Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/08/2003 03:35 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                 SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                                                               
                           May 8, 2003                                                                                          
                             3:35 pm                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 248                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to  the annual salary  of the chief  procurement                                                              
officer; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
     MOVED HB 248 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 198                                                                                                             
"An Act relating  to recovery of civil damages by  a peace officer                                                              
or firefighter; and providing for an effective date."                                                                           
     MOVED CSSB 198(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 266(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An  Act relating  to questioned  ballots  and questioned  voters,                                                              
voter registration,  training of  election officials,  preparation                                                              
of election  materials,  provision of  election materials,  forms,                                                              
and supplies  for polling  places, voter identification,  absentee                                                              
voting,  and counting  ballots;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                              
     MOVED CSHB 266(FIN) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 6                                                                                                   
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution  of the State of Alaska                                                              
relating to the duration of a regular session.                                                                                  
     MOVED SJR 6 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
SENATE BILL NO. 211                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to  the publishing  and  furnishing of  certain                                                              
public notices  regarding  regulations or  rules of certain  state                                                              
agencies; relating  to distribution  of the Alaska  Administrative                                                              
Code, Alaska Administrative Register,  and supplements to the code                                                              
or register; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 183                                                                                                             
"An  Act  authorizing  municipalities   to  provide  for  economic                                                              
development  and  authorizing  municipalities  to  expend  revenue                                                              
collected  on an  areawide  or nonareawide  basis  to provide  for                                                              
economic development."                                                                                                          
     MOVED CSSB 183(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
HB 248 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
SB 198 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
HB 266 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
SJR 6 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/11/03                                                                                 
SB 211 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
SB 183 - See CRA minutes dated 4/30/03                                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Dan Spencer                                                                                                                     
Director, Division of Administrative Services                                                                                   
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 248                                                                                       
Brian Hove                                                                                                                      
Staff to Senator Ralph Seekins                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 198                                                                                         
Mike Couturier                                                                                                                  
Anchorage Police Department Employees Association Vice President                                                                
and Patrolman                                                                                                                   
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 198                                                                                       
Mike Fox                                                                                                                        
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 198                                                                                       
Will Aitchison                                                                                                                  
Attorney for the Anchorage Police Employees Association                                                                         
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 198                                                                                       
Mitch Gravo                                                                                                                     
Lobbyist and Attorney for the Anchorage Police Department                                                                       
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 198                                                                                       
Laura Glaiser                                                                                                                   
Director Division of Elections                                                                                                  
P.O. Box 110017                                                                                                                 
Juneau, AK 99811-0017                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 266                                                                                       
Sarah Felix                                                                                                                     
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Available for questions on HB 266                                                                        
Sara Nielsen                                                                                                                    
Staff to Representative Ralph Samuels                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SJR 6                                                                                        
Senator Ralph Seekins                                                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 183                                                                                        
Dan Bockhorst                                                                                                                   
Local Boundary Commission                                                                                                       
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
550 West Seventh Avenue, Suite                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3510                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 183                                                                                      
David Leone                                                                                                                     
P.O. Box 71267                                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, AK 99707                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 183                                                                                       
Craig Tillery                                                                                                                   
Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Section                                                                               
Department of Law                                                                                                               
1031 W. 4 Ave, Suite 200                                                                                                        
Anchorage, AK 99501                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 211                                                                                      
Robert Pierson                                                                                                                  
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 211                                                                                       
Mark Davis                                                                                                                      
Director of Banking                                                                                                             
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 211                                                                                       
Randy Ruedrich                                                                                                                  
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 211                                                                                       
Elise Hsieh                                                                                                                     
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Listened to testimony on SB 211                                                                           
Linda Hall                                                                                                                      
Director, Division of Insurance                                                                                                 
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 211                                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 02-03-28, SIDE A                                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN GARY  STEVENS called the  Senate State Affairs  Committee                                                            
meeting to  order at  3:35 pm. Present  were Senators  Fred Dyson,                                                              
Gretchen Guess and  Chair Gary Stevens. Senators  John Cowdery and                                                              
Lyman  Hoffman  arrived  soon  thereafter.   The  first  order  of                                                              
business to come before the committee was HB 248.                                                                               
           HB 248-SALARY OF CHIEF PROCUREMENT OFFICER                                                                       
Dan  Spencer,   Director  of   Administrative  Services   for  the                                                              
Department of Administration,  explained that HB  248 would change                                                              
the salary for the chief procurement  officer to a range 24 from a                                                              
range 23 on the State of Alaska scale.                                                                                          
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS noted the fiscal  notes reflect a  net savings                                                              
to the state.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS  made a motion to move HB  248 and attached                                                              
fiscal  notes  from  committee  with  individual  recommendations.                                                              
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
         SB 198-DAMAGES RECOVERED BY POLICE/FIREFIGHTER                                                                     
BRIAN HOVE, staff to Senator Ralph Seekins, read the sponsor                                                                    
statement into the record:                                                                                                      
     SB   198   revises  the   common   law  known   as   the                                                                   
     Firefighter's  Rule.  This rule  precludes  firefighters                                                                   
     and  peace officers  from recovering  civil damages  for                                                                   
     injuries caused by any negligent  act inflicted while on                                                                   
     duty.  The   Firefighters  Rule  does   not  distinguish                                                                   
     between  negligent acts  requiring  the firefighters  or                                                                   
     peace officer's  response from  negligent acts  that are                                                                   
     unrelated  to  the  reason   the  firefighter  or  peace                                                                   
     officer was required to respond.                                                                                           
     For  example, as  currently  employed, the  Firefighters                                                                   
     Rule precludes  a police officer from suing  for damages                                                                   
     for injuries suffered  as a result of being  struck by a                                                                   
     drunk  driver  during  the   course  of  transporting  a                                                                   
     prisoner to  the courthouse. This despite the  fact that                                                                   
     the negligent  act, in this case, the drunk  driving, is                                                                   
     unrelated to the duty the officer  was performing at the                                                                   
     time.  SB 198  corrects this  incongruity.  Yet, on  the                                                                   
     other hand,  this bill does  nothing to change  the case                                                                   
     where the  police officer is  injured during  the course                                                                   
     of a pursuit  of the drunk driver. This is  considered a                                                                   
     foreseeable  risk associated  with  the profession  and,                                                                   
     accordingly,  well within that  which the  Firefighter's                                                                   
     Rule should cover.                                                                                                         
     Therefore,   SB   198  makes   a   distinction   between                                                                   
     negligence   that   is  related   to   the  reason   the                                                                   
     firefighter   or  peace   officer   is  responding   and                                                                   
     negligence   that  is  unrelated   to  the  reason   the                                                                   
     firefighter  or  peace  officer is  responding.  In  the                                                                   
     first  instance,  it  does not  allow  a  civil  action.                                                                   
     Instead the  firefighter or  peace officer must  rely on                                                                   
     the  state's workers  compensation  system. However,  in                                                                   
     the case where injury was caused  by a negligent act not                                                                   
     related  to  the reason  for  the firefighter  or  peace                                                                   
     officer's response,  then -  under this legislation  - a                                                                   
     civil action can be brought  against the at-fault party.                                                                   
SENATOR JOHN COWDERY asked how many people might be affected by                                                                 
this legislation and what other states have done in this regard.                                                                
MR. HOVE didn't have that information.                                                                                          
SENATOR   GRETCHEN  GUESS   asked  whether   the  bill  would   be                                                              
MR. HOVE replied they had not discussed effective dates.                                                                        
SENATOR FRED  DYSON asked who  the personal representative  is for                                                              
peace officers.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS asked Mike Couturier  to join Mr. Hove  at the                                                              
