Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/15/2000 09:20 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 311                                                                                                            
     "An Act eliminating a requirement that a social                                                                            
     security number be provided by an applicant for a                                                                          
     hunting or sport fishing license or tag."                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN  COGHILL, SPONSOR testified  in support o                                                                   
HB  311. The  legislation  would  repeal the  requirement  to                                                                   
provide a social security number  on hunting or sport fishing                                                                   
licenses or  tags. He observed  that there is a  larger issue                                                                   
regarding   the   use   of  social   security   numbers   for                                                                   
identification.  He observed  that federal  law requires  the                                                                   
use  of social  security numbers  for a  number of  documents                                                                   
including recreational  licenses. He  suggested that  the use                                                                   
of  social  security  numbers  on hunting  or  sport  fishing                                                                   
licenses or  tags is less secure  than on other  records such                                                                   
as marriage licenses. The federal  code does not specifically                                                                   
identify that licenses being addressed.                                                                                         
Representative  Coghill  referred to  a memorandum  by  Terry                                                                   
Lauterbach  dated March  23, 1999.  Ms. Lauterbach  concluded                                                                   
that  the  legislation  could jeopardize  federal  funds  for                                                                   
child   enforcement.  He   noted  that   other  states   have                                                                   
challenged the  federal requirement without  consequences. He                                                                   
observed  that  "recreational license  "  is  not defined  in                                                                   
federal  code.  He suggested  that  the  federal  requirement                                                                   
could be  challenged on the  basis of security.  Recreational                                                                   
licenses are sold  in a number of businesses in  the state of                                                                   
Alaska. He observed that the effective  date would be January                                                                   
1, 2001.  He maintained  that  it would be  easier to  obtain                                                                   
social  security numbers  from hunting  and fishing  licenses                                                                   
than from a marriage or driver's license.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Therriault  observed that  cases of stolen  identity                                                                   
have occurred through the use  of social security numbers. It                                                                   
can be  difficult and  expensive to  straighten out  cases of                                                                   
stolen identity.                                                                                                                
Representative  J.  Davies  observed   that  social  security                                                                   
numbers  were  added on  hunting  and fishing  licenses  when                                                                   
state welfare  reform legislation was updated  to comply with                                                                   
federal  code.  He expressed  concern  that  overturning  the                                                                   
federal requirement would create difficulty.                                                                                    
Co-Chair Therriault  observed that the original  legislation,                                                                   
which was passed, to come into  compliance had a sunset date.                                                                   
(TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00 - 121, SIDE 2)                                                                                           
Co-Chair Therriault noted that  states that have not included                                                                   
hunting and fishing licenses did not lose funds.                                                                                
Representative Coghill  spoke in support of  the legislation.                                                                   
He noted  that the  whole issue  has to  be revisited  in the                                                                   
next year  under the  current statute.  He maintained  that a                                                                   
challenge   to  the   federal  requirement   is  worthy   and                                                                   
Vice Chair Bunde stated that he  knows someone who had his or                                                                   
her  identity  stolen  through  his or  her  social  security                                                                   
number. He observed  that the person's credit  was negatively                                                                   
impacted for  five years. While  he acknowledged  the problem                                                                   
he expressed concern  that the legislation is  "like plugging                                                                   
a hole  in a dike."  He suggested that  it is easy  to obtain                                                                   
social security numbers  in a variety a ways.  He stated that                                                                   
he would  support the proposal  if it wouldn't result  in the                                                                   
loss of federal funds. He added  that social security numbers                                                                   
on hunting  and fishing licenses  has assisted  child support                                                                   
Representative  Austerman  observed that  there  is a  bigger                                                                   
long-term  issue.  He  referred  to  the  memorandum  by  Ms.                                                                   
Lauterbach   and  noted   that  funds   could  be   affected.                                                                   
Representative  Coghill  acknowledged  that  the  legislation                                                                   
would not  resolve the  greater problem  [of identity  theft]                                                                   
but  emphasized  that the  dialog  needs  to be  started.  He                                                                   
maintained that the challenge  is worthy and pointed out that                                                                   
there is a security issue.                                                                                                      
Representative Coghill maintained  that the legislation would                                                                   
be a vote of confidence in the  people of Alaska. He stressed                                                                   
that the  federal government would  assume that the  state of                                                                   
Alaska is  willing to incorporate  the information  without a                                                                   
Representative Phillips  questioned the impact  to the state.                                                                   
She observed that the Department  of Fish and Game would have                                                                   
costs  associated  with  changing forms.  She  stressed  that                                                                   
there  is no way  to assure  safety  in this day  and age  of                                                                   
Representative Coghill  observed that the effective  date was                                                                   
chosen  to  allow  the  department to  print  forms  for  the                                                                   
following year without additional cost.                                                                                         
In  response  to  a  question  by  Representative  Austerman,                                                                   
Representative  Coghill  pointed out  that  inclusion of  the                                                                   
social security number is mandatory.                                                                                            
Representative J. Davies acknowledged  that identity theft is                                                                   
a problem, but  did not think the legislation was  the way to                                                                   
solve  the problem.  He observed  that  there are  businesses                                                                   
that  will research  a person's  social  security number  and                                                                   
