Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/03/1994 01:30 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                                                                               
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                          March 3, 1994                                        
                            1:30 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 94 - 46, Side 2, #000 - end.                                        
  TAPE HFC 94 - 47, Side 1, #000 - #276.                                       
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson  called the House  Finance Committee meeting                 
  to order at 1:30 P.M.                                                        
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson               Representative Foster                          
  Co-Chair MacLean              Representative Martin                          
  Vice-Chair Hanley             Representative Navarre                         
  Representative Brown          Representative Parnell                         
  Representative Grussendorf    Representative Therriault                      
                                                                               
  Representative Hoffman was not present for the meeting.                      
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Jim  Nordlund;  Thomas  Williams,  Director,                 
  Permanent   Fund  Division,   Department  of   Revenue;  Joe                 
  Josephson, (testified via teleconference),  Retired Senator,                 
  Attorney,    Anchorage;    Dan    Bair,    (testified    via                 
  teleconference), Attorney, Anchorage.                                        
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
  HB 260    An Act relating  to the  membership of the  Alaska                 
            Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council.                      
                                                                               
            HB 260 was  reported out of  Committee with a  "do                 
            pass" recommendation and with a fiscal note by the                 
            Department of Revenue.                                             
  HB 364    An Act  relating to  allowable  absences from  the                 
            state  for purposes  of eligibility  for permanent                 
            fund  dividends;  and providing  for  an effective                 
            date.                                                              
                                                                               
            HB  364  was reported  out  of Committee  with "no                 
            recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by the                 
            Department of Revenue dated 2/14/94.                               
  HOUSE BILL 260                                                               
                                                                               
       "An  Act  relating  to  the  membership of  the  Alaska                 
                                                                               
                                1                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
       Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council."                          
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf  MOVED to  report HB  260 out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.                                                    
                                                                               
  HB  260  was reported  out  of  Committee with  a  "do pass"                 
  recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department                 
  of Revenue.                                                                  
  HOUSE BILL 364                                                               
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to allowable absences from  the state                 
       for  purposes   of  eligibility   for  permanent   fund                 
       dividends; and providing for an effective date."                        
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JIM NORDLUND  stated that HB 364  proposes to                 
  add two additional allowable absences to the definition of a                 
  state resident  for the purposes of  determining eligibility                 
  for permanent  fund dividends.   Those  exemptions would  be                 
  service in the United States Merchant Marines and service in                 
  the commissioned corps  of the  United States Public  Health                 
  Service (PHS).                                                               
                                                                               
  He believed that both of the circumstances are substantially                 
  similar  to  the  already existing  exemption  for  military                 
  service and that  they should be granted the  same exemption                 
  status.   Under federal law,  the PHS Commissioned Corps are                 
  designated as one  of the seven "uniformed  services" of the                 
  Armed Forces.  The rank structure is identical or similar to                 
  that of the  US Navy.   PHS officers wear military  uniforms                 
  and are issued  military ID  cards.  They  also receive  the                 
  same pay and allowances, medical  and dental care, Veteran's                 
  Administration benefits, life  insurance, and voting  rights                 
  as other branches of the Armed Forces.  They  are subject to                 
  military flight, base  and exchange privileges and  they are                 
  subject to the same obligations.                                             
                                                                               
  Currently, there are a total of 532 active duty PHS officers                 
  who claim Alaska residence.  Of that total, 191 are assigned                 
  to duty stations outside Alaska.                                             
                                                                               
  Representative  Nordlund  added   that  the  United   States                 
  Merchant Marines are overseen by the maritime Administration                 
  (MARAD).  MARAD  is charged by  the President of the  United                 
  States with the responsibility of developing and maintaining                 
  a merchant marine  capable of meeting America's  defense and                 
  commercial trade requirement.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative  Nordlund   stated  that  there  has  been  a                 
  superior  court  decision  issued  which  applies   to  this                 
  legislation.   The court  ruled that  Public Health  Service                 
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  employees  are treated the same  as military and should also                 
  be eligible for the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD).                           
                                                                               