MIKE  COUTURIER, an  Anchorage Patrol  Officer, expressed  support                                                              
for SB 198. He said officers accept  the inherent risks associated                                                              
with  their  profession,  but  need  recourse  for  accidents  and                                                              
injuries that  are unrelated  to the job  they are performing.  He                                                              
told a  story about an  officer that  was critically injured  by a                                                              
drunk driver  while enroute  to a call.  Because of the  Fireman's                                                              
Rule, he  was unable to  recover damages  incurred as a  result of                                                              
that traffic  accident. Peace officers and  firefighters shouldn't                                                              
have to give  up their rights  as citizens when they  are working.                                                              
These  are infrequent  occurrences  and would  not  cause a  large                                                              
increase in  litigation across  the state;  the bill would  simply                                                              
take care of the exceptions.                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS asked the committee to entertain two points:                                                                      
   · Whether the bill should be retroactive to 2000                                                                             
   · That the effective date should be immediate                                                                                
SENATOR  JOHN COWDERY  commented that  glitches in  law should  be                                                              
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  asked whether insurance coverage  entered into                                                              
the discussion.                                                                                                                 
MR.  COUTURIER  advised  it  did   to  a  certain  extent  because                                                              
taxpayers are paying for acts of neglect.                                                                                       
MIKE FOX,  retired state trooper  and employee of a  Public Safety                                                              
Employee Association, testified in support of the bill.                                                                         
WILL  AITCHISON,  attorney  for  the  Anchorage  Police  Employees                                                              
Association, testified  via teleconference  in support of  SB 198.                                                              
The Fireman's Rule  stems from old rules regarding  liability when                                                              
someone  is doing business  on your  property.  It evolved  to the                                                              
point  that  police officers  and  firefighters  had no  right  to                                                              
recover from a negligent third party when injured on the job.                                                                   
A number  of state  legislatures have  statutorily repealed  court                                                              
decisions that  adopted this type of  rule on the theory  that the                                                              
negligent wrongdoer,  not the  public, should bear  responsibility                                                              
for their conduct.                                                                                                              
The  Firefighters  Rule  was  adopted  in  a  case  involving  the                                                              
Dillingham chief  of police, but  the Alaska Supreme  Court didn't                                                              
define the  confines of  the rule  and there  are several.  SB 198                                                              
adopts the Firefighters Rule statutorily,  but makes a distinction                                                              
between negligence  that is related to the reason  the firefighter                                                              
or peace  officer is responding  and negligence that  is unrelated                                                              
to the reason they are responding.                                                                                              
In response  to Senator  Cowdery's question,  he said these  cases                                                              
have been  infrequent in  Alaska. With  regard to Senator  Dyson's                                                              
question,  he said  the personal  representative  refers to  peace                                                              
officers and  firefighters who have died  in the line of  duty and                                                              
in those cases  the personal representative would  be the executor                                                              
of the estate.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked him to comment  on the effective date and                                                              
whether it should be retroactive to 2000.                                                                                       
MR. AITCHISON said the bill is written  to be effective on July 1,                                                              
but he doesn't see  why it should be then. Also,  the way he reads                                                              
the bill it would be retroactive to an existing claim.                                                                          
SENATOR COWDERY asked  if the state would assume  additional costs                                                              
with this change.                                                                                                               
MR.  AITCHISON opined  there  would  be a  cost  reduction to  the                                                              
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  pointed out that page 2, line  5 makes the law                                                              
applicable on or after the effective date of the act.                                                                           
SENATOR COWDERY asked what is typical in other states.                                                                          
MR. AITCHISON thought this was the  most common form. Other states                                                              
are split. Some  have a more intensive rule and some  have no rule                                                              
SENATOR  DYSON  asked  if  the  bill  would  allow  for  just  the                                                              
negligent party to be sued and not a deep pocket.                                                                               
MR. AITCHISON replied the bill only  allows lawsuits against those                                                              
who are negligent and only where  the negligence is independent of                                                              
the reason that the officer or firefighter is responding.                                                                       
SENATOR DYSON  asked for verification  that SB 198  wouldn't allow                                                              
an injured  officer or  firefighter to  collect twice for  medical                                                              
bills or lost wages.                                                                                                            
MR. AITCHISON  said there would be  an obligation to pay  back the                                                              
state or whoever paid the medical bills.                                                                                        
SENATOR DYSON  asked if  pain and suffering,  payment for  loss of                                                              
future  earnings and  punitive damages  would go  directly to  the                                                              
injured worker.                                                                                                                 
MR. AITCHISON replied they would.                                                                                               
SENATOR  DYSON   asked  how  to   modify  the  bill  to   make  it                                                              
MR. AITCHISON replied you would remove the applicability clause.                                                                
SENATOR GUESS stated  she would like to remove Sec.  2 and make it                                                              
