Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/08/1995 01:35 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE MARCH 8, 1995 1:35 P.M. TAPE HFC 95 - 42, Side 1, #000 - end. TAPE HFC 95 - 42, Side 2, #000 - end. TAPE HFC 95 - 43, Side 1, #000 - #654. CALL TO ORDER Co-Chair Mark Hanley called the House Finance Committee meeting to order at 1:35 P.M. PRESENT Co-Chair Hanley Representative Kohring Co-Chair Foster Representative Martin Representative Mulder Representative Navarre Representative Brown Representative Parnell Representative Grussendorf Representative Therriault Representative Kelly ALSO PRESENT Representative Alan Austerman; Representative Cynthia Toohey; Marveen Coggins, Staff for Representative Toohey; Elmer Lindstrom, Special Assistant to Commissioner Perdue, Department of Health and Social Services; Jerry McCure, President, United Fishermen Association; Dave Wilder, Chairman, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; Duane Peoples, Administrative Officer, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; Art Scheunemann, Executive Director, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; Michael Ford, Attorney, Division of Legal Services; Margo Knuth, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law; Juanita Hensley, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Safety. SUMMARY HB 21 An Act relating to revocation of a driver's license for illegal possession or use of a controlled substance or illegal possession or consumption of alcohol by a person at least 13 but not yet 21 years of age; and providing for an effective date. CS HB 21 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation with zero fiscal notes by the Department of Health and Social Services dated 2/10/95, the Alaska State Troopers dated 1 2/10/95, the Department of Law dated 2/10/95 and the Department of Administration. HB 108 An Act relating to claims on permanent fund dividends for defaulted public assistance overpayment. HB 108 was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with fiscal notes by the Department of Revenue dated 2/23/95 and two new notes by the Department of Health and Social Services. HB 116 An Act exempting the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute from the State Procurement Code. CS HB 116 (L&C) was reported out of Committee with "no recommendations" and with zero fiscal notes by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development dated 2/15/95 and the Department of Administration dated 2/15/95. HOUSE BILL 108 "An Act relating to claims on permanent fund dividends for defaulted public assistance overpayment." MARVEEN COGGINS, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY, stated that HB 108 would give the Department of Health and Social Services the administrative authority to garnish permanent fund dividends of individuals who have received public assistance overpayments and are delinquent in repaying the debt. She added, frequently persons receiving overpayment agree to repay the debt, but fail to do so. If a person is still on public assistance, the person's benefit could be reduced as a means of collection, but if a person is off assistance, collection becomes difficult. There is currently over half a million dollars in outstanding debt due to the Department. Representative Brown questioned the percentage of overpayments made as a mistake by the Department rather than personal fraud. ELMER LINDSTROM, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO COMMISSIONER PERDUE, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, explained that the breakdown between client generated errors as opposed to Department errors was not available. He added that the State is expected by the federal government to recoup the charges. Mr. Lindstrom stated that Alaska Families with 2 Dependant Children (AFDC) would be affected by the legislation. Representative Brown elaborated that the program would cover AFDC, food stamps and the Adult Public Assistance (APA) program. Mr. Lindstrom responded that the food stamp program is entirely federally funded; whereas, the State would share in the revenue recoupment of AFDC claims equal match of 50%/50%. Mr. Lindstrom understood that the legislation would not apply to the APA program. Representative Brown quoted a letter from Curtis Lomas, Welfare Reform Program, Department of Health and Social Services, indicating that the APA program would be affected. Mr. Lindstrom agreed Mr. Lomas was correct. Representative Brown asked which programs would be covered. Mr. Lindstrom referenced Section #1, "Claims on defaulted public assistance overpayment". Discussion followed on the defaulted overpayments. Representative Brown pointed out that the title did not define "overpayment" without specific reference. She voiced her concern that these people were the State's most vulnerable and that they should not be included in the proposed legislation. Mr. Lindstrom commented that although those persons receiving Adult Public Assistance were indicated in the previous legislation, it was not the intent of the Department that the fiscal note for HB 108 would apply to the APA program. He pointed out that the language in the bill was "permissive" and that the Department "may" exercise authority to collect the payments. He stressed that it was not the intention of the legislation. Representative Brown distributed Amendment #1. [Attachment condition of notification within thirty days to the individual who received overpayment. Co-Chair Hanley pointed out that in a hypothetical case of fraud, it would be difficult to detect the overpayment within a thirty day time span. Discussion followed among Committee members regarding notification of overpayment. Representative Brown offered to redraft the amendment and offer it at a later date. Representative Mulder MOVED to report HB 108 out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. HB 108 was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with two fiscal notes by the Department of Health and Social Services and a zero fiscal note by the 3 Department of Revenue dated 2/23/95. HOUSE BILL 116 "An Act exempting the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute from the State Procurement Code." REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN stated that HB 116 would exempt the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) from the State procurement code under AS 36.30.850(b) for all domestic marketing and board-related activities. The proposed procurement exemption would allow ASMI to purchase marketing services and supplies that meet industry imperatives. Representative Brown asked why ASMI should be removed from the procurement code. DAVID WILDER, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF DIRECTOR, ALASKA SEAFOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE, spoke in support of HB 116. He stated that the request would allow for increased efficiency and would reduce the cost of promoting the consumption of the products in the United States. Currently, the seafood industry is experiencing heavy competition from farmed salmon, foreign seafood production and other protein sources. The competition has significantly eroded Alaska's market share and reduced prices for Alaskan products which has directly affected the incomes of all those dependent upon a healthy industry. Mr. Wilder added that the state procurement process was not designed to facilitate market promotion services in the private sector, conducting business in a cost effective manner or readily allow the board to participate in the decision making process. As an example, ASMI currently cannot advertise and procure services valued over $25 thousand dollars outside of Alaska. Under the state procurement system, it would be impossible for ASMI to contract directly with such individuals without an elaborate, time consuming and costly bid process that would not adequately consider unique knowledge and abilities. Mr. Wilder added, in addition, the procurement requirements place extensive delays and prohibitions on ASMI's ability to act quickly and take advantage of unique promotional opportunities that often arise informally, and or in association with other marketing activities. The delays, restrictions and selection criteria required by the state procedures cripple the ASMI efforts in implementing promotional activities and then results in increased costs to the industry. 4 DUANE PEOPLES, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, ALASKA SEAFOOD MARKETING INDUSTRY, responded to questions from Representative Martin, stating that federal requirements are as strict as the State requirements. Currently, the expenditures of State and federal monies overseas are exempt under AS 36.30.180. The foreign markets are all exempt. The federal government requires ASMI to follow decent procurement procedures. Representative Austerman emphasized that the original bill indicated that procurement procedures with "good ethics" should be followed. The House Labor and Commerce legislative version specified that guidelines should illustrate the procurement process. Mr. Peoples stated that adopting the legislation would allow ASMI to eliminate the need for bureaucratic paper work as required by the Department of Administration. Then ASMI could keep that authority within that industry, and then at that time be responsible to the Executive Committee's monthly meetings. ART SCHEUNEMANN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALASKA SEAFOOD MARKETING INDUSTRY, spoke to the level of commitment of the fishermen. He noted that the harvest and production side of the industry has brought a tremendous amount to that industry. He applauded the driving force to make ASMI a public/private corporation. JERRY MCCURE, PRESIDENT, UNITED FISHERMEN ASSOCIATION (UFA), indicated that UFA supported the proposed legislation. He added, that ASMI replaced the last budget cut with a one percent tax imposed on the fishermen. He felt that the fishermen would receive more benefit from the tax paid with passage of the legislation. Representative Navarre MOVED to report CS HB 116 (L&C) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. CS HB 116 (L&C) was reported out of Committee with "no recommendations" and with zero fiscal notes by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development dated 2/15/95 and the Department of Administration dated 2/15/95. HOUSE BILL 21 "An Act relating to revocation of a driver's license for illegal possession or use of a controlled substance or illegal possession or consumption of alcohol by a person at least 13 but not yet 21 years of age; and 5 providing for an effective date." Ms. Coggins testified in support of HB 21 stating that the law should be amended to include municipal ordinance as well as State law. (Tape Change, HFC 95-42, Side 2). Ms. Coggins noted that HB 21 would fix a loophole in a law passed last year. Under the bill which passed last year, the administrative license revocation could only occur when there was a violations of the pertinent state law. She added, in practice, municipalities such