  THOMAS   WILLIAMS,   DIRECTOR,   PERMANENT  FUND   DIVISION,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, stated that the Division has received                 
  from the  Public Health Service,  a list of  individuals who                 
  have  claimed  Alaska   residency.     He  added  that   625                 
  individuals are  claiming Alaska  residency as of  December,                 
  1992.  Of  those, 124 were no  longer in active duty  in the                 
  Public Health  Service and  there are  200 who are  claiming                 
  Alaska residency who are stationed outside the State.                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Williams pointed  out that  under the current  allowable                 
  absence provision, the Commissioner has the authority to add                 
  allowable absences as  authorized by  the Legislature.   The                 
  Commissioner has to date, declined  to add merchant mariners                 
  or PHS  officers.   He added,  through the  court case,  the                 
  plaintiffs are asking for the same treatment as the military                 
  receives.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Williams discussed the status  of individuals serving in                 
  the Merchant Marines.  Current  statutes allow an individual                 
  to  maintain an  eligibility period  for the dividend  up to                 
  half of that period  being one hundred eighty days  and they                 
  can work a temporary job during that time.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Hanley  asked  if  the  International  Guard                 
  personnel were  to receive  the PFD.   Mr. Williams  stated,                 
  that  they  are on  active  duty  and are  considered  armed                 
  forces.    Representative   Hanley  remarked  that  Merchant                 
  Marines are often employed by private companies and he  felt                 
  they should be designated by a different class.                              
                                                                               
  Discussion followed  among Committee  members regarding  the                 
  number of active duty PHS officers connected with Alaska and                 
  the similarities between PHS officers  and the Armed Service                 
  Officers.    Representative   Therriault  stated  that   the                 
  permanent  fund  dividend  should  be  available  for  those                 
  persons  who  are residents  of the  State  and who  live in                 
  Alaska.                                                                      
                                                                               
  JOE  JOSEPHSON,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  RETIRED                 
  SENATOR,  ATTORNEY,  ANCHORAGE,  spoke  in  support  of  the                 
  legislation.  He  stated that he represented  the plaintiff,                 
  reiterating  that  PHS   officers  receive  essentially  all                 
  benefits accorded  military members.   They  are subject  to                 
  analogous  obligations.    The  PHS  Commissioned  Corps  is                 
  distinguishable  simply because  it's  purpose differs  from                 
  that of the other Federal Uniformed Services.  He referenced                 
  a case  regarding Captain McCarthy, stating that to date one                 
  superior  court  judge has  held  the distinction  under the                 
  status quo unconstitutional.                                                 
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-47, Side 1).                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley  understood that  for thirteen  years,                 
  PHS  officers were  treated as  military and that  they were                 
  allowed to be  absent, although this provision  has changed.                 
  Mr.  Williams  noted only  twelve  dividends were  issued in                 
  1991.  The Department has been denying PHS officers the PFD.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Larson outlined  the  number of  provisions  which                 
  would allow a person to be outside the State and continue to                 
  receive their  PFD check.  He suggested  that the Department                 
  reexamine criteria used to determine if an individual should                 
  be exempt  or not.   Co-Chair  Larson indicated  his concern                 
  that a person  could be absent  on vacation and continue  to                 
  receive the PFD check.                                                       
                                                                               
  Mr.  Williams  advised  that  the  only instances  where  an                 
  individual could  have been absent  for more than  180 days,                 
  and that  part of  that time was  for vacation, would  be if                 
  that  person  already  had  a  fully  allowable  absence  in                 
  conjunction  with that vacation.   Co-Chair  Larson stressed                 
  that most  persons, following  their first  year out  of the                 
  State, would be  eligible for the  PFD check.  Mr.  Williams                 
  reiterated that there  is a 180  day limitation in order  to                 
  qualify for fully  allowable absences.  He pointed  that out                 
  these decisions are  determined by the Legislature  and then                 
  the Department implements the decisions.                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell  asked if  the Supreme  Court upholds                 
  the lower court  decision, would  Merchant Mariners also  be                 
  eligible to receive the  PFD.  Mr. Williams replied  that if                 
  the  Department  loses  at the  Supreme  Court  level, under                 
  current  law, a  regulation  would be  adopted making  PHS a                 
  fully  allowable  absence.   There  is  no  case before  the                 
  Department at this time regarding the Merchant Mariners.                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Foster  MOVED  to  report   HB  364  out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.                                                    
                                                                               