effective immediately.                                                                                                          
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS asked  the sponsor's staff  to respond  to the                                                              
proposed change.                                                                                                                
MR. HOVE said he had no problem with the change.                                                                                
SENATOR LYMAN HOFFMAN commented [indiscernible}.                                                                                
MITCH  GRAVO,  attorney  and lobbyist  for  the  Anchorage  Police                                                              
Department  Employees Association,  testified  they would  support                                                              
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR GUESS  made a motion to amend  the bill to remove  Sec. 2,                                                              
lines 3-6 on  page 2 and make  a new Sec. 2 to make  the effective                                                              
date immediate.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  called  for  a roll  call  on  Amendment  1.                                                              
Senators  Hoffman, Cowdery,  Dyson, Guess  and Chair Gary  Stevens                                                              
voted yea. Amendment 1 passed unopposed.                                                                                        
SENATOR DYSON  made a  motion to move  CSSB 198(STA)  and attached                                                              
fiscal note from committee with individual  recommendations. There                                                              
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
              HB 266-ELECTIONS & VOTER REGISTRATION                                                                         
LAURA GLAISER,  director of the  Division of Elections,  read into                                                              
the record:                                                                                                                     
        In October 2002, President Bush signed the "Help                                                                        
     America Vote  Act," (HAVA) into law. HAVA  is the result                                                                   
     of  a bipartisan  effort in  Congress  to make  sweeping                                                                   
     changes to federal election  laws to improve the overall                                                                   
     administration  of elections, increase accessibility  to                                                                   
     those  with  disabilities,  and also  to  prevent  voter                                                                   
     Many  changes   required  under  HAVA  do   not  require                                                                   
     amending  Alaska  statute,  but HB  266  includes  those                                                                   
     necessary to meet federal mandates.  Changes recommended                                                                   
     in the bill before you follow  the intent of the federal                                                                   
     law and do  not place unnecessary burdens  on the voter.                                                                   
     It is imperative that these  changes mandated by federal                                                                   
     law are passed by the Legislature this year.                                                                               
     HB 266  also includes  changes the division  recommends.                                                                   
     The  division  supports  the   language  recommended  in                                                                   
     Senator  Lincoln's SB 24,  and it  has been included  in                                                                   
     this bill  with her permission. Other  changes regarding                                                                   
     returning    identification/voter    cards   to    other                                                                   
     jurisdictions, reference to  a "master list," and adding                                                                   
     types of information  that can be provided  by the voter                                                                   
     when  registering   in  person  are  requested   by  the                                                                   
     division in this bill.                                                                                                     
     The House  State Affairs Committee removed  the language                                                                   
     suggested by the division changing  the term "questioned                                                                   
     ballots"  to  "provisional  ballots."  The  federal  law                                                                   
     refers  to "provisional voting,"  (which Alaskans  refer                                                                   
     to as "questioned  voting") and the division  originally                                                                   
     recommended  changing  the   references  in  statute  to                                                                   
     conform to the federal language.                                                                                           
     The State Affairs Committee  also restored references to                                                                   
     the  division  sending  voters   letters  regarding  the                                                                   
     status  of  their  absentee,  questioned,  or  partially                                                                   
     counted ballot  in addition to the "free  access system"                                                                   
     required in HAVA.                                                                                                          
     The House  Finance Committee substitute  removes perhaps                                                                   
     the most significant change  NOT mandated by the federal                                                                   
     act. In the first two versions  of the bill the division                                                                   
     recommended  replacing  the  terms  "non  partisan"  and                                                                   
     "undeclared" with the term "unaffiliated."  As a result,                                                                   
     there will  be no changes  to the current  references to                                                                   
     "non partisan" and "undeclared."                                                                                           
SENATOR JOHN COWDERY questioned what the difference would be for                                                                
someone showing up at the polling booth.                                                                                        
MS. GLAISER  replied  there would  be a difference  for the  voter                                                              
that initially  registered to  vote by  mail and therefore  didn't                                                              
have to  show identification.  Those voters  would have  to verify                                                              
their  identification. The  idea  was to  get at  voter fraud  and                                                              
those  voters who  have  registered  to vote  in  person and  have                                                              
typically voted in person would see no change.                                                                                  
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  if not passing  the bill  would place  the                                                              
state in violation of federal law.                                                                                              
MS.  GLAISER said  that with  passage  of the  Capital Budget,  $5                                                              
million federal  dollars would be  available to implement  the law                                                              
and another  $4.1 million  would be  available by  the end  of the                                                              
year. It's highly likely those monies  would be taken back and the                                                              
state would be served if the legislation were to fail.                                                                          
