Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/06/1994 09:07 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SB 365 (GOVERNOR'S OMNIBUS BILL) as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee. The chairman announces that the committee has two amendments to SB 365. Amendment #1 has been suggested by the Department of Corrections, and amendment #2 has been suggested by the Department of Law. The chairman offers amendment #1 and moves the amendment. Number 555 SENATOR ELLIS objects for purposes of discussion and asks for an explanation of the amendment. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Ms. Schenker to explain the amendment. Number 552 DIANE SCHENKER, Special Assistant, Department of Corrections states the amendment would address section 27, line 10. It would delete the reference to AS 33.30.071 (c). It is a technical error to refer to subsection (c). Subsection (c) actually refers to people for which the Department of Corrections does not have medical responsibility. The rest of the amendment would allow the department to collect payments from inmates or other sources for a broader scope of services than the medical, psychological, and psychiatric services originally listed. This would allow the department to collect for any service provided that is listed under AS 33.30.011 (a). MS. SCHENKER states she is not certain which services might or might not be collected for by the department. It will depend on the level of tension in the institutions, etcetera. Not only could it generate some program receipts, but it can also be used to discourage frivolous use of services. For instance, persons filing fifty grievances per day. Number 535 SENATOR ELLIS asks Ms. Schenker to explain how the level of tension in an institution could affect the fees that are collected. Number 533 MS. SCHENKER responds that overcrowding in the institutions causes management problems, and if the tension level is already high, it can cost the state more money than actually will be collected by instituting the fee. There would be a careful assessment of how well the department is able to manage the population before instituting collection of fees. Also, if it is a service to which the inmate has a constitutional right, then obviously the department cannot charge a fee for that service if the inmate is indigent. Number 520 SENATOR ELLIS asks if Cleary addresses fees for medical services. Number 516 MS. SCHENKER replies there is nothing specific in Cleary addressing charges for medical services or the other services listed under this section. Cleary does define an indigent prisoner. It is very restricted as to what must be provided to indigent prisoners, but it does not speak to fees. Number 509 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there is any further objection to amendment adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN offers amendment #2 from the Department of Law. Amendment #2 redrafts section 33 of AS 37.07.060. The chairman asks if there is anyone from the executive branch to address the redrafting of section 33. Number 495 CLYDE STOLTZFUS, Special Assistant, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities states he initially raised the question about the original draft of section 33. Mr. Stoltzfus states the original draft was not understandable. Number 490 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if everyone understands the redraft of section 33. Hearing no comment, the chairman asks if there is any objection to the adoption of amendment #2. Hearing none, the chairman states the amendment has been adopted. Number 483 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Stoltzfus, under section 10, if the term "standard plans and specifications" should be changed to the term "standard drawings and specifications". MR. STOLTZFUS responds the chairman is correct, and the term should be changed. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there is objection to using the term "standard drawings and specifications" and offers that change as amendment #3. Number 466 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, states amendment #3 has been adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks, under section 42, line 9, what is intended to be regulated under the term "sewerage". Number 449 DEENA HENKINS, Chief, Drinking Water & Wastewater Section, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) states that language is intended to make clear that DEC can delegate sewer system (sewerage) plan review to other competent government agencies. However, she does not think it is important whether the term sewer system or sewerage is used there. Sewerage is just all- encompassing. Number 433 CHAIRMAN LEMAN states it would be his preference to use the most precise term. The chairman asks if it is intended that the term be applied only to domestic sewerage. MS. HENKINS replies the term is intended to apply to domestic sewerage. Number 426 CHAIRMAN LEMAN offers, as amendment #4, to delete the words "wastewater collections and", and asks if there is any objection. CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, states amendment #4 has been adopted. Number 424 CHAIRMAN LEMAN notes there is similar language on lines 13 and 14, and asks, as amendment #5, that "wastewater collection and" be deleted. Number 419 SENATOR TAYLOR asks what authority the State of Alaska has to impose state law on a military facility or base. Number 416 MS. HENKINS states she is an engineer and not an attorney, but she thinks it can depend on whether there is a federal law that gives the state that authority. She also thinks there are executive orders telling the military to comply with state and local regulations as well. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there is objection to amendment #5. Hearing none, the chairman states amendment #5 has been adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Ms. Henkins what the reason is to have, on page 16, lines 5 and 7, why the language states, "sewerage system or treatment works", and asks why "treatment works" is included. MS. HENKINS thinks that may be more in line with Title 46 of Alaska Statutes. CHAIRMAN LEMAN states if that language is already in statute, he will not go into it. Number 396 SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to delete section 38, 39, 42, and those provisions within section 43 impacted by that be deleted. Number 388 SENATOR ELLIS objects to that motion. Number 387 SENATOR TAYLOR states his reasons for that motion are because the department will establish regulations increasing fees wherever the department determines that they have an "indirect cost". It is obvious to him that DEC is reaching out to further increase what he considers to be already astronomically high fees. He thinks everything DEC is doing under this authority is offensive. SENATOR TAYLOR then adds he will also ask that, as his next amendment, AS 44.46.025 (a). Number 363 CHAIRMAN LEMAN notes that there was objection to Senator Taylor's first motion. The chairman lists the sections Senator Taylor just motioned to be deleted and notes that section 42 is the section the committee just worked on amendments to. Chairman Leman states he also objects to Senator Taylor's motion. SENATOR TAYLOR withdraws his motion, saying he does not think the state has any business "dinking" around with military facilities. SENATOR TAYLOR states he will modify his amendment so as not to delete section 42. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there is any objection from the committee to the amendment to the amendment. Hearing no further objection, the chairman states Senator Taylor's amendment has been amended. CHAIRMAN LEMAN states Senator Taylor's amendment now is to delete sections 38, 39, and those portions of section 43 that relate to those two sections. SENATOR TAYLOR states he did not ask to delete section 39. All he wanted was sections relating to DEC. CHAIRMAN LEMAN clarifies that Senator Taylor only wanted his amendment to delete section 38 and those portions of section 43 that relate to DEC. SENATOR DUNCAN asks that Senator Taylor withdraw his original motion for an amendment and propose a new amendment. SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to withdraw his amendment. CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, states Senator Taylor's amendment has been withdrawn. SENATOR TAYLOR proposes a new amendment, that being to delete section 38 and replace it with, " AS 44.46.025 (a) is hereby repealed." SENATOR DUNCAN and SENATOR ELLIS object to Senator Taylor's amendment. CHAIRMAN LEMAN notes objection has been made and asks Ms. Henkins if she would like to speak to the amendment. Number 315 MS. HENKINS states she deals principally with fees for drinking and wastewater issues, including plan reviews and permit issuing. In her opinion, DEC has taken a very conservative approach in establishing fees for services. Fees typically reflect the time of the professional involved in the permitting process. For the most part, DEC has avoided fees based on hourly computations because of potential abuses of that. DEC's fees currently only recover a fraction of the direct costs involved. Number 290 CHAIRMAN LEMAN states adding the words "and indirect" to page 15, line 2 trouble him. MS. HENKINS responds that language is to allow DEC to come closer to recovering the entire cost of some of the programs. Number 283 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks what is included in direct costs at this time. Number 280 MS. HENKINS replies she is speaking only for those fees in which she has been personally involved, says it tends to be the cost of the one person conducting the plan review or issuing the permit. It hasn't included any kind of clerical support, management costs, or any other costs. Taken into the calculations are the salary and benefit costs of the person involved. Number 259 SENATOR TAYLOR states he does not understand what the additional, indirect costs are, since inspections, permit preparation, administration, plan review- administration ought to include every secretary. He cannot imagine an indirect cost that is not currently included in law. Number 252 MS. HENKINS responds that if that is Senator Taylor's interpretation, then Ms. Henkins would certainly not have any objection to deleting the "and indirect". Number 248 SENATOR TAYLOR asks why ten through fourteen (unclear as to what he is referring) have been added. Number 245 MS. HENKINS replies she can personally only speak to about three of these. The on-site water and sewer system certification and audit program is in reference to section 41. This is the so-called bank loan certification program, where banks want DEC, or someone overseen by DEC to look at the water and sewer systems on a property before making a loan on that property. For about ten years, DEC did do this, as a service to the banks. In 1990 it was estimated that the program was costing the department 540,000$ per year. DEC instituted a 250$ fee for those inspections in early 1993. When the FY 94 wastewater budget was cut, DEC elected to try to back out of the bank loan certification program, because it is not required by Alaska Statute or regulations. The lenders simply will not let DEC get entirely out of the program. So DEC is proposing a statute allowing registered engineers to do the certifications, with an audit of the engineers to satisfy the banks that the engineers are doing adequate certifications. DEC proposes that they be allowed to charge a fee to audit the engineers doing the certifications. Number 220 CHAIRMAN LEMAN agrees that the private sector should be doing these certifications. He thinks the banks and lending institutions are being overly cautious in this case. Number 206 MS. HENKINS agrees that professional engineers can easily do these certifications. However, the banks do not agree and want at least minimal involvement by DEC or say they simply will not lend. DEC thinks the program provided for in section 41 is the least costly way DEC can continue to be involved, while making sure that the banks will continue to lend. CHAIRMAN LEMAN appreciates the department working to try to resolve this problem. Number 193 SENATOR TAYLOR states this is not the least costly way. What we are talking about is DEC wanting to get out of the business of testing drinking water for people in Alaska. To suggest the evil banks and lending institutions are behind this is garbage. We can't even have decent water and sewage systems for half of our villages. Number 174 CHAIRMAN LEMAN notes for Senator Taylor that the Municipality of Anchorage has had this type of program for a number of years. The chairman further states that he does not think DEC should be doing a lot of the testing that it does; the testing should be done by private laboratories. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there is further discussion regarding the amendment. Hearing none, the chairman asks if there is objection to the amendment. SENATOR DUNCAN voices his objection to the amendment. CHAIRMAN LEMAN restates the amendment, it being to delete section 38 and repeal the ability of the Department of Environmental Conservation to collect fees. The chairman asks for a roll-call vote on adoption of the amendment. The adoption of the amendment fails by 2 yeas, 3 nays, with Senators Miller and Taylor voting in favor of the amendment, and Chairman Leman and Senators Ellis and Duncan voting against the amendment. Number 145 CHAIRMAN LEMAN offers amendment #7, which would delete "and indirect" on page 15, line 2. SENATOR ELLIS voices objection to amendment #7. Number 141 SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to amend amendment #7 by also deleting lines 21 through 30. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Senator Taylor if he would offer that as a separate amendment. SENATOR TAYLOR withdraws his amendment to amendment #7. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there are questions on amendment #7. Hearing none, the chairman asks if there are continued objections to the amendment. CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing continued objection, asks that a roll-call vote be taken on the amendment. Amendment #7 fails by a vote of 2 yeas, 3 nays. Voting in favor of the amendment are Chairman Leman and Senator Miller, voting against the amendment are Senators Taylor, Ellis, and Duncan. CHAIRMAN LEMAN announce SB 365 will not be passed from the Senate State Affairs Committee today.