Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/18/1997 03:37 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                 SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                
                         March 18, 1997                                        
                           3:37 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Lyda Green, Chairman                                                  
 Senator Jerry Ward, Vice-Chairman                                             
 Senator Jerry Mackie                                                          
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 7                                            
 Relating to the thirty-first annual Boys' State.                              
                                                                               
  -- MOVED SCR 7 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                              
                                                                               
 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 8                                            
 Relating to the twenty-ninth annual Girls' State.                             
                                                                               
  -- MOVED SCR 8 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                              
                                                                               
 HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 8                                             
 Creating the Deferred Maintenance Task Force.                                 
                                                                               
  -- MOVED HCR 8 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                              
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 87                                                            
 "An Act relating to regulation of architects, engineers, and land             
 surveyors; extending the termination date of the State Board of               
 Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors; and               
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
  -- MOVED CSSB 87(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                       
                                                                               
 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 22                                                
 Inviting the United States Department of Defense to select Alaska             
 as the site to base and train military troops.                                
                                                                               
  -- MOVED SJR 22 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                             
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 105                                                           
 "An Act relating to legislative ethics; relating to the filing of             
 disclosures by certain legislative employees and officials; and               
 providing for an effective date."                                             
  -- HEARD AND HELD                                                            
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 21                                                            
 "An Act relating to ferries and ferry terminals, establishing the             
 Alaska Marine Highway Authority, and relating to maintenance of               
 state marine vessels; and providing for an effective date."                   
                                                                               
  -- AMENDED AND HELD                                                          
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SCR  7 - See Senate State Affairs minutes dated 3/18/97.                      
                                                                               
 SCR  8 - See Senate State Affairs minutes dated 3/18/97.                      
                                                                               
 HCR  8 - See Senate State Affairs minutes dated 3/18/97.                      
                                                                               
 SB  87 - See Labor and Commerce Committee minutes dated 3/11/97 and           
          State Affairs minutes dated 3/18/97.                                 
                                                                               
 SJR 22 - See Senate State Affairs minutes dated 3/18/97.                      
                                                                               
 SB 105 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/11/97, 3/13/97, 3/18/97            
      and 3/25/97.                                                             
                                                                               
 SB  21 - See Senate Transportation Committee minutes dated 2/18/97            
          and 3/6/97 and Senate State Affairs minutes dated 3/18/97            
      and 3/25/97.                                                             
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Ms. Lorali Meier, Legislative Intern to                                       
  Senator Loren Leman                                                          
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented overview on SCR 7 & SCR 8                    
                                                                               
 Mike Heatwole, Staff to Representative Gail Phillips                          
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented overview on HCR 8                            
                                                                               
 Jack Kreinheder, Senior Policy Analyst                                        
 Office of Management & Budget                                                 
 Office of the Governor                                                        
 P.O. Box 110020                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0020                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of HCR 8                          
                                                                               
 Ms. Annette Kreitzer, Staff to Senate Labor & Commerce                        
   Committee                                                                   
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Explained amendment to SB 87                           
                                                                               
 Chris Nelson, Staff to Senator Robin Taylor                                   
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SJR 22                          
                                                                               
 Ben Brown, Staff to Senator Tim Kelly                                         
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SB 105                          
                                                                               
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 21                                 
                                                                               
 Ms. Andrea Barkley                                                            
 P.O. Box 1037                                                                 
 Ward Cove, AK 99928                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 21                          
                                                                               
 Doug Ward                                                                     
 P.O. Box 7552                                                                 
 Ketchikan, AK 99901                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 21                          
                                                                               
 Sam Kito, Special Assistant to Commissioner Perkins                           
 Department of Transportation & Public Facilities                              
 3132 Channel Drive                                                            
 Juneau, AK 99801-7898                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in opposition to SB 21                       
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 97-12, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
            SCR  7 THIRTY-FIRST ANNUAL BOYS' STATE                           
           SCR  8 TWENTY-NINTH ANNUAL GIRLS' STATE                           
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN GREEN  called the Senate State Affairs Committee to order           
 at 3:37 p.m. and brought up SCR 7 and SCR 8 as the first order of             
 business before the committee.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 015                                                                    
                                                                               