  HB   364   was   reported   out   of  Committee   with   "no                 
  recommendation"  and  with   a  zero  fiscal  note   by  the                 
  Department of Revenue dated 2/14/94.                                         
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 2:35 P.M.                                           
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                          March 3, 1994                                        
                            1:30 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
                                4                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 94 - 46, Side 2, #000 - end.                                        
  TAPE HFC 94 - 47, Side 1, #000 - #276.                                       
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson called  the House Finance Committee  meeting                 
  to order at 1:30 P.M.                                                        
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson               Representative Foster                          
  Co-Chair MacLean              Representative Martin                          
  Vice-Chair Hanley             Representative Navarre                         
  Representative Brown          Representative Parnell                         
  Representative Grussendorf    Representative Therriault                      
                                                                               
  Representative Hoffman was not present for the meeting.                      
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Jim  Nordlund;  Thomas  Williams,  Director,                 
  Permanent  Fund   Division,  Department   of  Revenue;   Joe                 
  Josephson, (testified via teleconference),  Retired Senator,                 
  Attorney,    Anchorage;    Dan    Bair,    (testified    via                 
  teleconference), Attorney, Anchorage.                                        
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 260    An Act relating  to the  membership of the  Alaska                 
            Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council.                      
                                                                               
            HB 260  was reported out  of Committee with  a "do                 
            pass" recommendation and with a fiscal note by the                 
            Department of Revenue.                                             
                                                                               
  HB 364    An Act  relating  to allowable  absences from  the                 
            state for  purposes of  eligibility for  permanent                 
            fund  dividends; and  providing  for an  effective                 
            date.                                                              
                                                                               
            HB  364  was reported  out  of Committee  with "no                 
            recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by the                 
            Department of Revenue dated 2/14/94.                               
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 260                                                               
                                                                               
       "An  Act  relating  to  the  membership of  the  Alaska                 
       Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council."                          
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf  MOVED to  report HB  260 out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
                                                                               
                                5                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  accompanying fiscal note.                                                    
                                                                               
  HB  260  was reported  out  of  Committee with  a  "do pass"                 
  recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department                 
  of Revenue.                                                                  
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 364                                                               
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to allowable absences from  the state                 
       for  purposes   of  eligibility   for  permanent   fund                 
       dividends; and providing for an effective date."                        
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JIM NORDLUND  stated that HB 364  proposes to                 
  add two additional allowable absences to the definition of a                 
  state resident for the  purposes of determining  eligibility                 
  for permanent  fund dividends.   Those  exemptions would  be                 
  service in the United States Merchant Marines and service in                 
  the commissioned corps  of the  United States Public  Health                 
  Service (PHS).                                                               
                                                                               
  He believed that both of the circumstances are substantially                 
  similar  to the  already  existing  exemption  for  military                 
  service and that they  should be granted the same  exemption                 
  status.  Under  federal law, the PHS  Commissioned Corps are                 
  designated as one of  the seven "uniformed services"  of the                 
  Armed Forces.  The rank structure is identical or similar to                 
  that of the  US Navy.   PHS officers wear military  uniforms                 
  and are issued  military ID  cards.  They  also receive  the                 
  same pay and allowances, medical  and dental care, Veteran's                 
  Administration benefits,  life insurance, and  voting rights                 
  as  other branches of the Armed Forces.  They are subject to                 
  military flight, base  and exchange privileges and  they are                 
  subject to the same obligations.                                             
                                                                               
  Currently, there are a total of 532 active duty PHS officers                 
  who claim Alaska residence.  Of that total, 191 are assigned                 
  to duty stations outside Alaska.                                             
                                                                               
  Representative  Nordlund   added  that  the   United  States                 
  Merchant Marines are overseen by the maritime Administration                 
  (MARAD).  MARAD  is charged by  the President of the  United                 
  States with the responsibility of developing and maintaining                 
  a merchant marine  capable of meeting America's  defense and                 
  commercial trade requirement.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative  Nordlund  stated  that  there  has  been   a                 
  superior  court  decision  issued   which  applies  to  this                 
  legislation.   The court  ruled that  Public Health  Service                 
  employees are  treated the same as military  and should also                 
  be eligible for the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD).                           
                                                                               
