Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

04/13/2005 03:15 PM House LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Heard & Held
HB 213-ALCOHOL SERVER EDUCATION                                                                                               
CHAIR ANDERSON  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL NO.  213,  "An  Act  relating to  alcohol  server                                                               
4:05:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JAY  RAMRAS, Alaska State Legislative,  sponsor of                                                               
HB 213, began  by highlighting that as a restaurant  owner he has                                                               
accumulated  years  of  experience   in  the  food  and  beverage                                                               
industry.   He  said  that  this bill  covers  the techniques  in                                                               
alcohol management  (TAM) course, which  provides extraordinarily                                                               
useful  information   for  servers,  bartenders,   security,  and                                                               
doormen.   However,  under the  current law  individuals have  to                                                               
renew their TAM card by  retaking the entire four-hour exam every                                                               
three  years.     The  aforementioned  is  time   ill  spent  for                                                               
professional servers  who have  been in  the industry  for years.                                                               
Therefore,  the legislation  would  provide that  those who  have                                                               
already taken the four-hour course  would merely have to take the                                                               
written  test  demonstrating  an   understanding  of  the  course                                                               
subject.   The aforementioned is  an excellent  funding mechanism                                                               
for  Cabaret Hotel  Restaurant &  Retailer's Association  (CHARR)                                                               
and other advocacy  groups in the industry, since there  is a fee                                                               
charged  for  the  course.    The  fees  for  the  course  aren't                                                               
addressed in this legislation.  He  stated that he is only trying                                                               
to be mindful  of professionals in the food  service industry and                                                               
suggest that  after being in  the industry for three  years, they                                                               
should be allowed  to demonstrate their competency  with the laws                                                               
and regulations concerning alcohol  rather than requiring another                                                               
full course and exam.                                                                                                           
4:07:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ANDERSON  asked  how  much  it would  cost  to  renew  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  answered that  an applicant would  have to                                                               
go  through   the  same  facility   and  the  same   testing  and                                                               
certification  program.    He reiterated  that  this  legislation                                                               
would  not  make  any  changes  to  the  fees,  but  would  allow                                                               
restaurant workers to  arrive in the last half hour  of the four-                                                               
hour exam to take the  qualifying test to obtain recertification.                                                               
The examination is really not the  hard part.  He related his own                                                               
experience  with the  course, and  characterized the  challenging                                                               
part  as  sitting  through the  course  itself.    Representative                                                               
Ramras stated that  the TAM course is  extraordinarily useful and                                                               
makes  servers  more  knowledgeable   about  the  law  concerning                                                               
alcohol, which makes the dispensing of alcohol safer.                                                                           
4:09:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ANDERSON surmised then that  this legislation would allow a                                                               
worker in  the food and  beverage industry to skip  the four-hour                                                               
course and simply take the test.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS said that  this correct, clarifying that it                                                               
would be  optional whether  or not the  individual would  sit for                                                               
the four-hour course.  These  workers, numbering in the thousands                                                               
across the  state, oftentimes surrender  work shifts to  take the                                                               
four-hour course for  which the establishment does not  pay.  The                                                               
proposal embodied in HB 213  would save time while the individual                                                               
would  still  have  to  demonstrate   competency  of  the  course                                                               
4:11:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  asked if this  legislation was  supported by                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  recalled that CHARR indicated  its support                                                               
for  HB  213 when  the  organization  was  present earlier.    In                                                               
further  response to  Representative Kott,  Representative Ramras                                                               
said he  was not  a TAM  instructor, but he  has sat  through the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX related her  understanding that the purpose                                                               
of  retaking the  test  is merely  the receipt  of  the fee,  and                                                               
therefore she  questioned why  these workers  can't just  pay the                                                               
fee and forgo the test.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  disagreed with Representative  LeDoux, and                                                               
stressed that  there is  value in requiring  that those  who have                                                               
taken  the  exam  remain  familiar with  the  rules  that  govern                                                               
serving alcohol.  Therefore, he  opined that it's appropriate for                                                               
the   state  to   enforce  a   renewal  of   the  TAM   card  and                                                               
certification.   However,  if one  can demonstrate  competency of                                                               
the information,  then there  is no  need to  sit for  the entire                                                               
course.   Representative Ramras characterized  the exam  as easy,                                                               
with a low failure rate.   The exam, he explained, is designed to                                                               
get  the industry  workers  to  sit through  the  three hours  of                                                               
course instruction.  Therefore, passage  of the exam fulfills the                                                               
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board's requirement.                                                                                 
4:13:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked if  it's the sponsor's intent for                                                               
the  fee to  be the  same for  taking the  three-hour course  and                                                               
exam, and the exam alone.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS  clarified  that  his  intent  is  not  to                                                               
interfere with private  enterprise, and therefore it's  up to the                                                               
entities that  offer the TAM  course to set  the fee.   This bill                                                               
provides the worker with the ability  to forgo the three hours of                                                               
instruction when seeking recertification.                                                                                       
4:15:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG   announced  that  he  didn't   see  a                                                               
statement  from  the ABC  Board,  and  was  wondering if  it  had                                                               
offered any comment on this.                                                                                                    
4:16:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  informed the  committee that when  the ABC                                                               
Board  performs  a  compliance test,  it  reviews  whether  every                                                               
single  employee [in  an establishment  serving  alcohol] has  to                                                               
produce a current  TAM card.  An employee has  30 days upon being                                                               
hired or expiration of a TAM card to take the course.                                                                           
4:17:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  asked if  Representative Ramras  had retaken                                                               
the refresher course.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  pointed out that  he was not a  server and                                                               
that he  did not have  to take  the class, although  most working                                                               
owners are  required to  have a TAM  card.  He  said that  at his                                                               
restaurant he is allowed to greet, but not seat guests.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  pointed out that  Section 1 refers to  a TAM                                                               
card being  shown as  proof to  the ABC board,  and asked  if the                                                               
issuance  of such  a card  is something  new or  is this  section                                                               
merely making the use of the card clear to everyone.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS clarified  that  the TAM  card has  always                                                               
been an  acceptable way to  prove one's course completion  to the                                                               
ABC Board.  This legislation  simply says that when an individual                                                               
demonstrates the competency, he or she  will be issued a new card                                                               
with a new expiration date.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  stated that one  of his staff,  Mike O'Hare,                                                               
had been certified and could offer his view of the TAM course.                                                                  
4:20:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  O'HARE,   Staff  to   Representative  Kott,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, stated that currently, there  is a renewal test that                                                               
requires one  to sit  through the entire  TAM course  every three                                                               
years.   It is  not a  difficult test  after sitting  through the                                                               
four-hour course, he opined.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT moved to report  HB 213 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                             

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