as Anchorage or Fairbanks, often arrest or cite under municipal ordinances. HB 21 would amend that bill to include violation under municipal ordinance as well. Ms. Coggins advised that the bill had been amended in the House Judiciary Committee at the recommendation of the Department of Law. It would eliminate "personal observation" replacing it with "probable cause"; she felt that would be sufficient. Ms. Coggins added that "probable cause" would be the same standard used for minor consuming and driving while under the influence. Representative Kelly MOVED to adopt Amendment #1. [Attachment #2]. Representative Brown OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion. Ms. Coggins stated that Amendment #1 would pertain to the court revocation license addressed on Page 3. It would add to the current charge of using drugs and alcohol, the additional offense of possession of a firearm punishable under the municipal ordinance. She advised that the Department of Law has requested inclusion of that language. MICHAEL FORD, ATTORNEY, DIVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES, responded to concerns of Representative Martin. He advised that the person making the arrest would not be the person who decides if the license should be revoked. There would be a "due process" in order to revoke the license. Representative Therriault questioned the "double jeopardy" use. Mr. Ford explained that there would not be a "double jeopardy" problem because there would be separate interests, which would result in a portion of the penalty for committing the offense. Discussion followed among Committee members regarding "punitive" action. Mr. Ford reminded Committee members that cases which have challenged the Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) laws are not recent. Representative Brown pointed out that the new court ruling has changed the approach without penalties being as 6 severe. Mr. Ford expounded that the question would be: "What is the license", is it a privilege or is it a property right. He understood it to be a privilege. Co-Chair Hanley commented that the intention of the legislation would be to create a consistency in and expansion of current law. MARGO KNUTH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF LAW, testified that there are two issues involved with the "Use It-Lose It" motor vehicle related offenses as compared to other offenses such as minor consuming, drugs or expansion of weapon offense. The weapon offense only would occur after there had been a court adjudication or conviction for the offense. She insisted there would be no double jeopardy results in any of the court revocations. That argument could exist if there was an administrative revocation first; a situation currently occuring for DWI offenses. Ms. Knuth noted that the municipalities have requested the proposed legislation in order to have the same footing as the State. She emphasized the success of the "Use It-Lose It" policy, indicating that it would encourage guns to be kept off playgrounds more strongly than any other policy. Ms. Knuth stated that the Department knows that Amendment #1 would be beneficial to the State. Representative Martin questioned the responsibility of the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Ms. Knuth reported that DMV would hold the hearing. If they found that the facts were accurate, they would revoke the license. There would then be only one penalty. Co-Chair Foster noted concern on how the law would affect village areas where adolescents commonly possess firearms. Ms. Knuth stated that firearms can not be sold to a person under a certain age, although they can legally possess them with parental consent. Representative Grussendorf disagreed with the zero fiscal impact of the proposed legislation. Ms. Knuth replied, the agency most impacted would be the Department of Public Safety (DPS), Division of Motor Vehicles. She added, there will be no extra court hearings resulting from the proposed legislation. Representative Brown pointed out that DMV had not submitted a fiscal note to date. Ms. Coggins noted her office had received a verbal affirmation from DMV. Ms. Knuth advised that there were two different laws regarding the weapons on school grounds. If a person violates a restraining order, and takes a gun on school grounds, it would be a Class B felony. Most of the time, it would be a Class B misdemeanor for someone to have a firearm 7 or defensive weapon within the grounds of a parking lot next to a school. In Alaska, it is required that a minor under sixteen years of age have the consent of a parent or guardian to possess a fire arm. Firearms can not be taken on school grounds at any time. Ms. Knuth reiterated that the conviction would only apply if there was a conviction or adjudication. Representative Martin OBJECTED to Amendment #1. A roll call was taken on the MOTION. IN FAVOR: Navarre, Parnell, Therriault, Brown, Grussendorf, Kelly, Kohring, Hanley. OPPOSED: Martin, Foster. Representative Mulder was not present for the vote. The MOTION PASSED (8-2). Representative Brown MOVED to adopt Amendment #2. Co-Chair Hanley OBJECTED for purposes of discussion. Representative Brown explained that Amendment #3 would provide education or rehabilitation treatment programs for reissuance of a driver's license. (Tape Change, HFC 95-43, Side 1). JUANITA HENSLEY, CHIEF, DRIVER SERVICES, DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, commented that Barrow had not applied to the Department for approval of their alcohol and drug program, as part of the