Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/19/1993 09:03 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE February 19, 1993 9:03 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 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." 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. 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." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 26 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 1/28/93, 2/4/93, 2/9/93 and State Affairs minutes dated 2/17/93. SB 18 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/10/93. SB 80 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/10/93, 2/17/93. WITNESS REGISTER Paul Bowers, Airport Manager Juneau International Airport Juneau, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Presentation on DGPS Tom Jensen, District Manager, Customer Services Alascom, Inc. 8745 Glacier Highway Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed video teleconferencing Hugh Malone 2517 David St. Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 26 Jim Kohler 124 W. 5th St. Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed T.V. coverage of legislature Jamie Parsons, Mayor City & Borough of Juneau 155 S. Seward St. Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed access to Juneau Joe Poor, Executive Director Juneau Chamber of Commerce 124 W. 5th St. Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed access to Juneau ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-11, SIDE A Number 001 The meeting of the Senate Affairs Committee was called to order by Chairman Loren Leman at 9:03 a.m. SENATOR LEMAN brought SB 26 (LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS TO BE IN ANCHORAGE) before the committee as the first order of business. SENATOR DUNCAN noted that at a previous hearing, Senator Miller brought up the the question of of what Juneau is doing about access, and he believes it is a question worth considering and seeing what can be done or what has been done. He said he was confident that the City of Juneau has done everything in its power to help try to improve access. Senator Duncan said several witnesses were waiting to testify before the committee on what is being done to improve access to the capital city. Number 060 PAUL BOWERS, Airport Manager, Juneau International Airport, using slides and a FAA film, made a presentation on Project Juneau, which is a differential global positioning system (DGPS) operational demonstration for an FAA approved approach and departure procedure at Juneau. Currently, there has to be a 1,000 foot ceiling with two- mile horizontal visibility for air carrier landings. The DGPS goal is to reduce it to less than a 400 foot ceiling with a half mile visibility. Probably more significant is that it will change the missed approach point to a missed approach procedure relative to terrain. The goal for this would be to reduce the weather induced missed approaches by a minimum of 70 percent, and the likelihood is that it will be about 95 percent. Mr. Bowers pointed out that the internal cost to Alaska Airlines due to missed approaches is approximately $10,000 per missed approach. The system will not only improve the weather dependency to the airport, but it will reduce costs associated with operating there. The FAA has recently approved a pilot project of the DGPS for Juneau. It will be a $730,000 project fully funded out of the FAA satellite program and is scheduled for installation this summer. It will be installed on a Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft, and data will be collected for a six to twelve month period. Mr. Bowers said at the end of that trial period, which begins in September, they anticipate the program to be approved for an operational procedure to go in and out of Juneau. Number 448 SENATOR TAYLOR spoke to a lack of repeaters in the state, particularly in Southeastern Alaska. He said because of the lack of repeaters there are many blank areas, and if a pilot gets into trouble and calls out a Mayday, chances are very likely that he will not be heard by anyone. He asked when that problem going to be fixed so that people aren't dying in Southeast Alaska because they can't be heard. PAUL BOWERS answered that he could not answer that question, but he would pass Senator Taylor's concern on to the FAA. Number 540 TOM JENSEN, District Manager for Customer Service for Alascom in Southeast Alaska, read into the record a letter from Mr. Ownby, Vice President of Alascom, offering to demonstrate Alascom's video teleconferencing, which could serve as a cost-effective way to increase public access to the legislative process. The purpose of the demonstration would be to show how the standard feature of media teleconferencing could serve the legislature and the public as useful and flexible tools. Mr. Jensen distributed a PR brochure showing the product used by Alascom in their demonstrations in Southeast Alaska. He then outlined the various features of the video teleconferencing unit. TAPE 93-11, SIDE B Number 010 SENATOR PHILLIPS pointed out that his bill addresses moving the legislature from Juneau to Anchorage, and he asked what hindrance did Mr. Jensen see if the state agency divisions or commissioners use this system from Juneau in communicating with the legislature in Anchorage. TOM JENSEN responded that the technology is such that is it not personal face to face, but they can still exchange documents, however, the cost may be of some concern. He did point out that if an individual does not have to travel back and forth to attend meetings, it does save time and money. SENATOR DUNCAN commented that it is not necessary to spend money to move the legislature and disrupt communities and people's lives because access is available on a face to face basis with video teleconferencing. He encouraged the Chair to consider video teleconferencing