SENATOR COWDERY asked how the division would spend the money.                                                                   
MS. GLAISER  replied much  of the  money would  be spent  on touch                                                              
screen polling and on updates to the voter database.                                                                            
SENATOR LYMAN HOFFMAN asked why the  division recommended the term                                                              
"non partisan".                                                                                                                 
MS.  GLAISER said  the regional  supervisors  believe most  voters                                                              
don't know the difference between  "non partisan" and "undeclared"                                                              
and they thought that it would help  the voter to use the one term                                                              
and provide a definition.                                                                                                       
The  division defined  "non  partisan" as  a  person that  doesn't                                                              
affiliate with a particular party  while an "undeclared" voter may                                                              
have  a particular  party  affiliation,  but  they don't  want  to                                                              
declare that affiliation.                                                                                                       
SIDE B                                                                                                                        
4:20 pm                                                                                                                       
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked how  "undeclared"  would  do in  a  closed                                                              
MS. GLAISER replied  they both have the same access  to the ballot                                                              
and that  is why  making them one  code or  term would  not affect                                                              
their access to the ballot.                                                                                                     
SENATOR HOFFMAN  noted they would  still have to make  a selection                                                              
and couldn't cross over in a primary.                                                                                           
MS. GLAISER agreed that is correct under the current law.                                                                       
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  said  the  impact  to  the  voter  would  be                                                              
negligible if "unaffiliated" were selected as the term.                                                                         
MS.  GLAISER  replied  that  would  be  correct  as  long  as  the                                                              
understanding  is  that you  are  either in  a  party  or you  are                                                              
SENATOR HOFFMAN  remarked the voters  that were frustrated  in the                                                              
last election would still be frustrated if this were to pass.                                                                   
MS. GLAISER agreed. She then noted  the House passed a zero fiscal                                                              
note with the  bill, which was incorrect. The  correct fiscal note                                                              
is  dated  4/15/03  4:16  pm and  it  shows  $382,000  in  federal                                                              
receipts. Initially  the fiscal note  was zero because  the monies                                                              
were  to have  been  shown in  the  Capital Budget.  The  minority                                                              
members of  the House State  Affairs Committee asked  the division                                                              
to show  that money. The  analysis was  the same and  adopting the                                                              
zero note with the bill was simply an error.                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked for  a  motion to  adopt the  corrected                                                              
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COWDERY made  a motion to  remove the  fiscal note  dated                                                              
4/11/03 2:53 pm  and adopt the fiscal note dated  4/15/03 4:16 pm.                                                              
There was no objection.                                                                                                         
SENATOR COWDERY made  a motion to move CSHB 266(FIN)  and attached                                                              
fiscal  notes  from  committee  with  individual  recommendations.                                                              
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
           SJR  6-CONST AM: 90 DAY LEGISLATIVE SESSION                                                                      
SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS stated her  contention that the Legislature                                                              
could do the people's business in 90 days.                                                                                      
SARA  NIELSEN, Staff  to Representative  Ralph  Samuels, said  the                                                              
1956 minutes show there was much  debate regarding the length of a                                                              
legislative   session.  Initially  they   decided  not   to  limit                                                              
SENATOR JOHN  COWDERY asked whether  there was anything  about the                                                              
Uniform Rules in the 1956 minutes.                                                                                              
MS. NIELSEN said  the minutes addressed the Uniform  Rules and how                                                              
they would conduct  business. She opined that  if the Constitution                                                              
were changed the Uniform Rules would  likely need to be changed as                                                              
SENATOR  COWDERY commented  it would  take teamwork  to make  this                                                              
SENATOR FRED  DYSON asked  what this  would do  to the balance  of                                                              
power between the legislative and executive branches.                                                                           
MS. NIELSEN  replied she  has read no  published articles  on that                                                              
particular aspect of the change.                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS added  there is no research in the  area. She opined                                                              
it would tip the balance.                                                                                                       
SENATOR COWDERY asked what the benefit  would be other than in the                                                              
people's eyes.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  GUESS  replied  the ultimate  advantage  is  when  people                                                              
believe their government  is working better and  more efficiently.                                                              
There certainly  would be a  cost savings and citizen  legislators                                                              
are certainly preferable.                                                                                                       
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked  if  the existing  staff  could  handle  a                                                              
shorter session.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS said  everyone would  have a  different opinion  on                                                              
that, but it's  likely everyone would have to  do more preparation                                                              
before arriving in Juneau.                                                                                                      
She added this is an idea that will take thought.                                                                               
SENATOR HOFFMAN  stated it  is his belief  that a shorter  session                                                              
would  result in  more special  sessions, which  would cause  more                                                              
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS said  he couldn't  imagine working  any harder                                                              
than he  is currently. He  isn't in favor  of the legislation  and                                                              
believes the public would suffer.                                                                                               
SENATOR COWDERY  stated he agrees  with the concept, but  the bill                                                              
needs more work.                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  made a  motion to  move SJR  6 from committee  with                                                              
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
SENATOR COWDERY objected.                                                                                                       
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a roll call vote. Senators Hoffman,                                                                
Dyson and Guess voted yea and Senator Cowdery and Chair Gary                                                                    
Stevens voted nay.                                                                                                              
SJR 6 moved from committee.                                                                                                     
           SB 183-MUNICIPAL ECON. DEVELOPMENT/TAXATION                                                                      
SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS, bill sponsor, paraphrased from the sponsor                                                               
     Current  state law places  a limitation on  second-class                                                                   
     boroughs with respect to expending  funds designated for                                                                   
     economic development purposes.                                                                                             
     Presently,  second-class  boroughs  may only  use  these                                                                   
     funds on a non-areawide basis.  This means the Fairbanks                                                                   
     North  Star  Borough  can only  deploy  these  funds  on                                                                   
     projects  located outside the  city limits of  Fairbanks                                                                   
     and North Pole.                                                                                                            
     It is desirable  for the borough to have  the ability to                                                                   
     utilize  economic  development   funds  on  an  areawide                                                                   
     basis.  In  this  way, worthy  projects  can  be  funded                                                                   
     irrespective  of  their  location-within,   or  without,                                                                   
     municipal  boundaries-so  long  as the  project  remains                                                                   
     within the greater borough boundary.  Such projects will                                                                   
     benefit  the  entire borough  community  while  physical                                                                   
     location,  whether  within city  boundaries  or not,  is                                                                   
     considered immaterial to this greater good.                                                                                
     This  legislation  is proposed  at  the request  of  the                                                                   
     Fairbanks North  Star Borough as  well as the  Cities of                                                                   
     Fairbanks   and  North   Pole.  In   summary,  it   will                                                                   
     facilitate  the development  of economically  attractive                                                                   
     projects  throughout  the entire  Fairbanks  North  Star                                                                   
     Borough   without    regard   to   internal    municipal                                                                   
SENATOR JOHN COWDERY asked why there is a prohibition.                                                                          
SENATOR SEEKINS didn't know, but the borough is trying to work                                                                  
around the current statute and work with the two cities.                                                                        
SENATOR COWDERY asked if other states prohibit this.                                                                            
SENATOR SEEKINS wasn't aware of any, but most states have                                                                       
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS  explained the  foundation of  the idea  is to                                                              
avoid duplication of powers.                                                                                                    
SENATOR COWDERY  asked if the  borough had particular  projects in                                                              
SENATOR SEEKINS said no; the borough  has had trouble developing a                                                              
comprehensive   economic   development   plan   because   of   the                                                              
impediments imposed by the boundaries.                                                                                          
CHAIR GARY STEVENS stated he has  letters of support from both the                                                              
city council and  mayor of the City of Fairbanks  and the mayor of                                                              
the  City  of  North Pole.  This  addresses  his  initial  concern                                                              
regarding whether the two cities were in agreement on the issue.                                                                
He asked for a motion to adopt the committee substitute (CS).                                                                   
SENATOR COWDERY  made a  motion to adopt  CSSB 183 \Q  version for                                                              
discussion purposes. There was no objection.                                                                                    
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  asked if reference to population  was still in                                                              
the bill.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR SEEKINS  replied it  was not and  he wasn't sure  what the                                                              
difficulty had been.                                                                                                            
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS noted the  current version would  affect every                                                              
borough and every city in the state, not just Fairbanks.                                                                        
SENATOR  SEEKINS   said  their  intent  was  to   give  the  three                                                              
communities  in the Fairbanks  North Star  Borough the  ability to                                                              
work together.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  Mr. Bockhorst  whether  he  read  the                                                              
current CS  to include all the boroughs  in the state or  to apply                                                              
to Fairbanks alone.                                                                                                             
DAN BOCKHORST,  Local Boundary Commission, advised  he didn't have                                                              
a copy of the  version the committee was considering.  The version                                                              
he was reading  considered the 80,000-population  limit that would                                                              
affect only the Fairbanks North Star Borough.                                                                                   
SENATOR  SEEKINS  explained  the  \Q version  applies  only  to  a                                                              
borough that  has entered  into an agreement  with a  city located                                                              
within the  borough. It  doesn't impede  others; it simply  allows                                                              
those cities and  boroughs that have an agreement  to cooperate to                                                              
do so. This  makes it unnecessary  to put a population  base on to                                                              
