Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/27/1995 02:30 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 ordered. 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 ordered. There being no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:40 p.m.