Legislature(2001 - 2002)
04/25/2002 02:14 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.