. She said they would defer to the Legislature's decisions on which Boards are to be continued or deferred. SENATOR DUNCAN asked why the legislature was not referred to in the case of the Women's Commission and the Children's Commission? MS. LEAF said the Executive Orders are before the legislature now, so they have the opportunity to disapprove them. Number 480 TERRY LAUTERBACH, Legislative Legal Services, said the termination date of the Women's Commission would not automatically apply to the new commission. If and when the Executive Order goes into effect, the legislature would need to amend SB 79 to put the new commission into the sunset cycle. It was not appropriate to do that yet, because the Women's Commission still exists. Number 555 SENATOR ELLIS said he planned to hold the Executive Agency of the Government to a very high standard of coordination on these things, because it seems like every empire is looking out for itself and not looking out for the overall state's interests. He was particularly concerned about tourism development. TAPE 93-9, SIDE B Number 580 MS. LAUTERBACH explained how she drafted the bills. SENATOR TAYLOR reiterated his concern with no examinations for electrical administrators. He said the test was controlled by the IBEW for years and it was grossly mismanaged. The controversy is there and it needs to be monitored. The legislature needs to make a policy call that says public health and safety needs to be considered. He does not favor deleting electrical administrators from the statute. Number 560 SENATOR LEMAN said he understands that it has already happened and the question is, do you want to leave the old statute in even though it's expired. SENATOR TAYLOR said he would be happy to clean it up and deal with it in Judiciary. Number 550 SENATOR TAYLOR moved to adopt Lauterbach amendment #1. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR MILLER moved to adopt amendment #2. SENATOR ELLIS objected. SENATOR LEMAN called for a roll call vote: SENATOR MILLER: No; SENATOR TAYLOR: No; SENATOR ELLIS: No; SENATOR DUNCAN: No; and SENATOR LEMAN: Yes; and the motion failed. SENATOR LEMAN announced amendment #3 to be up for consideration. SENATOR TAYLOR moved to adopt amendment #3. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR TAYLOR moved to discharge CSSB 79 (STA) from Committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR LEMAN said they still had SB 80 before them. Number 515 KAREN MORGAN, Division of Information Services, opposed SB 80, particularly the language regarding Telecommunications Information Council (TIC). What TIC does that previous committees have not been able to do is combine the interests of the executive and legislative branches. They feel oversight is needed because so much money is involved and there is so much that can be done on the state wide level. Number 500 DENNIS DEWITT, Director, Division of Pioneer Benefits, said they opposed Sections 24, 25, 26, and the repealer portion of Section 36 which combines the Pioneer Advisory Board with the Older Alaskans Commission. Combining the two would increase the cost of running the Commission. He thought it was important to keep the two Boards because of the expertise they offer in the process of reorganization. HARLAN KNUDSON, Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, opposed Section 31 which removes the Medicaid Rate Commission. The Board is a good place to figure out rate changes and it is merely advisory. The Department still makes the decision, but it does allow the industry a chance to negotiate. Also, the repealers in the back look like they are repealing all the staff of the Medicaid Rate Commission. That is where the savings would be, but he thought the staff was essential. Number 440 SENATOR LEMAN said he would hold SB 80 until Friday. SENATOR LEMAN announced SB 26 LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS TO BE IN ANCHORAGE to be up for consideration. Number 420 DALE ANDERSON, Juneau, opposed SB 26 and said that jobs in Juneau is the issue. Talking about SB 26 is talking about the very survival of his community, he said. It would cut the economy here to the quick. It would eliminate hundreds, if not thousands of jobs in Juneau. This "capitol move bill" is insidious, because it will only elevate the divisive factions across our state. We should be working on legislation that secures basic needs and services for all Alaskans. We should be turning our backs on bill such as this that diverts precious dollars from public policy away from making sure we have the key essentials that government is responsible to provide. He asked if this issue was important enough to split the state again. Is it important enough to place his community on the chopping block? Is voting politically correct more important that voting the way your conscience dictates? He asked them to vote as statesmen, not just politicians. SENATOR MILLER said one of the biggest complaints he heard from his constituents was lack of access. He asked what suggestions he had to improve access. MR. ANDERSON said the numbers of state jobs has increased much more in the Anchorage area than in Juneau. Number 282 CHRISTOPHER CLARK, Juneau resident, said we could use a road out of here. Maybe now is the time to do it. He said we have the technology to access people everywhere. People don't have to be in the room in order to voice their opinion. He said this city's economic base is government even though it is diversifying with mining and tourism. He didn't see how moving the legislature would solve any problems the state is facing. He said the technology is there to reach you anywhere you are in the state as long as you want to be reached. He said housing is a problem that needs to be addressed, but moving the legislature is not the answer. He said the future of the state does not depend on moving the legislature to Anchorage. It depends on more people in his age group (30) moving into the state and creating tax bases and supporting the state and getting involved with the community. He concluded by saying we need to work with what we have instead of moving the economic base from one part of the state to another and hurting another part of the state. CHIP WAGONER, Juneau, said no matter what moral compass you have inside of you, this bill is wrong. If there was truly an