  LORALI MEIER , a legislative intern in the office of Senator Loren           
 Leman, explained Boys' State and Girls' State are week-long                   
 programs that provide high schools with the knowledge of state and            
 local governments.  SCR 7 and SCR 8 recognize the importance of               
 state and local, public and private involvement in these programs             
 in order to make them  successful.  Because SCR 7 and SCR 8                   
 encourage young men and young women to be leaders, Senator Leman              
 believes these exceptional programs deserve the recognition and               
 support of the Legislature.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 034                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved that SCR 7 and SCR 8 be passed out of                  
 committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection,             
 it was so ordered.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 045                                                                    
                                                                               
            HCR 8 DEFERRED MAINTENANCE TASK FORCE                            
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN GREEN  brought HCR 8 before the committee as the next order         
 of business.                                                                  
                                                                               
  MIKE HEATWOLE , staff to Representative Gail Phillips, sponsor of            
 HCR 8, which would create a deferred maintenance task force, read             
 the following sponsor's statement into the record.                            
                                                                               
 "Deferred maintenance is the result of years of unmet maintenance             
 on Alaska's public facilities.                                                
                                                                               
 Meeting our maintenance needs is not about building a skywalk from            
 the court to the capitol.  It is a about a capitol building that              
 leaks.  It is about docks that are rotting and falling into                   
 harbors, and it is about an infrastructure that needs repair.  Some           
 cost estimates place Alaska's unmet maintenance needs at well over            
 $1 billion, and some are even closer to $2 billion.                           
                                                                               
 HCR 8 will establish a legislative task force to make                         
 recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on how to                 
 address Alaska's unmet maintenance needs.  The task force will be             
 made up of five members from the House and five members from the              
 Senate.  The Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate             
 will also serve as non-voting members of the task force.                      
                                                                               
 The task force will be specifically charged with:                             
                                                                               
  -  reviewing and evaluating existing reports and publications                
     about deferred maintenance recommendations previously made                
                                                                               
  -  identifying and evaluating all current and deferred                       
         maintenance needs                                                     
                                                                               
  -  soliciting public comment about this topic                                
                                                                               
  -  submitting a report of its findings and recommendations to                
     the Governor and Legislature by the convening of the                      
         regular session                                                       
                                                                               
  -  forwarding recommendations about funding all deferred                     
     maintenance needs                                                         
                                                                               
 The task force will begin work as soon as members are appointed."             
                                                                               
 Mr. Heatwole informed the committee that Representative Phillips              
 has personally spoken with the Governor about this task force, and            
 he agrees with the concept.  He has personally pledged his support            
 from his office and from his commissioners on the task force.                 
 Further, the formation of the task force has received support from            
 the truckers, contractors, laborers and many concerned Alaskans.              
                                                                               
 Number 095                                                                    
                                                                               
  JACK KREINHEDER , Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Management &              
 Budget, voiced the Administration's support of HCR 8 because they             
 believe the task force is something that is needed; deferred                  
 maintenance is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.                  
                                                                               
 Mr. Kreinheder said the Administration would endorse expanding the            
 scope of duties of the task force to address not only deferred                
 maintenance but new facilities and other capital funding.  It is              
 their concern that while deferred maintenance is important, that if           
 this task force only looks at that aspect of the problem, it would            
 be overlooking some of the other needs of the state.  He added that           
 his impression is that Representative Phillips is amenable to that            
 idea.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Mr. Kreinheder related that in addition to broadening the scope of            
 the task force to cover those issues, the Administration believes             
 the task force should also address the issue of ongoing maintenance           
 of state facilities.  He said it doesn't help to come up with a               
 funding solution or solutions to the backlog of deferred                      
 maintenance if we continue to add to our deferred maintenance each            
 year by short-funding the necessary ongoing maintenance of state              
 facilities.  He added that it is something the Administration has             
 also attempted to deal with, but found very difficult given the               
 present budget constraints.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 145                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  asked if the language in the resolution didn't already         
 enable the task force to do what Mr. Kreinheder was suggesting                
 without making any changes.   MR. KREINHEDER  acknowledged that it is         
 not prohibited by the resolution, but he said he doesn't see                  
 anything in it that addresses anything other than deferred                    
 maintenance.    He added that if the intent of the Legislature is             
 clear and there's agreement among all parties that the scope of               
 work is appropriate for the task force, then it is probably okay,             
 but he thinks the Administration's preference would be to address             
 it specifically.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 170                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR DUNCAN  asked how the Administration comes up with these             
 projects for which they request deferred maintenance dollars.   MR.           
 KREINHEDER  explained there has been a prioritization process                 
 established for deferred maintenance that identifies the highest              
 priorities needs.  In general, the needs that affect health, life             
 and safety are the ones that tend to rise to the top.                         
                                                                               
