Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

04/21/2005 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 127 PFD:PEACE CORPS/OLYMPIAN/SANCTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 214 ANATOMICAL GIFTS & REGISTRY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 214(STA) Out of Committee
+ HB 178 SPECIAL REQUEST LICENSE PLATES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 178(STA) am Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 21, 2005                                                                                         
                           3:41 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault, Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                         
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 214(HES)                                                                                                  
"An  Act relating  to anatomical  gifts and  the anatomical  gift                                                               
donor registry program."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SCS CSHB 214(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 127(FIN) am                                                                                               
"An Act  relating to service  in the  peace corps and  members of                                                               
the United  States Olympic  Team as  allowable absences  from the                                                               
state for  purposes of eligibility  for permanent  fund dividends                                                               
and to the period for filing  an application for a permanent fund                                                               
dividend;  authorizing   the  Department  of  Revenue   to  issue                                                               
administrative    orders   imposing    sanctions   for    certain                                                               
misrepresentations or other actions  concerning eligibility for a                                                               
permanent fund  dividend and providing for  administrative appeal                                                               
of those orders; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 178(STA) am                                                                                               
"An Act  relating to special  motor vehicle  registration plates;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSHB 178(STA)am OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 214                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ANATOMICAL GIFTS & REGISTRY                                                                                        
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) McGuire                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
03/09/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/09/05       (H)       STA, HES                                                                                               
03/31/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/31/05       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/31/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/01/05       (H)       STA RPT 3DP 2AM                                                                                        
04/01/05       (H)       DP: RAMRAS, ELKINS, SEATON;                                                                            
04/01/05       (H)       AM: LYNN, GATTO                                                                                        
04/05/05       (H)       HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/05/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 214(HES) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/05/05       (H)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
04/07/05       (H)       HES RPT CS(HES) 5DP 2NR                                                                                
04/07/05       (H)       DP: ANDERSON, KOHRING, McGuire, SEATON,                                                                
                         WILSON;                                                                                                
04/07/05       (H)       NR: CISSNA, GARDNER                                                                                    
04/12/05       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/12/05       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 214(HES)                                                                                 
04/13/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/13/05       (S)       STA, HES                                                                                               
04/21/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 127                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PFD:PEACE CORPS/OLYMPIAN/SANCTIONS                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) McGuire                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
02/04/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/04/05       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
03/03/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/03/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/03/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/05/05       (H)       STA AT 9:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/05/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 127(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/05/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/09/05       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) NT  5DP                                                                                
03/09/05       (H)       DP: LYNN, GATTO, RAMRAS, GRUENBERG,                                                                    
                         SEATON                                                                                                 
03/29/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/29/05       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
03/30/05       (H)       FIN AT 9:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/30/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 127(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/30/05       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/01/05       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 7DP 1NR                                                                             
04/01/05       (H)       DP: HAWKER, STOLTZE, JOULE, CROFT,                                                                     
                         MOSES, FOSTER, MEYER;                                                                                  
04/01/05       (H)       NR: KELLY                                                                                              
04/01/05       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/01/05       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 127(FIN) AM                                                                              
04/04/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/04/05       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
04/21/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 178                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SPECIAL REQUEST LICENSE PLATES                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) OLSON                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
02/25/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/25/05       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
03/17/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/17/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 178(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/17/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/18/05       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) 4DP 1DNP 2NR                                                                           