a future committee meeting. Number 075 HUGH MALONE said he was appearing before the committee as a person who is concerned about the dramatic, perhaps traumatic effects that SB 26 would have on government in Alaska. He believes if the legislation were enacted, a realistic analysis could only show that the legislation will result in a defacto capital move. Mr. Malone said as a member of the legislature for 12 years and four years as commissioner of the Department of Revenue, he has a perspective of how those branches work together from both sides. He then described the interaction between the two branches, saying it was important to recognize that the bureaucrats play a role that is integral to the legislative process. That role is different in degree and in kind from the role that the public carries out in the legislative process. Mr. Malone also spoke to the importance of departments and agencies providing continuous budget information to the legislature throughout the whole appropriations process. Mr. Malone said if the legislature were to move it would create a separation of government that would increase costs and cause delays in decision making and an eventual migration of offices, followed by moving key staff. The state would end up having a "winter capital" in Anchorage and a "summer capital" in Juneau. Number 265 SENATOR DUNCAN asked in his experience as a commissioner, how often did he interact with the legislature. HUGH MALONE responded that probably about half of the time during the session there was some presence at the legislature on his part and some of it is delegated to deputies or to legislative liaisons. Mr. Malone added that he was testifying on his own time to share his perspectives with the committee based on his experience. He also noted that he has been doing some work on a fiscal note analysis with Clark Gruening who is the lobbyist for the City and Borough of Juneau. Number 315 JIM KOHLER, a Juneau resident and Director of the Southeast Conference, raised the question of just how accessible the legislature wants to be. He said there are different degrees of access, and if it is the ultimate goal that the legislature becomes as accessible as possible to all that elect them, it is certainly a goal more primary than the issue that SB 26 speaks to directly. To that end, he said it would be possible, without a direct expenditure of dollars by the legislative body, to provide statewide live coverage of floor sessions, selected committee sessions across the entire 120-day period that the legislature in session. It would be possible to provide it on the basis of paid commercial sponsorships, no more than perhaps five minutes worth every hour. However, it would need the legislative body to say it wants to move towards that, and he said he would be happy to work with legislators to try to achieve that particular result. Number 465 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS pointed out that he had sent out a questionnaire and that over 80 percent of the people in his district have responded in the affirmative to move the legislature from Juneau to Anchorage, and this is the point of view he is representing. He said the people have a right to have that access to the legislature. Number 500 SENATOR TAYLOR expressed his appreciation to Mr. Kohler, saying he thought his proposal is very innovative and very creative. Number 660 MAYOR JAMIE PARSONS, City and Borough of Juneau, said the community is very sensitive and concerned about access to the capital and has worked to try to bring in additional airlines, as well as additional stops by Alaska Airlines. TAPE 93-12, SIDE A Number 001 Mayor Parsons said the community of Juneau would be willing to be a financial partner with the state to find better access to teleconferencing, C-Span, any kind of communications with the rest of the state. Number 012 SENATOR DUNCAN asked how Mayor Parsons viewed Juneau's interaction with the rest of Southeast Alaska and the rest of the state. MAYOR PARSONS answered that during his term as mayor he has stressed that their be more outreach by the community towards the rest of the state. He said he thinks that traditionally Juneau has been supportive throughout the state and particularly this region. SENATOR DUNCAN said he was very sensitive to Senator Miller's comments at an earlier hearing about Juneau's interaction with the rest of the state, and he wanted to be sure that it was on record that Juneau is aware that there are needs outside of this community. Number 075 JOE POOR, Executive Director, Juneau Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the community is very sensitive to the concerns raised by Senator Miller and it is trying to change. He said the Chamber tries to respond to any business related requests and concerns anywhere in the state. He said he believes we need this strong unification of Alaskan business communities in order to resolve some of the problems that we have. Number 132 SENATOR ELLIS voiced his concern with the fiscal notes, saying he thinks they deserve a lot of attention. He said he believes that moving the legislature means moving everything eventually, and he has never been a supporter of that. His main concern centers around what will really happen with the bureaucracy. Number 168 SENATOR PHILLIPS noted that SB 26 still has referrals to the Judiciary Committee and the Finance Committee, and he suggested that a video teleconferencing demo could be held in one of those committees. Number 180 SENATOR LEMAN asked for the will of the committee on SB 26. Hearing no motion, he stated SB 26 would be held over for the next meeting. SENATOR LEMAN also stated that SB 18 (APPR: WEST ANCHORAGE HIGH SCHOOL) and SB 80 (BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, COUNCILS, AUTHORITIES) would be held over until the next committee meeting. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 10:52 a.m.