  SENATOR DUNCAN  commented it is clear that identifying deferred              
 maintenance is important, but it is not something that we haven't             
 been doing in this state.  However, he said the real issue is not             
 identifying the needs because the agencies have already identified            
 them, but identifying how they are going to be funded, and that's             
 what the major emphasis of the task force should be instead of                
 spending their time reinventing the wheel.   MR. KREINHEDER  agreed           
 with his comments and said he would envision this task force                  
 spending a great deal of its time on how to finance these deferred            
 maintenance and other capital needs.  He also pointed out that in             
 his six-year capital plan, the Governor has proposed using general            
 fund bond issues to address the state's capital needs, and that's             
 something they think would be appropriately addressed by this task            
 force as well.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 225                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR DUNCAN  asked Mr. Heatwole if he was satisfied that the              
 language in the resolution really directs the task force towards              
 the major task of identifying funding sources and ways to fund the            
 deferred maintenance needs in this state.   MR. HEATWOLE  replied             
 that it is their understanding that the reports relating to                   
 deferred maintenance needs do exist and they should be relatively             
 quick to compile, and that the real work of the task force is to              
 identify ways to address funding concerns.  The speaker is                    
 satisfied with the language in the resolution, and they have                  
 already begun to compile a file to forward to the task force as               
 soon as it is established.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 250                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  said he has introduced SB 37 that deals not only             
 with deferred maintenance of schools, but with new facilities as              
 well, and he doesn't read anything in the resolution that would               
 allow this task force to address those needs, other than deferred             
 maintenance. He asked if Representative Phillips would have any               
 objection to expanding this to deferred maintenance and new                   
 facility needs because there are a couple of significant proposals            
 that are before the Legislature dealing with deferred maintenance             
 as well as new construction.   MR. HEATWOLE  responded that question          
 was something he would have to take back to Representative                    
 Phillips.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 295                                                                    
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on HCR 8,  CHAIRMAN GREEN  asked for         
 the will of the committee.                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  moved HCR 8 be passed out of committee with individual         
 recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                    
                                                                               
 Number 300                                                                    
                                                                               
            SB 87 ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS & SURVEYORS                          
                                                                               
   CHAIRMAN GREEN  brought SB 87 before the committee as the next order        
 of business.  It was noted there was a proposed State Affairs CS              
 for the committee's consideration.                                            
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved CSSB 87(STA) be adopted.  Hearing no                   
 objection,  CHAIRMAN GREEN  stated the committee substitute was               
 adopted as a working document.                                                
                                                                               
  ANNETTE KREITZER , staff to the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee,           
 explained the change in the State Affairs CS from what passed out             
 of the Labor & Commerce Committee appears in Sections 6 & 7.  It              
 was an amendment that was proposed in the Labor & Commerce                    
 Committee, but they did not have all the consensus from all parties           
 involved who wanted to comment on the proposed amendment.  It                 
 basically provides that land surveyors can be registered to teach             
 in an institution of higher learning.  She noted the land surveyors           
 have sought this amendment.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 335                                                                    
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on CSSB 87(STA)  CHAIRMAN GREEN              
 asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                      
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved CSSB 87(STA) and the attached fiscal note be           
 passed out of committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing             
 no objection, it was so ordered.                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
                 SJR 22 ALASKA MILITARY BASES                                
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN GREEN  announced SJR 22 was before the committee for its            
 consideration.                                                                
 Number 345                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHRIS NELSON , staff to Senator Robin Taylor, explained the                  
 Department of Defense is currently conducting what is now known as            
 the Quadrennial Defense Review, which addresses all aspects of                
 military policy, and it is looking at opportunities for expansion             
 as well as some cuts that might be made.  The resolution directs              
 the attention of the Department of Defense to the opportunities for           
 using Alaska's bases for military training, and the fact that                 
 Alaska's bases are modern, up-to-date, and under-utilized.                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN GREEN  asked for the pleasure of committee on SJR 22.               
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  moved SJR 22 be passed out of committee with                   
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      
                                                                               
