Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/15/1993 05:00 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-16, SIDE A Number 014 VICE-CHAIR DAVIS called the meeting to order at 5:20 p.m., and stated that HB 184 would be held over until the next scheduled House Transportation Committee meeting due to time constraints. Vice-Chair Davis also noted that HB 46 would be assigned to a subcommittee consisting of Representative Mulder and Representative Mackie. Vice-Chair Davis also noted that HB 237 would also be assigned to a subcommittee consisting of Representative Hudson and Representative Mackie. HB 237 MARINE PILOT LICENSING AND TARIFFS Number 074 VICE-CHAIR DAVIS requested those wanting to testify on HB 237 on the teleconference system to present their statements to the committee at this time. Number 078 DANIEL BLACKMORE, VICE-PRESIDENT OF ALASKA MARITIME AGENCIES, INC., began his testimony discounting previous testimony before the Labor and Commerce Committee. Mr. Blackmore said it was his understanding that another pilot group in Dutch Harbor was performing unsafe pilotage, specifically, in the East Channel transit, and the reason being that Alaska Marine Pilots refused to move the vessel because of their concern over the depth of the water in the channel and the draft of the vessel. MR. BLACKMORE stated that he believed competition in pilotage must be able to continue throughout the state of Alaska and has been shown to actually benefit safety concerns of the state. Because of the competition, he believes that it gives the groups more reason to perform a better service, not the poor or unsafe groups that people are trying to make them believe. Mr. Blackmore also stated that another advantage of competitive pilotage was that actions and costs must be justified. He stressed his support towards competition and the desire that competition between the two groups increase, which would result in continued improvement and performance. VICE-CHAIR DAVIS asked if there were questions for Mr. Blackmore. Since there were no questions, he asked MICHAEL SPENCE to present his testimony. MICHAEL SPENCE, PRESIDENT OF THE ALASKA COASTWISE PILOTS ASSOCIATION, addressed his concerns contained in HB 237, which related to fixing tariffs, fixing the number of pilots in a region, and the measure forbidding cross-regional pilotage. He felt these measures were intended to prevent or stifle competitive pilotage. He discussed previous monopoly problems within the history of pilotage and that those problems led to the formation of a new organization, The Alaska Coastwise Pilot's Organization. Mr. Spence said his organization has efficient dispatching, has optimized their manpower, and has reduced overhead costs. He stated that the group which holds the dominant share of the market in Southeast Alaska, joined by the dominant groups in other regions, are the groups which currently seek legislation to prevent or limit competition. MR. SPENCE mentioned that giving authority to the APUC (Alaska Public Utilities Commission) to set fixed tariffs may indeed move the tariff-setting process to a more organized venue for rate setting, however, at an increased costs to already burdensome fees. He felt fixed tariff was anti-competitive since it disabled a new organization of pilots from offering a lower price to shippers. He stated that if the APUC was involved, it should be setting a maximum rate tariff, not a fixed tariff. MR. SPENCE remarked that HB 237 was not legislation which promoted safety of shipping or environment; it was a bill that promoted economic safety of already dominant pilot organizations. Number 330 BILL SHARP, representing pilot groups in the Ketchikan area, asked Vice-Chair Davis whether he had heard correctly. He asked if HB 237 was going to be referred to a subcommittee consisting of Representative Mackie and Representative Hudson. VICE-CHAIR DAVIS replied that was indeed the case. MR. SHARP indicated he echoed the concerns of the previous witness, Michael Spence. Mr. Sharp stated that he did not want to take of the committee time and he would work with the subcommittee in the future. Number 355 BERNIE SMITH, representing TESORO, spoke on the teleconference network against HB 237 and stated that he would present his comments in writing to the subcommittee. He stated Tesoro was willing to negotiate with the pilots and had done so twice recently. VICE-CHAIR DAVIS stated that since there was no one else to testify via teleconference, he would move for testimony from the audience. Number 383 WILL ANDERSON, testifying in support of HB 237, noted that he would submit written testimony and work with the subcommittee during the interim on HB 237. LARRY COTTER, a lobbyist representing the ALASKA STEAMSHIP COMPANY, testified against HB 237. Mr. Cotter felt that the best way to address the current problems were for those involved to sit down together and work out the issues. He further stated that he didn't think the current system was broken, it merely needed more tuning and thought it could be fixed. Mr. Cotter stated he would also address his concerns before the subcommittee. Number 443 VICE-CHAIR DAVIS said he hoped that the parties on both sides of this proposed legislation would communicate between themselves and try and reach a compromise with the subcommittee. Number 449 C.J. ZANE, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, HOLLAND AMERICA/WESTOURS, noted that he was opposed to the current version of HB 237. However, he didn't want to take up a lot of the committee's time and he would be contacting the subcommittee and maintain his interest and address his concerns to them. MR. ZANE asked Vice-Chair Davis what a subcommittee's responsibilities were. VICE-CHAIR DAVIS replied that they would work on all recommendations, would not take any official action, and would report their recommendations to the full committee. Number 498 VICE-CHAIR DAVIS ADJOURNED the House Transportation Committee meeting at 5:50 p.m.