protect smaller boroughs or cities.                                                                                             
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  said that means other boroughs  could make use                                                              
of this  if they made a  cooperative agreement with  cities within                                                              
the borough boundaries.                                                                                                         
SENATOR SEEKINS agreed.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  GRETCHEN  GUESS asked  whether  the Kenai  Borough  could                                                              
enter  into  an agreement  with  Soldotna  and  use the  funds  in                                                              
Soldotna without other cities within  the borough having any input                                                              
with regard to the use of the funds.                                                                                            
SENATOR SEEKINS said he thought they could.                                                                                     
DAVID LEONE,  special assistant to  the North Star  Borough mayor,                                                              
testified via teleconference in support of the CS \Q version.                                                                   
SENATOR  FRED  DYSON made  a  motion  to  move CSSB  183(STA)  and                                                              
attached    fiscal   note   from    committee   with    individual                                                              
recommendations. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                   
           SB 211-REGULATIONS: NOTICE AND DISTRIBUTION                                                                      
CRAIG  TILLERY,   with  the  Department  of  Law,   testified  via                                                              
teleconference.  He explained the  bill relates to  making notices                                                              
for proposed regulations more readable.  It is designed to improve                                                              
public  notice  for  changes  to regulation  and  to  reduce  cost                                                              
through  elimination  of  unnecessary   action,  the  use  of  the                                                              
Internet  and  shortening  notice   periods.  The  full  sectional                                                              
analysis found in the bill file addresses four basic changes:                                                                   
    · Changes the requirements in the Administrative Procedure                                                                  
      Act for publishing notice                                                                                                 
    · Makes notice distribution consistent across agencies                                                                      
    · Newspaper notices may be omitted for certain specialized                                                                  
      subject areas in which Internet notification would be                                                                     
      better suited                                                                                                             
    · Changes the requirements for distribution of the                                                                          
      Administrative Code to local government units                                                                             
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  noted  the savings  aren't  reflected in  the                                                              
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
MR.  TILLERY said  there is  a revised  fiscal  note indicating  a                                                              
$258,000  savings  and  it's  possible   it  wasn't  sent  to  the                                                              
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  confirmed they  hadn't  received the  revised                                                              
SENATOR LYMAN HOFFMAN pointed out  that one copy of the AAC should                                                              
be made  available at no  charge to cities  that request  one. The                                                              
state   would  still   realize  a   savings   if  copies   weren't                                                              
automatically sent to all communities.                                                                                          
TAPE 03-29, SIDE A                                                                                                            
5:05 pm                                                                                                                       
MR.  TILLERY  replied  there  are  three ways  to  get  copies.  A                                                              
community  could go  online and print  a copy  if Internet  access                                                              
were  available, or  a copy  could  be sent  electronically, or  a                                                              
paper copy could  be sent to the community. By  making communities                                                              
pay for  copies they hope  to give them  the incentive to  use the                                                              
most efficient alternative.                                                                                                     
SENATOR HOFFMAN said that wasn't his question.                                                                                  
MR.  TILLERY  replied  he  understood  the  question  to  ask  why                                                              
communities should pay.                                                                                                         
SENATOR HOFFMAN restated  his question and asked why  not mail one                                                              
free copy to  communities that request one and  eliminate the cost                                                              
associated   with   automatic   mailings   to   all   communities.                                                              
Additionally,  he  disagreed  with   charging  for  an  electronic                                                              
mailing. Charging communities for  a copy of the code is promoting                                                              
a  lack  of information  and  is  not a  desirable  public  policy                                                              
MR.  TILLERY replied  this approach  represents a  savings to  the                                                              
SENATOR HOFFMAN  said he represents  some 70 communities  and this                                                              
policy change would be a drastic mistake.                                                                                       
ROBERT PIERSON, Administrative Code  coordinator in the Lieutenant                                                              
Governor's Office,  said they are working toward  efficient online                                                              
communication.  He said  it's the quarterly  supplements  that are                                                              
sent to  communities that they  believe are frequently  discarded,                                                              
which is  a waste of  state funds. To  date they have  received no                                                              
negative comments  regarding the change,  but they don't  know how                                                              
many of the clerks have read their email outlining the change.                                                                  
The Administrative  Code is currently online, but  "it's not quite                                                              
perfected yet." They  would like to make improvements  "so that it                                                              
would be  not necessarily official,  but useful for 99  percent of                                                              
any kind of consultation  you would normally take on  a day to day                                                              
basis with the  Administrative Code." When legal  questions arise,                                                              
a city  clerk would consult a  city attorney. They  are continuing                                                              
to offer  the paper  copies because  there are  a few places  that                                                              
don't have Internet access.                                                                                                     