access problem, there is a lot we can be doing. He said it would be a lot cheaper to solve the access problem through telecommunications. MR. WAGONER said it not fair to all concerned. It would have a devastating impact on us whereas if it moves to Anchorage, people will yawn. This bill does not promote good will and better friendships. This is a mean bill. It tears this community apart; it tears the state apart. This bill is not beneficial to all concerned. The benefit of moving it to southcentral would be marginal compared to the effect down here. Number 140 JOE POOR, Director, Juneau Chamber of Commerce, opposed SB 26 because it poses additional threats to our local economy. After the announcement of the closing of Greenscreek, Juneau does not need another threat to the local economy. According to the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska, state spending is responsible for 46% of all economic activity in the Southeast region. It also projects a decline in state revenues based on declining oil production. Anchorage has 3,500 more state workers than currently employed in Juneau. Perhaps Anchorage is worried about closure of their military bases under the Clinton administration and is willing to devastate another Alaskan community for their own gain. He questioned the validity of the fiscal notes attached to this bill. He suggested accurate assessments be made prior to any further discussions on this bill. Alaskan communities need to work together if the projected decline in oil revenues becomes a reality. With the telecommunications technology we have, it is not necessary for our legislature to be centrally located. Effective later this year, the Federal Aviation Administration will be installing a Global Positioning System (GPS) at the airport which will increase the number of successful approaches to Juneau by as much as 95%. This will be the first installation for commercial purposes in the United States. The US Air Force has been using this technology since 1971. Southeast Alaska may be further impacted by the restructuring within the National Guard. This could mean a loss of about 50% of the Guardsmen in Southeast and having them redeployed in the Anchorage and Fairbanks area. SENATOR MILLER asked if GPS is old technology, why are we just now getting around to using it? MR. POOR said it was relegated to the armed services and it has just become available commercially. TAPE 93-10, SIDE A Number 001 JIM KOHLER, Director, Southeast Conference, said the issue of access is important. He said if we are truly concerned about making the legislative and administrative branchs of our government more accessible to all the people in the state, it is important to realize that specific activities are under way to alleviate this with telecommunications, road access, etc. He volunteered to bringing a fiscal note that shows the access issues could be dealt with effectively for much less than this particular piece of legislation would cost. He urged that we work at making Alaska a truly unified strong state and address the real problems that are facing this state, for instance the statewide economy and diversification. He said Greens Creek might not have closed if over the last several years we, as a state, had invested some energy into identifying and pursuing the construction of a smelter activity that could handle base metals within our own state. This would not only have kept Greens Creek here, but it would have increased mineral type activities. Number 115 LINDA NISSEN, Juneau resident, said that Juneau is the hub of Southeast Alaska. It sparkles. What draws people to Juneau is the legislature. Anchorage has other industries. If the legislature leaves, Juneau is lost. Number 170 DAN KECK, Sitka, said it is not the legislature's purpose to create an economic base for any community. It is to make laws for the people of Alaska. He didn't think they could do this job any better in Anchorage. He pointed out that they would not be very effective in Anchorage when all the support agencies were still headquartered in Juneau. He thought if they really wanted to move the capital that it should go back to Sitka where it originated. Number 199 JOHN LITTEN, Sitka Chamber of Commerce, opposed SB 26. If you move the legislature from Juneau, you can't imagine how that would affect Sitka, he commented. He pointed out that Alaska Airlines now connects with Boise, Idaho and Spokane, Washington. Southeast Alaska can support jet service. The legislature is one of the major reasons why Alaska Airlines flies to Southeast Alaska. He did not want to see transportation go backwards, because it is essential to all Southeast communities. MR. LITTEN said if you look at any other capitals in any other state, they are in more remote areas where you can be more focused and have better productivity. SENATOR MILLER said in the past that Juneau had more of a willingness to work with Seattle than with Anchorage. He used the time difference issue as an example when Juneau wanted to stay on the same time as Seattle instead of aligning with Anchorage. He wanted to see more willingness from Juneau to work with the rest of the state. Number 260 SENATOR DUNCAN said he had a list of people to address Senator Miller's concerns. SENATOR LEMAN said they would hold the bill in Committee until Friday when they would receive more testimony. SENATOR PHILLIPS said the vast majority, 80%, of his constituents support moving the legislature to Anchorage. The big problem is access. He said one of the reasons he ran for office is to have better access to his constituents. He said half the legislators live within 25 miles of the Anchorage area. He agreed with the concerns on the fiscal note. He believed the Senate Finance Committee would look at them closely. He said the audio and visual teleconference, if it is a good thing, should work very well with state government communicating with his constituents. He said this is a bill to move only the legislature, not the capital. Road access to Juneau he said would help, but you would still have to drive 800 miles. Even if you have a road, you're only saving a couple of hours. He said access to his constituents is the real concern. Number 349 SENATOR LEMAN said the Committee will hold SB 26 for further testimony on Friday and adjourned the meeting at 11:02 a.m.