            SB 105 LEGISLATIVE ETHICS CODE REFORM                            
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN GREEN  brought SB 105 back before the committee.  She               
 directed attention to a proposed amendment which would include the            
 Executive Ethics Act in SB 105.                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  moved the adoption of Amendment No. 2, which would add         
 the Executive Ethics Act to SB 105.   SENATOR MACKIE  objected.               
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  commented that last year's ethics bill didn't make           
 it through the process so he is concerned with what was contained             
 in that bill that members may have had an objection to.  He said he           
 thinks SB 105 is a good bill as currently written, and he would               
 appreciate some committee time to sit down with the drafter and               
 staff from the Ethics Committee and go through each one of the                
 changes so everyone fully understands what it does.   BEN BROWN ,             
 staff to Senator Kelly, assured Senator Mackie that the amendment             
 would only put the executive branch under an ethics code very                 
 similar to the one the Legislature currently exists under, but the            
 prime difference being the Personnel Board would play the role that           
 the Ethics Committee plays in the legislative branch.  He also                
 clarified that last year's legislation passed the Senate                      
 unanimously, but it was the offering of an amendment that dealt               
 with the legislative side of things in the House Finance Committee            
 that ended up tripping the bill up in the final stages of the                 
 session, the most controversial of those amendments being a ban on            
 spousal lobbying.                                                             
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  asked if it was the Chair's intent to adopt this one         
 amendment and move the bill out, and  CHAIRMAN GREEN  acknowledged            
 that was correct.   SENATOR MACKIE  then removed his objection to the         
 amendment and  SENATOR DUNCAN  objected, stating he doesn't believe           
 the committee should be adopting a 27-page amendment without having           
 an opportunity to go through and review it.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 485                                                                    
                                                                               
 Following brief discussion,  CHAIRMAN GREEN  stated SB 105 would be           
 held over to the Thursday, March 20 meeting.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 500                                                                    
                                                                               
            SB  21 ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY AUTHORITY                           
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN GREEN  brought SB 21 before the committee as the final              
 order of business.                                                            
                                                                               
  SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR , prime sponsor of SB 21, read the following            
 sponsor statement into the record:                                            
                                                                               
 "SB 21 will establish the Alaska Marine Highway Authority to assume           
 management of the Marine Highway System from the Department of                
 Transportation & Public Facilities.                                           
                                                                               
 "The Authority would be a public corporation of the state as an               
 instrumentality of DOT/PF, but would have a legal existence                   
 independent and separate from the state.  The new Authority would             
 be comparable to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation or the                
 Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.  However, it is           
 different from the Alaska Railroad Board; it would not own its own            
 assets, and would not be able to be self sufficient.                          
                                                                               
 "Establishment of such an authority boards would bring maritime               
 experience and continuity to the management of the Alaska Marine              
 Highway System.                                                               
                                                                               
 "Based on information gathered at public hearing over the interim,            
 the Senate Task Force on the Alaska Marine Highway System concluded           
 that the legislature should consider the creation of such an                  
 Authority.                                                                    
                                                                               
 "Testimony received by the Task Force indicated that DOT management           
 of the marine highway lacks focus and that AMHS administration                
 under DOT lacks maritime experience.                                          
                                                                               
 "Management under DOT has become insular and is unresponsive to               
 input from vessel employees and the general public.  Scheduling is            
 chaotic and the fare structure has discouraged ridership.  The                
 reservations system has been an abject failure.                               
                                                                               
 "While concerns over funding levels are valid, the naturally                  
 bureaucratic mind-set of the Department has tightened what former             
 director Jim Ayers termed a "death spiral".                                   
 "Establishment of the Alaska Marine Highway Authority will not be             
 a panacea, but will give the system a new perspective.  It will               
 also give it some history and background in maritime management,              
 which it does not have now, as well as it will provide an                     
 opportunity for some major changes that will all to the benefit of            
 the system itself, the legislature and the people of Alaska."                 
                                                                               
