Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/25/2002 02:14 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 399                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act relating  to the  Uniform  Mechanical Code  and                                                                   
     other  safety   codes;  annulling  certain   regulations                                                                   
     adopted  by the  Department  of Community  and  Economic                                                                   
     Development  relating   to  the  mechanical   code  that                                                                   
     applies   to   certain  construction   contractors   and                                                                   
     mechanical   administrators;   and  providing   for   an                                                                   
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE   REARDON,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION  OF   OCCUPATIONAL                                                                   
LICENSING, DEPARTMENT  OF COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT                                                                   
provided testimony on HB 399.  She noted that the legislation                                                                   
would nullify  regulations adopted by the  Division regarding                                                                   
the  definition of  uniform  mechanical  code and  mechanical                                                                   
administrator and affect the mechanical  contractor statutes.                                                                   
She  added that  the House  Labor and  Commerce version  also                                                                   
provides some  clarification regarding administration  of the                                                                   
program after repeal of the regulations.  She stated that the                                                                   
Division could  work with CS HB  399 (L&C). The  Division has                                                                   
submitted  a zero  fiscal note  with  the proposed  committee                                                                   
substitute. Applicants  would be  given the choice  of taking                                                                   
their examinations  on either the Uniform Mechanical  Code of                                                                   
1997  or the  International Mechanical  Code  of 2000.  After                                                                   
December  31, 2003  the Division  would test  on the  current                                                                   
version of the  mechanical code that has been  adopted in the                                                                   
state. She  felt that  health and  safety would be  protected                                                                   
under either test.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DEAN GUANELI,  CHIEF ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT                                                                   
OF LAW,  stated that the  department would support  the House                                                                   
Labor   and  Commerce   version  of   the  legislation.   The                                                                   
department  supports  clarification  of  the law,  which  the                                                                   
legislation would provide.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JOE  GELDHOFF,  MECHANICAL  CONTRACTORS  OF  ALASKA,  JUNEAU,                                                                   
testified  via teleconference.  He  spoke in  support of  the                                                                   
proposed committee  substitute. He maintained that  the Labor                                                                   
and Commerce version does not  clarify a number of issues; it                                                                   
leaves  the   Alaska  Housing   Finance  Corporation   (AHFC)                                                                   
hanging,   does   not   meet  concerns   expressed   by   the                                                                   
Municipality   of  Anchorage,  and   does  not  address   the                                                                   
legislative  law making  powers  under the  Constitution.  He                                                                   
asserted that the  regulations are being used to  adopt a new                                                                   
code and should be annulled.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies  clarified  that  the  annulment                                                                   
language  is identical  in the Labor  and Commerce  Committee                                                                   
version and the proposed committee substitute, version O.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  BITNEY,  LEGISLATIVE LIAISON,  ALASKA  HOUSING  FINANCE                                                                   
CORPORATION, DEPARTMENT  OF REVENUE, observed that  section 2                                                                   
on  page 2  amends  the  Alaska Housing  Finance  Corporation                                                                   
(AHFC)   statutes   defining   state   building   code.   The                                                                   
Corporation  may not  make  or purchase  a  housing loan  for                                                                   
residential housing  the construction  of which begins  after                                                                   
June  30,  1992,  unless  the seller  of  the  mortgage  loan                                                                   
complies with  the state building  code, which is  defined in                                                                   
the language being amended.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The current  statutes provide  that buildings funded  by AHFC                                                                   
must meet Uniform  Building Code standards that  were adopted                                                                   
by the Department  of Public Safety and  mechanical standards                                                                   
set out in the  Uniform Mechanical Code that  were adopted by                                                                   
the Department of Public Safety.  Last fall the Department of                                                                   
Public Safety adopted the International  Mechanical Code. The                                                                   
legislation changes "Uniform Mechanical  Code" to "mechanical                                                                   
code".  He pointed  out  that  it would  be  cleaner to  also                                                                   
change  "Uniform  Building Code"  to  the more  generic  term                                                                   
"building code" on  line 10. He observed that  statutes refer                                                                   
to the standard  adopted by the Department of  Public Safety.                                                                   
Therefore, the Alaska Housing  Finance Corporation (AHFC) has                                                                   
interpreted  action by  the Department  of  Public Safety  to                                                                   
mean  that  mortgages  should confirm  to  the  International                                                                   
Mechanical Code.  He stressed  that confusion remains  due to                                                                   
the reference to the Uniform Mechanical  Code in the statute.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Lancaster  questioned  if  "Uniform  Plumbing                                                                   
Code" should  be changed  to "plumbing code"  on page  1. Mr.                                                                   
Bitney  noted  that  the  reference   on  page  1  refers  to                                                                   
occupational licensing and is not an issue for AHFC.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder MOVED to ADOPT  Amendment 1: delete "uniform"                                                                   
on  page 2,  line 10.  There being  NO OBJECTION,  it was  so                                                                   
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Mulder  MOVED  to  report CSHB  399  (FIN)  out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  the  accompanying zero  fiscal  note.  There                                                                   
being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CSHB  399 (FIN)  was REPORTED  out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass"  recommendation  and  with   one  previously  published                                                                   
fiscal  note (REV  #1); and two  zero fiscal  notes: CED  and                                                                   
LAW.                                                                                                                            

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