03/18/05       (H)       DP: GRUENBERG, ELKINS, RAMRAS, SEATON;                                                                 
03/18/05       (H)       DNP: GATTO;                                                                                            
03/18/05       (H)       NR: GARDNER, LYNN                                                                                      
03/30/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/30/05       (H)       <Bill Hearing Postponed>                                                                               
03/31/05       (H)       FIN AT 9:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/31/05       (S)       PUBLIC EMPLOYEE/TEACHER RETIREMENT                                                                     
04/01/05       (H)       FIN AT 9:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/01/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 178(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/01/05       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/04/05       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) 5DP 1NR                                                                                
04/04/05       (H)       DP: FOSTER, STOLTZE, HOLM, MEYER,                                                                      
                         CHENAULT;                                                                                              
04/04/05       (H)       NR: KELLY                                                                                              
04/08/05       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/08/05       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 178(STA) AM                                                                              
04/11/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/11/05       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
04/21/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                                    
Alaska Capitol Building                                                                                                         
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 214 and HB 127                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Bruce Zalneraitis                                                                                                               
Life Alaska Donor Services                                                                                                      
P.O. Box 231809                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Available for questions on HB 214                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Sue Hex                                                                                                                         
Emergency Medical Services Coordinator                                                                                          
Kenai, AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 214                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Pam Randles                                                                                                                     
Haines, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 127                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Russ Walker                                                                                                                     
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 127                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Brian Brubaker                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 127                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Elizabeth Cuadra                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 127                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Konrad Jackson,                                                                                                                 
Staff to Representative Kurt Olson                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 178 for sponsor                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Duanne Bannock, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Motor Vehicles                                                                                                      
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 178                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GENE THERRIAULT called the Senate State Affairs Standing                                                                
Committee meeting to order at 3:41:10 PM. Present were Senators                                                               
Elton, Wagoner, Huggins, Davis, and Chair Therriault.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
           CSHB 214(HES)-ANATOMICAL GIFTS & REGISTRY                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GENE THERRIAULT  announced HB 214 to be the  first order of                                                               
business.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LESIL McGuire,  Sponsor,  described HB  214 as  a                                                               
clean-up bill for  the Anatomical Gifts Registry  Act passed last                                                               
year. First, it broadens the  definition of a technician to match                                                               
the federal definition. A technician  is the person who makes the                                                               
actual organ and tissue collection.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Next,  the  definition  of a  procurement  organization  was  too                                                               
narrow in that it excluded the  local organ and tissue bank, Life                                                               
Alaska.  We  want  them  to  have control  and  access  over  the                                                               
registry that benefits Alaskans, she said.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The  reporting requirements  relating to  donor instructions  and                                                               
wishes were too  cumbersome for first responders so  that duty is                                                               
transferred  to dispatch.  That  makes sense,  she said,  because                                                               
that's  when  much  of  the   information  about  the  victim  is                                                               
communicated.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Finally,  she  asked  the committee  to  consider  two  technical                                                               
amendments.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:44:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT labeled \I.1 Amendment 1 and \I.2 Amendment 2.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGuire  said  the definition  of  "hospital"  is                                                               
expanded to include a rural clinic, a mortuary, or a hospice.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Amendment 2  makes it clear  that first responders  can designate                                                               
the local dispatch  center or public safety  answering point that                                                               
would notify  the procurement organization.  The intention  is to                                                               
make sure that  the information is transferred  quickly enough to                                                               
allow time to harvest the tissue.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT  moved Amendment 1.  There was no  objection and                                                               