 Number 515                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR  directed attention to two proposed amendments to SB
 21.  He explained the first amendment would tighten up the                    
 designation of the maritime union representative by providing that            
 the union representative would be a representative of the largest             
 number of onboard employees in the authority.  It also makes                  
 certain the commissioner of DOT would not end up being the chairman           
 of the board.                                                                 
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  commented that IBU would be the representative of            
 the largest number of onboard employees, and he questioned why the            
 representation was being limited to one particular union.   SENATOR           
 TAYLOR  replied that there is another union seat available, and it            
 was just felt that at least one seat ought to represent the                   
 majority of the employees.  He added he is trying to get as much              
 balance to the board so that it will work effectively.                        
                                                                               
 Number 565                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR , addressing the second amendment, explained the              
 governor would be appointing the members to the board, with the               
 exception of the commissioner of DOT, and it was felt that those              
 six members should stand for confirmation before the Legislature.             
 However, before confirmation can be required, the directors must              
 have a quasi-judicial function about them.  The amendment                     
 accomplishes that purpose by providing that the authority may adopt           
 regulations.                                                                  
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  asked why these board members would have to be               
 confirmed if he is trying to come up with something comparable to             
 AIDEA and AHFC.   SENATOR TAYLOR  responded this is to address a              
 concern that the makeup of the board could easily be stacked.                 
                                                                               
  TAPE 97-12, SIDE B                                                           
 Number 555                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  moved adoption of the following Amendment No. 1.               
 Hearing no objection,  CHAIRMAN GREEN  stated the amendment was               
 adopted.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Amendment No. 1                                                             
                                                                               
 Page 1, line 13:  Delete "a maritime union"                                   
       Insert "the maritime union representing the                             
 largest number of onboard employees of the authority"                         
                                                                               
 Page 3, lines 3 - 4:  Delete "their number"                                   
        Insert "the appointed directors"                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR WARD  moved adoption of the following Amendment No. 2.               
 Hearing no objection,  CHAIRMAN GREEN  stated the amendment was               
 adopted.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Amendment No. 2                                                             
                                                                               
 Page 2, line 8:  Delete "members" and insert "directors"                      
                                                                               
 Page 2, line 9:  Following "affairs." insert "The appointed                   
 directors are subject to confirmation by a majority of the members            
 of the legislature in joint session"                                          
                                                                               
 Page 2, line 10:  Delete "members" and insert "directors"                     
                                                                               
 Page 4, following line 13 insert new paragraph (10) to read:                  
  "(10)"  adopt regulations under AS 44.62 (Administrative                     
 Procedure Act) governing                                                      
   (A)  access to and use of services and facilities of the                    
 authority;                                                                    
   (B)  the authority of the officers and crew of vessels of                   
 the authority to maintain peace and order as necessary to protect             
 the health, safety, and public welfare of the patrons and employees           
 of the authority;                                                             
   (C)  rates, tariffs, and other charges for transportation                   
 and other services provided by the authority;"                                
                                                                               
 Renumber the following paragraphs accordingly.                                
                                                                               
 Page 4, line 16:  Delete all material.                                        
                                                                               
 Renumber the following paragraph accordingly.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 560                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR DUNCAN  asked how this authority, since it going to be               
 autonomous, is going to work with the budget process.   SENATOR               
 TAYLOR  said he believes it will work just as the current one works.          
 The board, itself, or its executive director, will appear before              
 committees of the Legislature, they will submit a proposed budget             
 and that budget will be adjusted up or down as the Legislature sees           
 fit.   He said he doesn't see a dramatic change in the process, but           
 he thinks its good to be concerned about whether or not that                  
 authority would continue to have the level of support from the                
 executive branch.                                                             
                                                                               