  THOMAS   WILLIAMS,   DIRECTOR,   PERMANENT  FUND   DIVISION,                 
                                                                               
                                6                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, stated that the Division has received                 
  from the  Public Health Service,  a list of  individuals who                 
  have  claimed  Alaska   residency.     He  added  that   625                 
  individuals are  claiming Alaska residency  as of  December,                 
  1992.  Of  those, 124 were no  longer in active duty  in the                 
  Public Health  Service and  there are  200 who  are claiming                 
  Alaska residency who are stationed outside the State.                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Williams pointed  out that  under the current  allowable                 
  absence provision, the Commissioner has the authority to add                 
  allowable absences as  authorized by  the Legislature.   The                 
  Commissioner has to date, declined  to add merchant mariners                 
  or PHS  officers.   He added,  through the  court case,  the                 
  plaintiffs are asking for the same treatment as the military                 
  receives.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Williams discussed the status  of individuals serving in                 
  the Merchant Marines.  Current  statutes allow an individual                 
  to maintain  an eligibility  period for  the dividend up  to                 
  half of that period  being one hundred eighty days  and they                 
  can work a temporary job during that time.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Hanley  asked  if  the  International  Guard                 
  personnel were  to receive  the PFD.   Mr.  Williams stated,                 
  that  they  are  on active  duty  and  are considered  armed                 
  forces.    Representative  Hanley  remarked  that   Merchant                 
  Marines  are often employed by private companies and he felt                 
  they should be designated by a different class.                              
                                                                               
  Discussion  followed among  Committee members  regarding the                 
  number of active duty PHS officers connected with Alaska and                 
  the similarities between PHS officers  and the Armed Service                 
  Officers.     Representative  Therriault  stated   that  the                 
  permanent  fund  dividend  should  be  available  for  those                 
  persons  who  are residents  of the  State  and who  live in                 
  Alaska.                                                                      
                                                                               
  JOE  JOSEPHSON,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  RETIRED                 
  SENATOR,  ATTORNEY,  ANCHORAGE,  spoke  in  support  of  the                 
  legislation.  He  stated that he represented  the plaintiff,                 
  reiterating  that  PHS  officers  receive  essentially   all                 
  benefits accorded  military members.   They  are subject  to                 
  analogous  obligations.    The  PHS  Commissioned  Corps  is                 
  distinguishable  simply because  it's  purpose differs  from                 
  that of the other Federal Uniformed Services.  He referenced                 
  a case regarding  Captain McCarthy, stating that to date one                 
  superior  court  judge has  held  the distinction  under the                 
  status quo unconstitutional.                                                 
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-47, Side 1).                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley  understood that  for thirteen  years,                 
                                                                               
                                7                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  PHS officers  were treated  as military  and that they  were                 
  allowed to be  absent, although this provision  has changed.                 
  Mr.  Williams  noted only  twelve  dividends were  issued in                 
  1991.  The Department has been denying PHS officers the PFD.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Larson  outlined the  number  of  provisions which                 
  would allow a person to be outside the State and continue to                 
  receive their PFD  check.  He suggested that  the Department                 
  reexamine criteria used to determine if an individual should                 
  be exempt  or not.   Co-Chair  Larson indicated  his concern                 
  that a person  could be absent  on vacation and continue  to                 
  receive the PFD check.                                                       
                                                                               
  Mr.  Williams  advised  that  the  only instances  where  an                 
  individual could have  been absent for  more than 180  days,                 
  and that  part of that  time was  for vacation, would  be if                 
  that  person  already  had  a  fully  allowable  absence  in                 
  conjunction with  that vacation.   Co-Chair  Larson stressed                 
  that most  persons, following  their first  year out  of the                 
  State, would be  eligible for the  PFD check.  Mr.  Williams                 
  reiterated that there  is a 180  day limitation in order  to                 
  qualify for fully allowable  absences.  He pointed that  out                 
  these decisions are  determined by the Legislature  and then                 
  the Department implements the decisions.                                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Parnell asked  if the Supreme  Court upholds                 
  the lower court  decision, would  Merchant Mariners also  be                 
  eligible to receive the  PFD.  Mr. Williams replied  that if                 
  the  Department  loses  at the  Supreme  Court  level, under                 
  current law,  a regulation  would  be adopted  making PHS  a                 
  fully  allowable  absence.   There  is  no  case  before the                 
  Department at this time regarding the Merchant Mariners.                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Foster  MOVED  to  report   HB  364  out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.                                                    
                                                                               
  HB   364   was   reported   out   of  Committee   with   "no                 
  recommendation"  and  with   a  zero  fiscal  note   by  the                 
  Department of Revenue dated 2/14/94.                                         
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 2:35 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                8                                              

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