it was adopted.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                      24-LS0410\I.1                                                             
                                                         Bannister                                                              
                                                          11/22/05                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                      A M E N D M E N T 1                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                                                                                                           
     TO:  CSHB 214(HES)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 18, following "hospital":                                                                                          
     Insert ", a rural clinic, a mortuary, a hospice,"                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 30, following "hospital":                                                                                          
     Insert ", rural clinic, mortuary, or hospice"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Page 3, line 1:                                                                                                                 
     Delete "is a donor, the hospital"                                                                                          
     Insert ", rural clinic, mortuary, or hospice is a donor,                                                               
the hospital, rural clinic, mortuary, or hospice"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Page 3, line 2, following "hospital":                                                                                           
     Insert ", rural clinic, mortuary, or hospice"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT moved Amendment 2. There was no objection and                                                                  
it was adopted.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                      24-LS0410\I.2                                                             
                                                         Bannister                                                              
                                                          11/22/05                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                      A M E N D M E N T 2                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                                                                                                           
     TO:  CSHB 214(HES)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 28, following "section":                                                                                       
     Insert "or a designee of the persons identified in (d)(1)                                                              
of this section"                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT opened public testimony                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:47:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUE HEX, Kenai Peninsula  Emergency Medical Services Coordinator,                                                               
stated  support for  the bill  and the  amendments. It  will work                                                               
much better  at the responder  level and matches what  is ongoing                                                               
in the field, she emphasized.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There were no further questions or testimony.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT noted the fiscal notes and asked for a motion.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:49:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THOMAS WAGONER  motioned to report SCS  CSHB 214(STA) and                                                               
attached  fiscal  notes  with individual  recommendations.  There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
       CSHB 127(FIN)am-PFD:PEACE CORPS/OLYMPIAN/SANCTIONS                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   GENE  THERRIAULT   announced  HB   127  to   be  up   for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:50:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LESIL McGuire explained  that HB 127 would restore                                                               
Peace Corps  volunteers and  Olympians to  the list  of allowable                                                               
absences  for  receipt  of  the   Permanent  Fund  dividend.  She                                                               
described the issue as a passion of hers.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Those two groups had allowable absences  put into law in 1983 and                                                               
had  them removed  16 years  later. She  said she  introduced the                                                               
bill as  a matter of  policy because she  wanted to hear  why the                                                               
legislature  decided to  remove  the exemptions  and because  she                                                               
believes that the work the groups  do is of great value to Alaska                                                               
and to the country.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Although it's a  different type of service, it's  fair to compare                                                               
service in the Peace Corps  with military service, she said. It's                                                               
work   that  promotes   democracy  in   a  non-wartime   context.                                                               
Volunteers  help people  stabilize  water and  sewer systems  and                                                               
build  economies.  They do  the  kinds  of  things that  help  to                                                               
prevent harmful dictatorships from coming into power.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
These  are  Alaskan ambassadors  who  go  out and  broaden  their                                                               
horizons and then return to the  state in large numbers to enrich                                                               
the lives of all Alaskans.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The bill was amended on the  House floor to include Olympians and                                                               
it  received  overwhelming  bipartisan support.  The  reason  for                                                               
including  Olympic athletes  is  that it  is  a narrow  definable                                                               
category of individuals.  They are Alaskans who  return to Alaska                                                               
and while they are away  they serve as volunteers and ambassadors                                                               
of Alaska  and the United States.  When they return to  the state                                                               
they bring back the value of their accomplishments.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:57:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The  second  half of  the  bill  proposes  to  add tools  to  the                                                               
Department  of Revenue  (DOR) tool  belt in  an effort  to reduce                                                               
dividend  fraud.  If fraud  is  evidenced,  DOR could  impose  an                                                               
immediate civil  fine of up  to $3,000  without the high  cost of                                                               
going  to court.  An  additional  penalty would  be  the loss  of                                                               
eligibility to receive the five subsequent dividends.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The   proposed  penalty   would  strengthen   DOR's  ability   to                                                               
investigate  fraud  associated  with  the  dividend  as  well  as                                                               
recapture revenue for the Permanent Fund.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
At most there have been 42  Peace Corps volunteers from Alaska at                                                               
any  one  time  and  just 8  Olympians.  The  proposed  exemption                                                               
wouldn't have  a large impact on  the dividend yet the  return to                                                               
Alaska would be great, she concluded.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:59:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THOMAS  WAGONER commented  the committee heard  a similar                                                               
bill that related to U.S. Foreign Service workers.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT informed  him  that SB  59  is Senator  Dyson's                                                               
bill. It was heard and is held in committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  stated  that   the  part  that  included                                                               
Foreign Service workers  was stripped from HB 127  in House State                                                               
Affairs and not  reinstituted on the House  floor. The discussion                                                               
centered on the  argument that entering the  U.S. Foreign Service                                                               
is a career decision.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:01:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT said  he continued  to be  troubled at  how you                                                               
draw  the line  at Peace  Corps  volunteers because  there is  no                                                               
allowable absence for a myriad  of other worthwhile volunteer and                                                               
exchange positions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He  could   see  the  benefit   to  sending  Alaskans   to  staff                                                               
congressional  offices, but  even though  Peace Corps  service is                                                               
beneficial to the individual he  didn't see the direct benefit to                                                               
the state.  It would  be difficult  to draw  the line  to include                                                               
them and exclude others, he said.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  opined Peace Corp  volunteers undoubtedly                                                               
benefit  Alaska  on  two  fronts.   First  they  are  not  unlike                                                               
congressional staffers  who meet  with and influence  people from                                                               
all over the  world. Peace Corps volunteers do the  same thing on                                                               
arguably a  broader level  in terms  of the  scope of  the world.                                                               
Second, when  Peace Corps volunteers  return home they  bring the                                                               
value of  that experience  home. They return  to Alaska  and fill                                                               
much  needed   professional  positions   such  as   teaching  and                                                               
medicine.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There is  no way to justify  including every single group  in the                                                               
list  of allowable  absences, but  these  two deserve  exemption.                                                               
First, you can't  argue that there isn't a benefit  to Alaska and                                                               
second, they were included originally.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WAGONER asked  Senator  Huggins whether  serving in  the                                                               
Peace Corps didn't suffice for military service at one point.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CHARILIE HUGGINS responded he wasn't sure.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS  expressed  the  same  reservations  as  Senator                                                               
Therriault. He  suggested the  window might  already be  too wide                                                               
and he would prefer to narrow it rather than opening it wider.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE   responded  she  could   understand  his                                                               
philosophical background and she is  a co-sponsor to a House bill                                                               
that  would put  money received  during an  allowable absence  in                                                               
trust until  the person returned  to Alaska. Including  these two                                                               
groups is a matter of parity, she said.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS said he takes  comfort in knowing that anyone who                                                               
is presently in the Peace Corps knew the rules when they joined.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KIM ELTON  suggested  this  isn't so  much  a matter  of                                                               
opening the window  as it's correcting a  mistake the legislature                                                               
made several years ago. Peace  Corps volunteers were eligible and                                                               
for  an inexplicable  reason the  eligibility  was removed.  This                                                               
restores  a right  and that's  the primary  reason he  encourages                                                               
support for the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The only  way you'd qualify  for the dividend  is if you  were an                                                               
Alaskan  who volunteered.  Also,  Peace Corps  volunteers make  a                                                               
very  small  stipend  and  receiving  the  dividend  may  make  a                                                               
difference in paying off a small  debt or coming home for a visit                                                               
with family.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:14:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  reviewed  several emails  then  discussed  the                                                               
living  allowance and  $6,000 separation  stipend each  volunteer                                                               
receives.  Some emails  supported  and some  opposed the  measure                                                               
showing that even the volunteers are  split on the issue. He said                                                               
he'd like  to know why  some volunteers portray the  allowance as                                                               
not  enough  to  get  by  while  others  say  it's  intentionally                                                               
designed  to allow  you  to live  at a  calculated  level in  the                                                               
society in which you are serving.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:17:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BETTYE DAVIS  pointed out  the  Permanent Fund  dividend                                                               
isn't  based on  how  much you  make or  don't  make. The  $6,000                                                               
stipend shouldn't even be taken into consideration.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  agreed  the   dividend  is  available  to  all                                                               
Alaskans  who  meet  certain  residency  requirements.  But  just                                                               
because you haven't met those  requirements for several years and                                                               
are  excluded from  receiving a  dividend doesn't  mean that  you                                                               
have been  deemed not to be  an Alaska resident. It  simply means                                                               
you didn't meet the residency requirements.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:18:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT opened public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PAM  RANDLES,  Haines resident,  advised  she  sent a  supporting                                                               
letter to  the committee.  She had been  a Peace  Corps volunteer                                                               
and has been a Peace Corps trainer for a number of years.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
She made  several points.  The Peace  Corps is  part of  the U.S.                                                               
government,  which draws  a line  between Peace  Corps volunteers                                                               
and missionaries  from private organizations. Wages  are based on                                                               
annual cost  of living  surveys that are  sent to  Congress. Wage                                                               
adjustments aren't made quickly so  if there's a lot of inflation                                                               
in a country the volunteer's wage  is unlikely to keep pace. When                                                               
volunteers say  they were  comfortable, they're  probably telling                                                               
the  truth and  when some  say  they barely  scraped by,  they're                                                               
probably telling the truth as well.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The Peace Corps has three  goals: technical assistance for people                                                               
in  the  host country;  cultural  exchange;  bringing skills  and                                                               
knowledge home.  Volunteers bring  skills home and  serve various                                                               
Alaskan communities well.  She asked the committee  to honor that                                                               
service by restoring the dividend.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:22:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RUSS  WALKER, Anchorage,  said he  served in  the Peace  Corps in                                                               
Africa   from  1999-2001.   Peace  Corps   volunteers  are   very                                                               
responsive in  clarifying where we  stand in the world  and where                                                               
Alaska  is with  respect to  its natural  resources. In  addition                                                               
it's high-risk service and the volunteers are in harms way.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
In closing he quoted a portion  of President Bush's 2002 State of                                                               
the  Union   address  to  demonstrate  his   view  regarding  the                                                               
importance of  the Peace Corps  and its volunteers  who represent                                                               
the  United States  and Alaska  and bring  back a  great deal  to                                                               
their home communities.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:31:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  BRUBAKER, Anchorage,  said his  wife was  a member  of the                                                               
Peace Corps  and he's  had the  pleasure of  knowing a  number of                                                               
volunteers. He  said the  volunteers return  to Alaska  and offer                                                               
service to  their community and  bring an understanding  of other                                                               
cultures. Alaskans have a special  spirit and are always ready to                                                               
help people in  need. These volunteers are  serving their country                                                               
and others  in need. That  deserves our respect  and recognition,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:33:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELIZABETH CUADRA, Juneau, advised that  her letter is in the bill                                                               
packet. She  served in the  Peace Corps after  retirement working                                                               
with farmers  as a  horticultural extension  agent in  Nepal. Her                                                               
living  allowance  was  $150  per   month  and  she  received  an                                                               
adjustment allowance when she returned home.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The  second year  she  was  away she  couldn't  get her  dividend                                                               
because the 1998 legislature struck  Peace Corps service from the                                                               
list of allowable absences. This was  a big mistake and she hopes                                                               
this legislature will remedy that.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
You can draw a bright  line distinguishing Peace Corps volunteers                                                               
and  the military  from people  in  CARE, Save  the Children,  or                                                               
church  missionary groups,  she asserted.  The Peace  Corps is  a                                                               
part of  the U.S.  government and  volunteers undergo  risks that                                                               
are similar to the military.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The University  of Alaska Fairbanks recognized  the importance of                                                               
the Peace  Corps and set  up two masters  international programs.                                                               
Peace Corps  service is considered  a learning experience  to the                                                               
extent that  it is  made part  of a  masters program.  Tuition is                                                               
deferred  for  two  years  and  a certain  amount  of  credit  is                                                               
awarded.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
