Legislature(2021 - 2022)SENATE FINANCE 532
05/17/2021 01:00 PM Senate FINANCE
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HOUSE BILL NO. 126 "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Public Accountancy; and providing for an effective date." 1:37:48 PM Co-Chair Bishop discussed housekeeping. 1:38:20 PM TOM WRIGHT, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE STEVE THOMPSON, read from the sponsor statement for HB 126 (copy on file): HB 126 extends the termination date for the Board of Public Accountancy for eight years until June 30, 2029. Legislative Audit conducted their review of this board and concluded that "?the board served the public's interest by conducting meetings in accordance with state laws, amending certain regulations to improve the public accountancy occupation, and effectively licensing and regulating certified public accountants and partnerships/corporations engaged in the practice of public accountancy." The Board of Public Accountancy consists of seven members appointed by the Governor. Five members are certified public accountants or public accountants, and two members are public members. Extending the Board of Public Accountancy is critical in protecting the public interest by ensuring that only qualified persons are licensed, and that appropriate standards of competency and practice are established and enforced. 1:39:23 PM Ms. Curtis referenced the document "A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Board of Public Accountancy (board)" (copy on file). She relayed that the purpose of the audit was to determine if there was serving the publics interests and whether its termination date should be extended. She said it had been determined that the board was serving the publics interest and recommended an 8-year extension. She referenced page 5, which listed the standard licensing statistics for the board. She relayed that as of January 31, 2020, there were 1,328 active board licenses and permits; a 10 percent increase from the previous 2012 audit. 1:42:28 PM Senator Wilson thought it was important to ensure that investigators had the right tools and resources. 1:43:06 PM SARA CHAMBERS, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS, BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (via teleconference), relayed that there had been several boards under the division's purview that had concern with the length of time it took to complete investigations. She said that some strategic changes had been made which included the addition of support positions. She said that policies and procedures had been updated as well as the triage system so that priority cases were those of life, health, and safety. She said there was no standard for the length of a case and that the division sought out resources from their available budget. 1:45:38 PM Co-Chair Bishop OPENED public testimony. 1:45:50 PM LESLIE SCHMITZ, CHAIR, ALASKA BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY (via teleconference), thanked the division for its recommendation. She said that the board worked to stay active at both state and national levels. Co-Chair Bishop thanked Ms. Schmitz for her years of service. 1:47:06 PM CRISTA BURSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ALASKA SOCIETY OF CPAS, ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), testified in support of HB 126. She asserted that the board operated in the public's interest and should considered for the full 8-year extension. 1:48:18 PM Co-Chair Bishop CLOSED public testimony. Co-Chair Bishop relayed that the deadline for amendments was May 17, 2021 at 5PM. HB 126 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration.