Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519
04/06/2005 01:30 PM FINANCE
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HOUSE BILL NO. 122 An Act relating to payment of premiums for Service members' Group Life Insurance on behalf of members of the Alaska National Guard deployed to a combat zone; and providing for an effective date. Representative Weyhrauch MOVED to ADOPT amended Amendment #3. (Copy on File). He pointed out that the original bill had raised questions regarding what the State could require. Representative Hawker had discussed provisions in Section 2 with legal services. He noted the issues with potential interference when entering into contractual agreements, however, he did not want to discus it further in Committee. 2:08:21 PM KELLY HUBER, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE NANCY DAHLSTROM, commented that the sponsor wanted to make one recommendation. There has been positive feedback on the fill, but concern with "terminating an existing contract". She offered language to "suspend the contract" as an alternative, allowing the companies to decide and would offer guardsmen some relief. Representative Hawker thought that could help but pointed out that the bill has a long way to go through the legislative process. Co-Chair Meyer noted that Legal Services was okay with the current language. Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED to the amended Amendment #3. Representative Weyhrauch WITHDREW the motion on amended Amendment #3. 2:11:08 PM Representative Weyhrauch MOVED to ADOPT Amendment #4. Co- Chair Meyer OBJECTED for purposes of discussion. Representative Weyhrauch explained that the amendment clarifies that if there is a penalty or cost, someone would have to be responsible and the party passing the law would be responsible. The amendment adds language clarifying that if someone is paying, it would not fall upon the shoulders of the private sector or the utility but rather the State of Alaska. He pointed out that Amendment #4 offers clarifying language. 2:12:21 PM Ms. Huber noted that the sponsor does not support the amendment; the part of concern is the language, "other heating fuel". That had been added at the request of a member in the previous committee. The sponsor does not have concerns on issues raised by Representative Weyrauch and that higher education already has an informal policy. Other reliefs only provide time and eventually they would still have to pay their bills. The legislative intent is to stipulate in law that penalties are not imposed. Co-Chair Meyer thought that passing the amendment would change the fiscal note. Representative Weyhrauch disagreed. Ms. Huber reiterated that the bill clarifies that the companies would not have a penalty. No one had come forward voicing opposition nor did the electric companies show concern. Co-Chair Meyer inquired if in rare cases could there be additional costs to the State. Ms. Huber indicated that if in those cases, the State picked up the penalty costs and the amendment was adopted, there could be a fiscal impact. 2:15:18 PM Co-Chair Chenault asked about heating fuel costs in rural Alaska. Representative Joule noted that he would have that information available for the House Floor session. He thought it would affect them. 2:16:07 PM Representative Croft disagreed with the intent of the amendment. He believed that large impacts should be compensated. He thought that the legislation was relatively minor and that everyone should "be in it together". After reviewing the amendment, he said it was a cost that society should bare and that the bill already offers safeguards. Co-Chair Meyer asked how often the National Guard is deployed. JOHN CRAMER, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATION SERVICES DIVISION, MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS, stated currently there are 180 Alaska National Guardsmen deployed. Since 9-11, the country has entered into a new era of deployment, becoming more frequent. It is anticipated that by FY06, there will be around 300 Alaskan National Guard deployed. Representative Weyhrauch WITHDREW Amendment #4. 2:19:29 PM Representative Foster MOVED to report CS HB 122 (FIN) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CS HB 122 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a new fiscal note by the Department of Fish & Game, a new zero note by the Alaska Postsecondary Commission, zero note #1 by the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development and fiscal note #2 by the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.