other  financial information  for $35  dollars. He  expressed                                                                   
concern that TANF  and other federal funds could  be lost. He                                                                   
observed  that   other  states  have  begun   challenges  and                                                                   
recommended that  the state of  Alaska wait to see  where the                                                                   
challenges go  or at least get  an opinion from  the Attorney                                                                   
DENNY KAY  WEATHERS, ANCHORAGE  testified via  teleconference                                                                   
in  support of  the legislation.  She observed  that her  son                                                                   
lost a  piece of identification  that was  found and  used to                                                                   
run up  phone charges.  She does not  have a social  security                                                                   
number and  is not  employed. She pointed  out that  a social                                                                   
security  number  is  only required  for  employment  by  the                                                                   
federal  government, however  the  state  of Alaska  requires                                                                   
social  security  numbers  (SSN)   for  hunting  and  fishing                                                                   
licenses. She  stressed that  non-residents are not  required                                                                   
to have a  social security number. She provided  members with                                                                   
CRS  Report  for  Congress, November  21,  1991,  The  Social                                                                 
Security   Number:   Chronology   of   Federal   Developments                                                                 
Affecting Its  Use (copy on  file). She reviewed  the report.                                                                 
The federal Tax  Reform Act of 1976 authorizes  states to use                                                                   
Social  security  numbers  in   administration  of  any  tax,                                                                   
general public assistance, driver's  license or motor vehicle                                                                   
registration law and to require  individuals affected by such                                                                   
laws  to furnish  their  SSNs  to  the states.  In  addition,                                                                   
states  are permitted  to  use  Social security  numbers  for                                                                   
requests for  information from any agency  operating pursuant                                                                   
to the  Aid to Families  with Dependent Children  program and                                                                   
the  Child Support  and Establishment  of Paternity  program.                                                                   
The  Commercial Motor  Vehicle Safety  Act of  1986 gave  the                                                                   
secretary of Transportation authority  to require that states                                                                   
to include a SSN on commercial vehicle licenses.                                                                                
Ms. Weathers  stressed that SSN  information was  intended to                                                                   
be  confidential. She  observed  that SSNs  are required  for                                                                   
commercial  fishing permits.  Fishing tenders  come from  all                                                                   
over. Commercial  fishermen  are required  to give their  SSN                                                                   
and name to fish tenders.                                                                                                       
Ms.  Weathers  continued  support  for  a  challenge  to  the                                                                   
federal requirement  to include social security  numbers. She                                                                   
observed  that  other  states  are  challenging  the  federal                                                                   
mandate  for  inclusion  of  Social   security  numbers.  She                                                                   
observed that  there are challenges  in the states  of Idaho,                                                                   
New Mexico, Michigan,  Montana and North Carolina.  She added                                                                   
that  some individuals  do  not  give their  Social  security                                                                   
numbers on religious  basis. She concluded that  section 3 of                                                                   
the  Statehood  Act states  that  anything repugnant  to  the                                                                   
United  States   Constitution  or   the  principals   of  the                                                                   
Declaration of Independence would  be unlawful. She concluded                                                                   
that allowing  the federal  government  to legislate  for the                                                                   
state is against these principals.  She maintained that there                                                                   
are no federal  laws requiring social security  numbers, only                                                                   
federal mandates.                                                                                                               
Ms.  Weathers quoted  Article I,  Section 2  state of  Alaska                                                                   
Constitution:  "All  political   power  is  inherent  in  the                                                                   
people.  All  government  originates   with  the  people,  is                                                                   
founded upon  their will only,  and is instituted  solely for                                                                   
the  good  of   the  people  as  a  whole."   She  urged  the                                                                   
legislature  to  uphold the  people's  right  to not  have  a                                                                   
social security number.                                                                                                         
LARRY  PERSILY, DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF  REVENUE                                                                   
testified  in opposition  to  HB 311.  He  observed that  the                                                                   
Child  Support Enforcement  Division statutes  sunset in  the                                                                   
next year. He stressed that there  is legislation in Congress                                                                   
to overturn requirements  for SSN on hunting  and fishing and                                                                   
recreational licenses.  He suggested that a  resolution could                                                                   
be passed  requesting Congress  to overturn the  requirement.                                                                   
He  acknowledged  that  there   are  some  individual  states                                                                   
fighting the  requirement. Indications  are that  the federal                                                                   
government will  penalize states that do not  enforce federal                                                                   
requirements and that they will  loss their federal funds for                                                                   
child  support  and TANF.  He  pointed  out that  there  were                                                                   
options to avoid vendors from  seeing SSNs. Applicants can go                                                                   
to a Fish and  Game office or apply by mail.  If someone does                                                                   
not have a SSN  they can fill out an affidavit  and attach it                                                                   
to  their application.  He observed  that  the Child  Support                                                                   
Enforcement Division  cannot suspend a recreational  license.                                                                   
Only those convicted of criminal  non-support or contempt can                                                                   
loose their license.  Personal uses and subsistence  uses are                                                                   
Co-Chair  Therriault noted  that the  zero fiscal note  shows                                                                   
the potential loss of revenue.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Mulder MOVED  to report CSHB (JUD)  out of Committee                                                                   
with the accompanying fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION,                                                                   
it was so ordered.                                                                                                              
CSHB  311  (JUD)  was REPORTED  out  of  Committee  with  "no                                                                   
recommendation"  and a fiscal  impact note by  the Department                                                                   
of Revenue, published 4/10/00.                                                                                                  

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