The contract  for publishing the  Administrative Code  will expire                                                              
at the end of  2003 and under current language the  state would be                                                              
required  to  buy   about  170  paper  copies   of  the  quarterly                                                              
supplements whether  they extend  the current contract  or request                                                              
proposals  for   a  new  one.   They  would  like   the  increased                                                              
flexibility  to  have a  mix  of  options  to negotiate  with  the                                                              
current publisher and for future contracts.                                                                                     
SENATOR  HOFFMAN  said if  they  were  really trying  to  increase                                                              
accessibility he couldn't  understand why there would  be a charge                                                              
for  electronic  copies.  The  proposed   system  would  offer  no                                                              
incentive  for moving  away  from a  paper  copy if  the city  was                                                              
forced to pay for an electronic copy as well.                                                                                   
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked for  verification  that the  electronic                                                              
copy would be available on a CD ROM and not via email.                                                                          
MR. PIERSON said that was the case.  The current cost for the four                                                              
quarterly supplements is $596 per  year and he didn't know whether                                                              
that would burden small communities or not.                                                                                     
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked what the price would be for a CD ROM.                                                                  
MR. PIERSON  said that  would be  negotiated with the  publishers.                                                              
Currently  there  is  a  CD  ROM   available  that  has  both  the                                                              
Administrative Code  and the statutes. He pointed  out that cities                                                              
are now paying for copies of the  statutes and he looks upon it as                                                              
an historical  accident that  the state is  still paying  for code                                                              
SENATOR  HOFFMAN  pointed  out  it  isn't  necessary  to  put  the                                                              
information on a  CD ROM. It could and should  be freely available                                                              
on the Internet.                                                                                                                
MARK  DAVIS,  Director  of Banking  Securities  and  Corporations,                                                              
testified  the bill  would  impact his  division  by allowing  for                                                              
notices regarding proposed regulations  to be made in a simplified                                                              
manner. This  is consistent  in the  trend in administrative  law,                                                              
which reduces  publication costs and uses  simplified notification                                                              
methods to reach individuals that  are interested in commenting on                                                              
proposed regulations.                                                                                                           
The proposed change in procedure  would probably save the division                                                              
$7,800 a year and is already being  used by the federal government                                                              
and  some  states.  Section  26 with  regard  to  securities,  and                                                              
section  1 with  respect  to the  revised Trust  Act  would be  of                                                              
particular impact to his division.                                                                                              
RANDY  REUDRICH   from  the  Alaska   Oil  and  Gas   Conservation                                                              
Commission testified  via teleconference  to advise that  the bill                                                              
would  save the  commission $20,000  a year  in publishing  costs.                                                              
Members  of   the  industry  exclusively  attend   the  commission                                                              
meetings and he does not believe  that the public notices increase                                                              
SENATOR  GRETCHEN GUESS  asked Mr.  Reudrich to  clarify that  the                                                              
commission  meetings weren't  held  exclusively  for industry  and                                                              
that they weren't prohibitive of others attending.                                                                              
MR.  REUDRICH   replied  the  industry,   the  media,   and  other                                                              
interested  parties  who  might attend  have  all  given  positive                                                              
feedback regarding short term updates available electronically.                                                                 
LINDA HALL, director of the Division  of Insurance, testified that                                                              
newspaper publications  for public notices have  been unsuccessful                                                              
for  the  division.   She  said  most  of  the   regulations  they                                                              
promulgate  are technical  in nature  and directed  at those  they                                                              
regulate.  The  division  currently  regulates  12,000  registered                                                              
insurance  companies and  just 11  are domiciled  in Alaska;  they                                                              
have  2,500  resident  licensees   and  over  12,000  non-resident                                                              
licensees.  This translates  to only  16 percent  of the  licensed                                                              
agents and one percent of the insurance  companies actually having                                                              
ready  access to  newspaper  publications.  She  observed the  act                                                              
doesn't prohibit  the division  from delivering publications  when                                                              
the matter is in the public interest.                                                                                           
Last year  the Division  of Insurance  spent $9,700 for  newspaper                                                              
advertising and they estimate this  change would save them $7,300.                                                              
They would  continue to do targeted  mailings because they  are an                                                              
effective way to get information out about upcoming hearings.                                                                   
Although she hasn't  been in the director position  very long, she                                                              
has attended  almost every  Division of  Insurance hearing  in the                                                              
last ten years and can attest that  they aren't widely attended by                                                              
the public, which means the money  spent on newspaper publications                                                              
have not been effective.                                                                                                        
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced he would hold SB 211 in committee.                                                                 
There  being no  further business  to come  before the  committee,                                                              
Chair Gary Stevens adjourned the meeting at 5:25 pm.                                                                            

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