traffic safety program. She pointed out, that to implement a program as recommended in Amendment #2, would require screening and then the determination would be made if rehabilitation should be required. She agreed that the language was broad enough to include education. Ms. Hensley stated in rural Alaska the screening would be performed through participation in the drug and alcohol programs. In a municipality, the screening would be provided by the city's department of health and social services. She explained that DMV had no objection to the amendment. There being NO FURTHER OBJECTIONS, Amendment #2 was adopted. Representative Brown MOVED to adopt Amendment #3. Co-Chair Hanley OBJECTED for discussion purposes. Representative Brown explained the amendment would delete the words "to believe" and insert "and based on personal observation". She asked Ms. Knuth the standard of probable cause used in order "to believe" if not based on personal observation. 8 Ms. Knuth responded that if evidence provides probable cause to believe that the minor has consumed alcohol in violation of state law, that would be sufficient. The defense would try to understand when the offense occurs; if it is only when the minor is consuming or after intoxicated, they would be in possession by consumption. Some courts hold that a minor who has already consumed the alcohol, the consumption is over. If the law is interpreted that way, a minor could be arrested for minor consuming, go to court, receive a conviction but "Use It-Lose It" would not apply. Representative Grussendorf voiced concern with the proposed language "to believe"; he explained that often times that language could be used in unfair treatment of the minor. He thought that the standards should be decreased and that the information would be nebulous. Ms. Knuth stated that "probable cause to believe" has been defined by the courts to mean that there are uncontradicted facts that would prove without reasonable doubt the truth. She stressed that it would be required to present facts of the case. "To believe" means to accept evidence without a reasonable doubt. "To believe" would not be a reduction of the current standard. It is the standard used for felony and murder convictions. A roll call was taken on the MOTION. IN FAVOR: Brown, Grussendorf. OPPOSED: Parnell, Therriault, Kelly, Kohring, Martin, Hanley. Representatives Mulder, Navarre and Foster were not present for the vote. The MOTION FAILED (2-6). Representative Brown MOVED to adopt Amendment #4. Representative Parnell OBJECTED. He reminded Representative Brown of a mutual agreement to eliminate the "findings" of all future legislation. Representative Brown emphasized that the amendment would bring to the attention of the Committee the importance of dealing with alcohol and the alcohol abuse by minors in ways which will have an effect on consumption. Following discussion among Committee members on the importance of an alcohol tax, Representative Brown WITHDREW the motion to adopt Amendment #4. There being NO OBJECTION, it was withdrawn. Representative Brown MOVED to adopt Amendment #5. Co-Chair Hanley OBJECTED for purposes of discussion. Representative Brown noted that the amendment would define the intent to 9 spend program receipts generated from reinstatement fees. The amendment would place half of the fees into the Department of Public Safety and the remaining half into the Department of Health and Social Services for alcohol and drug abuse prevention. Representative Brown pointed out that the proposal was recommended by the Drug and Alcohol Task Force report, 3/17/94. Ms. Hensley commented that the legislation passed last year generated $622 thousand dollars of new program receipt revenue coming into the State from reinstatement fees and driver license fees. The same revenue continues to be generated. She pointed out that last year the House passed intent language that receipts be divided between the two departments. The Senate did not pass that Letter of Intent. REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY stated that she did not object to Amendment #5. Co-Chair Hanley requested that Amendment Brown agreed. Representative Mulder MOVED CS HB 21 (FIN) out of Committee with the House Finance Letter of Intent and the accompanying fiscal notes. Representative Brown commented on the absence of a fiscal note by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Ms. Hensley stated that there was a fiscal note attached to last years legislation. That fiscal note was reduced in Conference Committee last year by $70 thousand dollars, and that impact was more than estimated by the Department. She offered to provide a fiscal note to the Committee. Representative Brown presumed that Amendment #1 would impact the workload of DMV. Ms. Hensley pointed out the similar language in AS 28.15.185 which provides for adjudication of juvenile defense. Since 1988, there have been thirteen cases of adjudication, although since July 1, 1994, there have been 918 cases in which the drivers license was revoked. Juveniles continue to be arrested although those cases have not increased from the estimation. There being NO FURTHER OBJECTION, CS HB 116 was reported out of Committee with a "no recommendation", a House Finance Letter of Intent and a zero fiscal notes by the Department of Administration, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Health and Social Services dated 2/10/95, the Alaska State Troopers dated 2/10/95 and the Department of Law dated 2/10/95. ADJOURNMENT The meeting adjourned at 3:34 P.M.