She  gave   several  examples  of  the   outreach  programs  that                                                               
volunteers  participated  in to  fulfill  the  third Peace  Corps                                                               
goal, which  is bringing skills  and knowledge home. In  one year                                                               
here in Juneau she and other  volunteers visited 60 to 70 classes                                                               
to give lectures.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:44:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT said  the concept  of spreading  democracy does                                                               
mean something.  He described  a Rotary  program and  offered the                                                               
opinion  that other  than  the fact  that the  Peace  Corps is  a                                                               
government sponsored program it's  difficult to differentiate and                                                               
evaluate  the benefit  that Alaskans  do  or don't  get from  the                                                               
different programs.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. CUADRA  responded she'd  like to see  more programs  like the                                                               
one he described.  She'd also support a  requirement for students                                                               
graduating from  high school  to spend one  year in  a developing                                                               
country. She suggested they would  return home as better citizens                                                               
of their  community and  state just  like Peace  Corps volunteers                                                               
do.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT said  if the  government  required the  service                                                               
there would  be an  allowable absence. That's  not the  case; the                                                               
program  is voluntary  just like  other  worthwhile programs.  He                                                               
questioned how  you could draw the  line and include one  and not                                                               
the other.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CUADRA asked  if serving  in  the National  Guard, the  Army                                                               
Reserve, or the military is voluntary.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT replied it is  voluntary, but he believes it's a                                                               
requirement of  this country  that we have  those types  of armed                                                               
forces and that's how he differentiates.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS   thanked  Ms.   Cuadra  for  her   service  and                                                               
apologized  for the  fact that  she lost  her dividend  after she                                                               
joined the  Peace Corps.  He then reiterated  the view  that he's                                                               
not  inclined to  open  the  window wider.  Rules  are rules  and                                                               
volunteers know  what they  are when  they sign  up. We'd  all be                                                               
better served  if we recognize that  rules are for all  of us, he                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT asked about the graduate program web site.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. CUADRA described how to navigate  the Peace Corps web site to                                                               
learn about the graduate program offered by UAF.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT said he'd like to look at that.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He  asked  Representative  McGuire  if historical  lists  of  the                                                               
volunteers from  Alaska are  available. He'd  like to  review the                                                               
trend for  volunteering and to  learn more about the  stipend. In                                                               
addition  he was  curious whether  Senator  Dyson's bill  dealing                                                               
with U.S.  Foreign Service agents' eligibility  for the Permanent                                                               
Fund was initially part of this bill.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE McGuire explained that  Senator Dyson asked her to                                                               
include the U.S. Foreign Service and she did so.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT said  he would discuss the  various options with                                                               
Senator Dyson before moving forward.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGuire  asked  the committee  to  consider  that                                                               
Peace  Corps  volunteers  are  different   than  other  types  of                                                               
volunteers. When Peace Corps volunteers  sign up for service they                                                               
take  an  oath that  isn't  revocable  regardless of  changes  in                                                               
circumstance,  instability, and/or  insurrection. Also,  when the                                                               
President of  the United States  recognizes the Peace Corps  as a                                                               
service to  the country it  raises it  to a different  level. The                                                               
structure  of  the  program,  the  history  and  purpose  of  its                                                               
creation,  and  the  mission  that   it  has  clearly  makes  the                                                               
difference.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  remarked  if  the  President  were  asked,  he                                                               
probably wouldn't say  that the omission of  mentioning the other                                                               
programs would mean that they are a lesser service.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE answered, "I don't know that."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:53:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT set CSHB 127(FIN)am aside.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT called a break from 4:53:33 PM to 5:00:16 PM.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
        CSHB 178(STA) am -SPECIAL REQUEST LICENSE PLATES                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:00:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   GENE  THERRIAULT   announced  HB   178  to   be  up   for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KONRAD  JACKSON, Staff  to Representative  Kurt Olson,  explained                                                               
that HB 178  deals with special request license  plates. With few                                                               
exceptions, all non-commercial  vehicles can display non-standard                                                               
license plates and under HB 178  all license plates would be made                                                               
available for use on all motor vehicles.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Certain plates would continue  to carry eligibility requirements.                                                               