  SENATOR DUNCAN  said that was his concern, that the more autonomous          
 we make it, what type of support does it lose from the executive              
 branch for the operational side of the budget, as well as the                 
 commissioner of DOT is going to have pressure from the highway side           
 to provide a majority of the federal highway funds to highways and            
 not the Marine Highway System because it is no longer his                     
 responsibility.  He asked Senator Taylor if he had any fear that              
 all of a sudden the Marine Highway System will take a real back               
 seat as far as funding necessary improvements, renovations,                   
 maintenance, etc.   SENATOR TAYLOR  answered he didn't think it could         
 do much worse.  He noted the state of Washington intentionally                
 makes certain that they don't have any of the federal highway funds           
 mixed in, and, as a consequence, they then can dictate that their             
 boats will be repaired only in Puget Sound yards.  He said he                 
 thinks it helps the commissioner to the extent that he now has a              
 more autonomous group arguing with probably better credibility than           
 what current staff is able to argue.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 445                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR MACKIE  said he supports the concept of the board membership          
 having representation of people that work on the ferries, because             
 he thinks a lot of the information that's readily available from              
 people that actually work on the ships is not being currently                 
 utilized to make it a better system.  However, he questioned if               
 conflict of interest problems could arise by a couple of members              
 sitting on the board making decisions over working conditions,                
 contracts, or other kinds of things that actually affect them.                
  SENATOR TAYLOR  replied that with seven members on this board, he            
 doesn't believe it is going to be a problem.  He added that he is             
 trying to place members out of this fleet into direct control of              
 this operation because he believes they want to keep the system               
 going.                                                                        
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  noted there is less service now than there was six           
 years ago, the public is paying more than they were years ago, the            
 Legislature is appropriating less general funds, etc., and he                 
 asked what kind of money does he think is going to be saved in                
 switching to this kind of management, and how are we going to be              
 able to improve service.    SENATOR TAYLOR  replied he believes that          
 though there will be an initial transition cost and start up cost,            
 if a higher level of maritime experience were involved in                     
 management and if management would reduce itself in size to where             
 it was comparable to other maritime operations, that there would be           
 significant savings.  Those savings could then be put into further            
 service out in the fleet.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN GREEN  stated testimony would be taken from individuals             
 waiting to testify over the teleconference network.                           
                                                                               
  ANDREA BARKLEY , an employee of the Alaska Marine Highway System             
 testifying from Ketchikan, said she has just come from a meeting              
 with Commissioner Perkins and Gary Haden, and the crews on the                
 Marine Highway System were able to submit three more alternatives             
 for possible fleet deployment.  She said she believes Commissioner            
 Perkins is interested in solving some of the problems, but she is             
 not sure if, even through this administrative process, he would be            
 able to do it himself.                                                        
                                                                               
 Ms. Barkley said the Executive Committee of the Inland Boatmen's              
 Union has passed a resolution in support of SB 21.  She also voiced           
 her support for the two amendments adopted by the committee.                  
                                                                               
 Concluding, Ms. Barkley said she hopes the perception in the                  
 Legislature is not that the system is so broken that it must be               
 thrown in the garbage can, because that is not the case.  The crews           
 on the Marine Highway System really love their jobs, and that's why           
 they care so much and wish to see it survive and to prosper.  She             
 said they have an administrative problem and they need to be able             
 to change the way that they are administrated.                                
                                                                               
 Number 298                                                                    
                                                                               
  DOUG WARD , Project Manager of Alaska Ship & Drydock, the current            
 operators of the state-owned Ketchikan Shipyard, spoke in support             
 of an amendment adopted in the Senate Transportation Committee,               
 which added the interport differential, and which is designed to              
 level the playing field for Alaska shipyards in competitive bids              
 situations with out-of-state shipyards.  The amendment only asks              
 that the state consider all of the costs that go into transporting            
 a vessel, and it brings fairness to the evaluation process in how             
 the interport differential is used in evaluating a bid.  It does              
 not change how the state currently conducts its bidding practices.            
 All it does is request a full accounting of the interport costs to            
 make a more fair evaluation process.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 250                                                                    
                                                                               
  SAM KITO , Special Assistant to Commissioner Perkins, Department of          
 Transportation & Public Facilities, read a summary of a prepared              
 statement that was read into the record by Commissioner Perkins in            
 the Senate Transportation Committee. (See Senate Transportation               
 minutes dated March 6, 1997)                                                  
                                                                               
 Mr. Kito, speaking to interport differential provision that was               
 added in the Transportation Committee, said the department is                 
 concerned that the interport differential costs potentially could             
 cost the Marine Highway System.  A recent AIDEA report estimates              
 that the cost to perform work on the vessels in Ketchikan was on              
 the average 20 percent higher than outside the state.  Using that             
 20 percent number the system believes it could face an additional             
 $500,000 annually in costs for work at the Ketchikan shipyard.                
 Also, this change will increase the cost that the Marine Highway              
 System will not be able to receive reimbursement for under a                  
 federal project.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 148                                                                    
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on SB 21,  CHAIRMAN GREEN  stated it         
 was her intention to hold the bill and schedule it for another                
 hearing on Thursday, March 20.  She then adjourned the meeting at             
 5:07 p.m.                                                                     
                                                                               

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