Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/27/1995 02:30 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     SENATE TRANSPORTATION                                     
                         April 27, 1995                                        
                           2:30 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Steve Rieger, Chairman                                                
 Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chair                                              
 Senator Lyda Green                                                            
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Al Adams                                                              
 Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                    
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 42 am                                              
 Relating to regulation of water carriers serving Alaska.                      
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 41                                                 
 Relating to consideration of individual fishery quota shares block            
 proposals by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.                    
  PREVIOUS SENATE ACTION                                                       
 HJR 42 - No previous action to record.                                        
 HJR 41 - No previous action to record.                                        
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Paul Fuhs                                                                     
 Sealand Services                                                              
 10652 Porter Lane                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed HJR 42 am as necessary.                        
 Jack Phelps, Staff                                                            
 Representative Williams                                                       
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained HJR 41.                                        
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 95-10, SIDE A                                                            
             HJR 42 WATER CARRIERS SERVING ALASKA                          
 Number 014                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER called the Senate Transportation meeting to order             
 at 2:30 p.m. and introduced  HJR 42  as the first order of business           
 before the committee.                                                         
 PAUL FUHS, representing Sealand Services, explained that shippers,            
 municipalities, unions, truckers and the railroad all agree that              
 HJR 42 is needed.  The consumers and providers both consider HJR 42           
 a necessary part of regulation.  In response to Chairman Rieger,              
 Mr. Fuhs noted that because of a letter from Fairbanks distributors           
 the amendment was proposed and unanimously adopted on the House               
 floor.  The amendment changed the language on page 2, line 5 to               
 refer to the transfer of the regulatory authority not the                     
 regulatory system as in the original bill.                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked why water transportation was being transferred           
 from the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to the United States            
 Department of Transportation; will the U.S. Department of                     
 Transportation regulate the water transportation?  PAUL FUHS said             
 that the U.S. Department of Transportation would regulate the water           
 transportation; the ICC will be eliminated.  Mr. Fuhs offered to              
 discuss the economic concerns of HJR 42 and the reasons everyone              
 supports this legislation.                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR indicated that he had some concerns about this type            
 of regulated commerce.  He acknowledged that there are probably               
 some valid reasons to regulate this, but there are other reasons              
 that are frustrating.  Senator Taylor discussed the problems his              
 communities face since they are totally dependent on air and water;           
 the high cost of water and air transportation.  He did not want to            
 support the process that would continue the high air and water                
 transportation rates in his communities.                                      
 Number 095                                                                    
 PAUL FUHS pointed out that the Chamber of Commerce, and                       
 distributors such as Anchorage Cold Storage, and other customers              
 believe that this bill would maintain lower prices.  With complete            
 deregulation, there could be a battle of the Titans in which one              
 company puts another out of business.  The results of such a battle           
 would be astronomical rates similar to those in Southeast with one            
 air carrier.  For that reason, there is support for this.  Mr. Fuhs           
 offered to speak with Senator Taylor further regarding this issue.            
 SENATOR GREEN moved that HJR 42 am be moved out of committee with             
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
       HJR 41 JONES ACT EXEMPTION FOR BULK COMMODITIES                       
 Number 109                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced  HJR 41  as the next order of business             
 before the committee.                                                         
 JACK PHELPS, staff to Representative Williams, stated that the                
 Jones Act and the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 discriminate against            
 the State of Alaska.  The Jones Act contains a provision which                
 requires the movement of goods and people between U.S. ports to be            
 transported on vessels that are manufactured in the U.S. with U.S.            
 crews.  Mr. Phelps explained that Alaska becomes affected by the              
 Jones Act when Alaska ships Alaskan commodities between Alaskan               
 ports and the West Coast or Hawaiian ports.  HJR 41 was the result            
 of the interest of the growing coal industry in Alaska.  Currently,           
 Alaska would be non-competitive to foreign coal because of the                
 Jones Act.  HJR 41 requests that Congress create an exemption from            
 the Jones Act for bulk commodities being shipped from Alaska.  He             
 pointed out that other bulk commodities in Alaska could also be               
 positively affected by this resolution.  Quarried rock could be one           
 of those bulk commodities that could be positively affected.                  
 Number 147                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR moved that HJR 41 be moved out of committee with               
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objections, it was so                 
 There being no further business before the committee, the meeting             
 adjourned at 2:40 p.m.                                                        

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