Those  include plates  for: Alaska  Army National  Guard members,                                                               
Purple Heart recipients, and Veterans.  Fees for specialty plates                                                               
would be collected in addition to the current registration fees.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT noted  the bill  was amended  to allow  elected                                                               
state  officials  to  retain   their  registration  plates  after                                                               
expiration.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JACKSON explained  that  the concern  is  that the  statutes                                                               
don't  allow  elected  state   officials  to  retain  legislative                                                               
license plates that are expired.  After speaking with Mr. Bannock                                                               
and Ms.  Varni, he learned  that there  had never been  a problem                                                               
and neither expressed  an interest in getting  the expired plates                                                               
back.  Nonetheless  the  bill  was amended  in  the  House  State                                                               
Affairs Committee as a point of clarification.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT asked  Mr. Bannock for the  department's view on                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DUANNE BANNOCK, Director, Division  of Motor Vehicles, Department                                                               
of Administration, announced the  division cheerfully endorses HB                                                               
178. It  would be  easier to meet  internal goals  and objectives                                                               
while meeting the number one goal of being customer friendly.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT questioned  why  just  certain categories  were                                                               
included for specialty plates.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BANNOCK responded  it's  probably  because the  designations                                                               
were made  at different  times. Historically  commercial vehicles                                                               
were identified  as such  by the  final two  letters of  a seven-                                                               
digit license  plate. Today  the system  only allows  a six-digit                                                               
license plate and the numbers or  letters are tied to the vehicle                                                               
registration regardless of the combination.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT   asked  if  he   was  also   representing  the                                                               
Department of  Public Safety  and whether  the Troopers  care one                                                               
way or another.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK responded  he would never be so bold  as to speak for                                                               
another   department,   but   in  ongoing   discussions   between                                                               
departments it's clear  that the license plate  letter and number                                                               
combination  is  used to  identify  the  owner and  the  physical                                                               
description  of the  vehicle. The  color and  style of  the plate                                                               
makes no difference.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS asked if  the bill would make it possible                                                               
for legislative  plates to be  retained on  the mantel or  on the                                                               
vehicle.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK  replied the bill would  make it legal to  retain the                                                               
expired  legislative plate  on the  mantle.  Clearly the  expired                                                               
license plate could not be retained on the vehicle.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked: "Do we  presently, in the State of Alaska,                                                               
have  any sort  of revenue  from  license plates  kind of  things                                                               
that's designated to any sort of fund source?"                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BANNOCK  answered   yes,  but  he  wouldn't   use  the  word                                                               
"designated."  The revenue  from the  sale of  several styles  of                                                               
license  plates is  accounted for  separately.  He described  the                                                               
programs for  the veteran's commemorative plates,  the University                                                               
of Alaska  plates, and the  Children's Trust (KID) plates  all of                                                               
which  have a  one-time up-front  fee followed  by a  special fee                                                               
when the vehicle is re-registered.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:10:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS asked  for  an estimate  of  the annual  revenue                                                               
collected on each those specialty plates.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BANNOCK said  the commemorative  veteran plate  is the  most                                                               
recent and  when he last checked  eight plates had been  sold for                                                               
$800. He  estimated close to 600  KID plates had been  sold. They                                                               
have a  one-time fee  of $50,  which would  amount to  $3,000. He                                                               
didn't have information on the University of Alaska plates.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THERRIAULT questioned  whether  the  specialty plates  are                                                               
standard in size.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK  explained that license plate  size is just one  of a                                                               
number of nationwide standards.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT asked if the word "Alaska" is the same size on                                                                 
all plates.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK said he thought so.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THERRIAULT noted the bill had one fiscal note and asked                                                                   
for the will of the committee.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER motioned to report CSHB 178(STA)am and attached                                                                 
fiscal note from committee with individual recommendations.                                                                     
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:13:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Therriault adjourned the meeting at 5:14:02 PM.                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects