Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

02/27/2006 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 409(L&C) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
HB 389-REGULATION OF TOURIST ACCOMMODATIONS                                                                                   
[Contains discussion of HB 360]                                                                                                 
4:29:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  announced that  the final order  of business                                                               
would  be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  389, "An  Act  relating  to  tourist                                                               
accommodations  permits and  to penalties  for failing  to comply                                                               
with  permitting   requirements;  removing  a   requirement  that                                                               
persons operating  tourist accommodations  post certain  laws and                                                               
regulations  on  the premises;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
KAREN  LIDSTER,  Staff  to Representative  John  Coghill,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  characterized HB 389 as  "housekeeping" since                                                               
it  repeals the  sections of  statute  that are  no longer  used,                                                               
along with the related areas.   She explained that the Department                                                               
of Environmental Conservation has  jurisdiction over trailer camp                                                               
and public facility health and safety issues.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  asked if this was  the department's response                                                               
to a  memo from  [Representative Coghill]  to all  state agencies                                                               
regarding any statutes that should be repealed.                                                                                 
MS.  LIDSTER  said  that  it  is and  noted  that  the  remaining                                                               
regulations in AS  18.35 allow the department  to maintain public                                                               
health and safety.                                                                                                              
4:33:08 PM                                                                                                                    
KRISTIN  RYAN,   Director,  Division  of   Environmental  Health,                                                               
Department of Environmental  Conservation, informed the committee                                                               
that   the  division   is  responsible   for  regulating   public                                                               
accommodations.    She  stated  that  HB  389  repeals  statutory                                                               
authority  that has  not  been  utilized since  the  1960s.   The                                                               
division  does not  permit public  accommodations, therefore  the                                                               
statutory  authority is  not necessary.   The  division currently                                                               
does complaint  investigations and has sanitation  regulations in                                                               
place, which, she  noted, have been in place since  1982, and are                                                               
in  need  of  revision.  This   legislation,  she  said,  is  the                                                               
beginning of that process.   Once the statutory authority is "up-                                                               
to-date",   the  division   will  approach   setting  appropriate                                                               
sanitation standards.   This legislation  does not  eliminate the                                                               
division's ability to  set these standards, and  it will continue                                                               
to do  this in  addition to investigating  complaints.   Ms. Ryan                                                               
explained that the  public health risks are low  and the division                                                               
staff is unable to do  a more thorough investigation, adding that                                                               
this is not  needed.  The current permit structure  is not needed                                                               
to adequately regulate these facilities.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  referred  to   [HB  360]  sponsored  by                                                               
Representative Kevin  Meyer, and  asked if HB  389 is  related in                                                               
any way.                                                                                                                        
MS.  RYAN  explained  that  HB 360  requires  the  department  to                                                               
regulate small public water systems  at any public accommodation.                                                               
The  division does  not currently  permit public  accommodations.                                                               
She explained that HB 389 would  not change this, although HB 360                                                               
would require the division to regulate the drinking water.                                                                      
MS.  RYAN,   in  response  to  a   question  from  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg, stated that  HB 389 would delete the  requirement for a                                                               
sanitation permit.  The division  would still regulate the larger                                                               
facilities   for  water,   wastewater,   and  food   inspections.                                                               
Currently,  the division  is  not  regulating smaller  businesses                                                               
that serve less than 25 people.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked how the  division is aware  of the                                                               
smaller  businesses that  serve only  25  people if  they do  not                                                               
issue permits.                                                                                                                  
MS.  RYAN  replied  that the  division  frequently  comes  across                                                               
facilities that  fall under the  regulatory requirements  but are                                                               
not, at which point the  facility is notified of the requirements                                                               
to which it  needs to comply and is provided  information on ways                                                               
in which it can comply.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  if this  was part  of the  reason                                                               
permitting was put in regulation.                                                                                               
MS.  RYAN replied  that she  does not  know the  reason this  was                                                               
originally put  into statute and  noted that usually a  permit is                                                               
for  greater oversight  over a  particular industry,  when it  is                                                               
necessary  to maintain  a minimum  of  yearly contact,  including                                                               
inspections.   She opined  that the permit  structure was  put in                                                               
place because  there was  a need to  have a  sanitation standard,                                                               
and a permit in place for public accommodations.                                                                                
4:38:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.   RYAN,  in   response  to   questions  from   Representative                                                               
Guttenberg,  explained  that  the  threshold  for  non-regulation                                                               
varies depending on the area of  regulation.  She stated that for                                                               
drinking water, the cutoff is  25 people; for food establishments                                                               
it is  10 people;  wastewater requires that  a [water]  system be                                                               
installed by a  certified engineer.  She pointed out  that HB 389                                                               
only applies to  the sanitation permits.  In  response to further                                                               
questions, she agreed  that HB 389 is merely  "clean-up", and the                                                               
division  will still  be  conducting  investigations and  setting                                                               
sanitation standards.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked if  the division  would maintain                                                               
the  authority  to  investigate  a small  bed  and  breakfast  in                                                               
response  to complaints  about bugs,  vermin,  or brown  drinking                                                               
MS. RYAN replied that this is correct.                                                                                          
4:40:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT closed public testimony.                                                                                    
4:41:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD moved  to report HB 389  out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection,  HB 389 was reported out of the                                                               
House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                    

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