Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

02/28/2005 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     February 28, 2005                                                                                          
                         1:39 P.M.                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:39:14 PM.                                                                                                          
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Jim Holm                                                                                                         
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Pat  Davidson,  Director,  Legislative  Auditor,  Legislative                                                                   
Audit  Division; Sam  Kito  III, Chair,  Legislative  Liaison                                                                   
Council,  Alaska Professional  Design  Council; Scott  Clark,                                                                   
Notary Administrator,  Office  of Lieutenant Governor;  Brian                                                                   
Westad,  Intern,  Office  of Lieutenant  Governor;  Sgt.  Tim                                                                   
Birt,  Juneau, Alaska  State Troopers,  Department of  Public                                                                   
Safety, Juneau;  Anne Carpeneti, Assistant  Attorney General,                                                                   
Legal Services Section, Criminal  Division, Department of Law                                                                   
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Representative Vic Kohring; James  Steele, Manager, Office of                                                                   
Children Services, Department  of Health and Social Services,                                                                   
Wasilla;  Terry  Schoenthal, American  Society  of  Landscape                                                                   
Architects, Anchorage                                                                                                           
HB 35     An Act extending the termination date of the State                                                                    
          Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers,                                                                      
          and Land Surveyors; and providing for an effective                                                                    
          HB 35 was HEARD and HELD in Committee.                                                                                
HB 66     An Act making appropriations for the operating and                                                                    
          capital   expenses   of  the   state's   integrated                                                                   
          comprehensive mental  health program; and providing                                                                   
          for an effective date.                                                                                                
          HB 66 was POSTPONED.                                                                                                  
HB 67     An Act making appropriations for the operating and                                                                    
          loan  program  expenses  of state  government,  for                                                                   
          certain programs,  and to capitalize  funds; making                                                                   
          appropriations   under   art.   IX,   sec.   17(c),                                                                   
          Constitution  of  the  State  of Alaska,  from  the                                                                   
          constitutional  budget reserve fund;  and providing                                                                   
          for an effective date.                                                                                                
          HB 67 was POSTPONED.                                                                                                  
HB 97     An Act relating to the authority to take oaths,                                                                       
          affirmations, and acknowledgments  in the state, to                                                                   
          notarizations,       to      verifications,      to                                                                   
          acknowledgments,  to fees for issuing  certificates                                                                   
          with  the  seal  of   the  state  affixed,  and  to                                                                   
          notaries  public; and  providing  for an  effective                                                                   
          HB 97 was HEARD and HELD in Committee.                                                                                
HB 99     An Act relating to controlled substances regarding                                                                    
          the   crimes  of   manslaughter,  endangering   the                                                                   
          welfare  of  a child,  and misconduct  involving  a                                                                   
          controlled   substance;   and  providing   for   an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
          HB 99 was HEARD and HELD in Committee.                                                                                
HB 134    An Act making supplemental, capital, and other                                                                        
          appropriations,   and  reappropriations;   amending                                                                   
          appropriations;     making    appropriations     to                                                                   
          capitalize  funds;  making an  appropriation  under                                                                   
          art. IX,  sec. 17(c), Constitution of  the State of                                                                   
          Alaska,  from  the  constitutional  budget  reserve                                                                   
          fund; and providing for an effective date.                                                                            
          HB 134 was POSTPONED.                                                                                                 
1:39:35 PM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 66                                                                                                             
     An  Act  making  appropriations for  the  operating  and                                                                   
     capital    expenses    of   the    state's    integrated                                                                   
     comprehensive mental  health program; and  providing for                                                                   
     an effective date.                                                                                                         
HOUSE BILL NO. 67                                                                                                             
     An Act making appropriations  for the operating and loan                                                                   
     program  expenses  of  state   government,  for  certain                                                                   
     programs,    and    to    capitalize    funds;    making                                                                   
     appropriations  under art. IX, sec.  17(c), Constitution                                                                   
     of the State  of Alaska, from the  constitutional budget                                                                   
     reserve fund; and providing for an effective date.                                                                         
Co-Chair  Chenault advised  that  HB 66  and HB  67 would  be                                                                   
POSTPONED until a latter date.                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 35                                                                                                             
     An  Act extending  the  termination  date  of the  State                                                                   
     Board  of Registration  for  Architects, Engineers,  and                                                                   
     Land Surveyors; and providing for an effective date.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE VIC  KOHRING, (TESTIFIED VIA  TELECONFERENCE),                                                                   
MAT-SU, stated that  HB 35 would extend the  termination date                                                                   
for the Board  of Registration for Architects,  Engineers and                                                                   
Land Surveyors (AELS)  adding an additional five  years.  The                                                                   
current  termination   date  is  June  30,  2005.     If  the                                                                   
Legislature takes no action to  extend the board, it would go                                                                   
into  a  one-year   phase  out  to  conclude   administrative                                                                   
operations, followed by termination.                                                                                            
Representative  Kohring pointed out  that the board  consists                                                                   
of 11 members appointed by the Governor:                                                                                        
   ·    Two civil engineers,                                                                                                    
   ·    Two land surveyors,                                                                                                     
   ·    One mining engineer,                                                                                                    
   ·    One electrical or mechanical engineer,                                                                                  
   ·    One engineer from another branch of the profession                                                                      
          of engineering,                                                                                                       
   ·    Two architects,                                                                                                         
   ·    One landscape architect, and                                                                                            
   ·    One public member.                                                                                                      
Representative Kohring  highlighted that the  board's purpose                                                                   
is  to  adopt  regulations,  oversee  examinations,  suspend,                                                                   
revoke  or refuse  the issuance  of new  licenses, and  issue                                                                   
licenses  to  practice  to architects,  engineers,  and  land                                                                   
surveyors who  meet the standards  of education  and training                                                                   
determined necessary by the board.                                                                                              
Representative  Kohring pointed  out  that Legislative  Audit                                                                   
Division  performed  a  November  1,  2004  board  audit,  as                                                                   
required  by  statute  and  recommended  that  the  board  be                                                                   
extended to June  30, 2009.  The Division found  the board to                                                                   
be   operating  in   the  public   interest  by   effectively                                                                   
regulating individuals who hold  themselves out to the public                                                                   
as  registered  architects, engineers,  land  surveyors,  and                                                                   
landscape architects.   Furthermore, the Division  found that                                                                   
the board  demonstrated an ability  to conduct business  in a                                                                   
satisfactory  manner,   has  been  effective   in  developing                                                                   
regulations,  has ensured  that licensees  are competent  and                                                                   
consistently   practice  within   requirements  and   ethical                                                                   
standards of their respective professions.                                                                                      
Representative  Kohring pointed out  that there are  a couple                                                                   
of  amendments proposed  by the  organization,  one of  which                                                                   
adds  an additional  member.   He  requested someone  present                                                                   
address those amendments.                                                                                                       
SAM KITO  III, CHAIR,  LEGISLATIVE LIASION COMMITTEE,  ALASKA                                                                   
PROFESSIONAL  DESIGN COUNCIL, stated  that the Council  fully                                                                   
supports the legislation and the  extension of the sunset for                                                                   
the  Board so  that they  can continue  to meet  professional                                                                   
1:46:34 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Stoltze   remembered  legislation  in   the  late                                                                   
1990's,   which   encouraged   the  addition   of   landscape                                                                   
architects.   He asked if  an analysis  had been done  on the                                                                   
benefits of adding that group.                                                                                                  
Mr. Kito pointed out the basic  benefit to date is limited as                                                                   
there are  only 30 licensed  landscape architects  statewide.                                                                   
He noted  that they perform  duties separate from  architects                                                                   
or  civil engineers.    He added  that  the  addition of  the                                                                   
landscape  architects  to  the  board would  help  by  adding                                                                   
another voting member, changing it from 10 to 11 members.                                                                       
1:47:56 PM                                                                                                                    
In response to Vice-Chair Stoltze,  Mr. Kito pointed out that                                                                   
they  do  not  have  information  available  that  identifies                                                                   
projects they  got with including the landscape  architecture                                                                   
Representative Weyhrauch inquired about the audit report.                                                                       
PAT  DAVIDSON,  DIRECTOR,  LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  LEGISLATIVE                                                                   
AUDIT DIVISION,  explained  that an audit  was conducted  and                                                                   
recommended that  the date be  extended to 2009.   She noted,                                                                   
based  on  the   results  of  the  audit  on   the  Board  of                                                                   
Registration for  Architects, Engineers, and  Land Surveyors,                                                                   
the  Division recommends  the  termination date  of June  30,                                                                   
2005 be extended until June 30, 2009.                                                                                           
Ms. Davidson pointed out that  during the last sunset review,                                                                   
Division  recommended that  the  Legislature modify  statutes                                                                   
allowing  the  Board  to  implement  continuing  professional                                                                   
education  requirements.   While  the Legislature  made  that                                                                   
statutory  change,   the  board   has  not  implemented   the                                                                   
requirement.   The Division recommends that either  the board                                                                   
implement a continuing professional  education requirement or                                                                   
the  Legislature  consider  modifying  the  statutes  from  a                                                                   
permissive program to a mandatory one.                                                                                          
Ms. Davidson  continued, the  second recommendation  involves                                                                   
the  continuing  evolution  of  the  engineering  profession.                                                                   
Alaska recognizes  the core  disciplines of civil,  chemical,                                                                   
electrical and  mechanical engineering as well  as mining and                                                                   
petroleum  engineers.  Other  states  have  recognized  other                                                                   
specialties or sub-disciplines.   In the report, the Division                                                                   
recommended   that  the  Board,   in  conjunction   with  the                                                                   
professional society  or the University of Alaska,  conduct a                                                                   
comprehensive  study   regarding  the  public   benefits  and                                                                   
related   costs  associated   with   recognizing   additional                                                                   
engineering specialties in Alaska's licensing structure.                                                                        
Ms. Davidson added that the Legislature  should also consider                                                                   
making the  landscape architect a  full voting member  of the                                                                   
Representative   Weyhrauch  asked   the  importance   of  the                                                                   
continuing  education  requirement  for civil  engineers  and                                                                   
Ms. Davidson stated that what  the Audit Division looks at is                                                                   
why  should  the  State become  involved  with  licensing  of                                                                   
professionals  for public  health,  safety and  welfare.   No                                                                   
matter the  level of training,  the same level  of protection                                                                   
is necessary.   Although,  not perfect, continuing  education                                                                   
is  one   of  the  main   mechanisms  used  for   maintaining                                                                   
professional standards.                                                                                                         
1:53:10 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Holm  commented  on the  landscape  architect                                                                   
process.   Ms. Davidson explained  that the division  has not                                                                   
done extensive  work in regards to the  landscape architects.                                                                   
It has been a progression and  those represented on the board                                                                   
consist of all  categories.  Landscape architects  have about                                                                   
the same number of licensees and  by statute, there must be a                                                                   
member on that board.                                                                                                           
Representative Holm voiced concern  with the legislation.  He                                                                   
stated he  has been a horticulturist  in Alaska for  the past                                                                   
50-years.   Alaska does  not have  an association of  Alaskan                                                                   
nurserymen.  Because of that,  there is not a "platform" from                                                                   
which to  build that  a horticulturist can  use.   Those that                                                                   
come from other parts of the world,  bring information, which                                                                   
often  does  not translate  in  Alaska.   He  cautioned  that                                                                   
landscaping in Alaska is peculiar.   It is not like building,                                                                   
given the  particulars.  There  are no books  that adequately                                                                   
explain  what  types  of  foliage grow  in  which  places  in                                                                   
Representative Holm  stressed this is a major  problem.  Some                                                                   
landscape architects  specify products that will  not grow in                                                                   
Alaska.   Because  of that  peculiarity, Representative  Holm                                                                   
suggested that  they do not have  a place on the  board until                                                                   
there is  a horticultural set  up that can address  the State                                                                   
by regions.                                                                                                                     
Co-Chair  Meyer interjected  that there  was someone  on line                                                                   
who could testify regarding these concerns.                                                                                     
1:58:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Croft inquired if  all professions  should be                                                                   
moved to some sort of continuing  education requirement.  Ms.                                                                   
Davidson stated that was not the  intent.  She indicated that                                                                   
it is important  to determine how the public  is being served                                                                   
and/or   maintaining   the   quality   of   the   profession.                                                                   
Continuing  professional education  is a  common way  to lead                                                                   
professionals into continued competency.                                                                                        
Representative Croft questioned  if the Legislature should be                                                                   
deciding that information  for the professions.   He asked if                                                                   
it would  be more appropriate  to defer  to the boards.   Ms.                                                                   
Davidson stated that is up to the Legislature.                                                                                  
2:00:38 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Weyhrauch agreed  that it  is important.   He                                                                   
asked  about  legislative  jurisdiction  of overseeing  of  a                                                                   
professional  board.   He pointed  out that  a member of  the                                                                   
public often  hires professional  expertise because  of their                                                                   
lack of knowledge  about a situation.  He wanted  some degree                                                                   
of  comfort, knowing  that  there is  a  board that  provides                                                                   
oversight and a  code of ethics for the oversight.   He asked                                                                   
for  an update  regarding  what the  board  does to  regulate                                                                   
their own members.                                                                                                              
Mr.  Kito  pointed  out  that   last  year,  there  had  been                                                                   
legislation that  authorized the  board to adopt  regulations                                                                   
in  continuing  education.   That  legislation  came  at  the                                                                   
urging of  the surveyors.   The  architects are close  behind                                                                   
them  recognizing  the importance  of  continuing  education.                                                                   
The   national  scale   has  adopted   continuing   education                                                                   
standards.  He  admitted that there are professions  that are                                                                   
not quite ready  for the standard and listed  various boards,                                                                   
which have national standards.                                                                                                  
2:04:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Hawker asked if  there was an amendment before                                                                   
the  Committee.    Co-Chair  Meyer   responded  there  is  no                                                                   
amendment at this time.                                                                                                         
TERRY  SCHOENTHAL, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  AMERICAN                                                                   
SOCIEY  OF  LANDSCAPE  ARCHITECTS,  ANCHROAGE,  commented  on                                                                   
testimony by Representative Holm,  acknowledging the validity                                                                   
of his  points.  Mr. Schoenthal  highlighted areas  which his                                                                   
group  operates, noting  that  they rely  heavily upon  State                                                                   
nurseries and the University.   He pointed out that the State                                                                   
Board  is fundamentally  there  for the  purposes of  health,                                                                   
safety and welfare  of the State's citizens.  There  is not a                                                                   
planned laboratory  for testing for Alaskan  plants; however,                                                                   
the reason  for licensing is to  deal with health  and safety                                                                   
concerns.  There are issues associated  with specific designs                                                                   
such as advice on drainage and stone water management.                                                                          
2:07:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Schoenthal pointed  out  other areas  including  highway                                                                   
design.     He  stressed   the  importance   of  having   the                                                                   
understanding of plant materials  and the impact they have on                                                                   
the site distance.   These are issues essential  for the work                                                                   
of the board members.                                                                                                           
Mr. Schoenthal  stated  that the board  constitutes  about 30                                                                   
licensed  professionals  statewide.    He  thought  that  the                                                                   
numbers  could  double  in  the  next  decade.    Like  other                                                                   
professionals  on  the  board,  it  brings  forward  national                                                                   
trends and changes, which influence  how the requirements are                                                                   
changed.   He mentioned continuing  education and  offered to                                                                   
answer questions of the Committee                                                                                               
2:09:27 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Holm stated that  he was not against landscape                                                                   
architects,  however, he  pointed out  how ill informed  that                                                                   
industry is.  He stressed that  the professionals coming from                                                                   
schools   in  other   states   have  information   does   not                                                                   
"translate"  well  in  Alaska.   Representative  Holm  voiced                                                                   
concern  that  a standard  for  competency  would be  put  in                                                                   
Representative  Holm mentioned  an  example of  the depth  of                                                                   
topsoil necessary  for lawns in  various sections  of Alaska.                                                                   
He  emphasized  that if  horticultural  knowledge  is not  at                                                                   
hand, it is  difficult to implement specifications  that make                                                                   
2:12:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Schoenthal  agreed  in part  with  Representative  Holm,                                                                   
pointing out that  there are issues with  multiple conditions                                                                   
statewide.  He acknowledged that  simple availability is also                                                                   
a concern  and stressed that  the role  of the board  is more                                                                   
related  to the statewide  health, welfare  and risk  factors                                                                   
versus materials used in landscape design.                                                                                      
2:13:23 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Holm  acknowledged   that  competency  is  an                                                                   
important reason to have a professional board.                                                                                  
Vice-Chair Stoltze  remembered a time there was not  a lot of                                                                   
statewide  regulatory  function.   He wanted  "make  certain"                                                                   
that  the  decision for  a  board  was  headed in  the  right                                                                   
direction.    He  noted  constituent's  complaints  regarding                                                                   
"things" that do not make sense.                                                                                                
2:16:31 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Meyer  noted  that   the  bill  would  be  held  in                                                                   
Committee to address amendments.                                                                                                
HB 35 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                          
2:17:21 PM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 97                                                                                                             
     An  Act  relating  to  the   authority  to  take  oaths,                                                                   
     affirmations,  and  acknowledgments  in  the  state,  to                                                                   
     notarizations, to verifications,  to acknowledgments, to                                                                   
     fees  for  issuing certificates  with  the  seal of  the                                                                   
     state  affixed, and  to notaries  public; and  providing                                                                   
     for an effective date.                                                                                                     
SCOTT  CLARK,  NOTARY  ADMINISTRATOR,  OFFICE  OF  LIEUTENANT                                                                   
GOVERNOR, voiced  support for the legislation  and asked that                                                                   
Mr. Westad, intern for Lt. Governor Leman summarize it.                                                                         
BRIAN WESTAD,  INTERN, OFFICE OF LIEUTENANT  GOVERNOR, stated                                                                   
that HB 97  identifies changes in the Alaska  Statutes, which                                                                   
have not  been updated since 1961.   These changes  have been                                                                   
suggested by the  Alaskan Notaries working together  with Lt.                                                                   
Governor Leman's office.                                                                                                        
Mr. Westad referenced the handout:  Notary Statute Comparison                                                                   
-  CSHB  97 (JUD).    (Copy  in  File).   The  comparison  is                                                                   
arranged in sections highlighting  the qualifications, terms,                                                                   
fees, bonds, commission types,  commission revocation, notary                                                                   
data and non-commissioned notaries.                                                                                             
Mr. Westad provided an overview of the handout.                                                                                 
2:21:23 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Westad continued with the overview.                                                                                         
2:22:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Croft  was  confused how  the  procedure  for                                                                   
revocation  changes.   He  referenced the  proposed  "shared"                                                                   
responsibility with the Lt. Governor.                                                                                           
Mr. Clark  responded that Section  68, Page 16,  provides the                                                                   
Lt.  Governor   the  authority  to  revoke  or   suspend  the                                                                   
commission  based on  grounds for  that subsection.   If  the                                                                   
status for the notary changes  and they no longer qualify for                                                                   
the commission,  that would constitute  grounds.   An extreme                                                                   
case  would be  a notary  convicted  of a  felony during  the                                                                   
course  of their  commission.   Failure  to  comply with  the                                                                   
chapter gives  the Lt.  Governor the  authority to  revoke or                                                                   
Mr. Clark pointed out that the  #3 category for "incompetence                                                                   
or  malfeasance"  is more  nebulous.    All the  changes  are                                                                   
fairly technical and relate to the legislation itself.                                                                          
Mr. Clark noted that Section 44.50.069  deals with situations                                                                   
where the public might call and  complain about a notary.  In                                                                   
that  situation,  instead  of  the Lt.  Governor  having  the                                                                   
authority to revoke  the commission, it would  go through the                                                                   
Office  of   Administrative  hearings.     He  thought   that                                                                   
situation  could  be  less defined  and  would  require  some                                                                   
degree of investigation.                                                                                                        
2:24:59 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Croft referenced  that section and asked about                                                                   
the final  analysis and determination  of a violation  in the                                                                   
chapter.  He  stated that Section 44.50.068  surprised him in                                                                   
that it repeats Section 44.50.069  and gives the Lt. Governor                                                                   
the  sole power.   He  pointed  out that  language would  not                                                                   
require a hearing.                                                                                                              
Mr. Clark acknowledged  that was correct and that  it was not                                                                   
intended to "rob" the notaries  of their right to appeal.  He                                                                   
thought  it  might be  appropriate  to  add a  subsection  to                                                                   
Section 44.50.068  that would  clarify that the  notary would                                                                   
have the  authority to  appeal any decision  made by  the Lt.                                                                   
Representative Croft  thought that the two  provisions should                                                                   
be combined  into one section.   As  it appears now,  the two                                                                   
seem  to  be on  different  tracks.    Mr. Clark  agreed  and                                                                   
suggested that Representative  Croft could make an amendment,                                                                   
which their office  would support.  The current  situation is                                                                   
quite  cumbersome.   He  suggested that  if  an amendment  is                                                                   
created, it should approach the  situation by letting the Lt.                                                                   
Governor suspend or revoke and  then using the administrative                                                                   
hearing officer to become the appeal mechanism.                                                                                 
2:28:16 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Croft  commented it  should  be  a matter  of                                                                   
suspending.  Mr. Clark agreed.                                                                                                  
Representative  Hawker agreed  with Representative  Croft and                                                                   
thought that  an amendment should  be brought  forward before                                                                   
the bill was moved from Committee.                                                                                              
Representative Weyhrauch  recommended that if  there is going                                                                   
to be an appeal, it should be  in a separate section applying                                                                   
to other provisions.  Mr. Clark  asked if direction was being                                                                   
given  for  the  Office  of the  Lt.  Governor  to  draft  an                                                                   
Representative  Weyhrauch asked  about the qualifications  of                                                                   
the  notary.    He  referenced   Section  8,  Page  8,  which                                                                   
stipulates  the  qualifications  of  those  not  having  been                                                                   
incarcerated  for  a  felony   within  10  years  before  the                                                                   
commission takes effect.  He asked  if a person would qualify                                                                   
if  they  were  convicted  of  a  felony  but  had  not  been                                                                   
incarcerated.  Mr. Clark did not know if it was possible.                                                                       
2:30:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Weyhrauch  commented  that  if you  choose  a                                                                   
notary, you choose  someone that can be trusted.   He thought                                                                   
that a  probation felon  should be  reconsidered.   Mr. Clark                                                                   
replied that it  had not occurred to them that  someone could                                                                   
be  accused  of  a  felony  and  not  be  incarcerated.    He                                                                   
recommended  establishing  language   that  would  take  both                                                                   
situations into consideration.   Mr. Clark agreed it could be                                                                   
addressed at the same time as the other amendment.                                                                              
2:31:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer pointed  out that the application  fee had not                                                                   
been changed;  he asked if  it had been  the same  cost since                                                                   
1961.  Mr. Clark responded that  fee had been raised from $20                                                                   
dollars to  $40 dollars in  1990.  The  Lt. Governor  did not                                                                   
proposed that a change be made to that number.                                                                                  
In response to Representative  Weyhrauch's comments regarding                                                                   
the fees,  Mr. Clark  explained that the  $40 dollar  fee was                                                                   
reasonable compared with other states.                                                                                          
Representative  Weyhrauch questioned the  cost to buy  a bond                                                                   
in 1990  as compared  to now.   Mr. Clark  did not  know, but                                                                   
guessed that they had not increased.                                                                                            
Representative   Weyhrauch  asked  if   a  notary   test  was                                                                   
required.   Mr.  Clark replied  that  the test  is no  longer                                                                   
required;  when  researching   the  statutes,  there  was  no                                                                   
statutory  authority  to  make  it mandatory.    The  changes                                                                   
proposed to  HB 97 intends to  expand the testing  program to                                                                   
make it self guided through the website.                                                                                        
Representative  Weyhrauch  asked  it was  required  that  the                                                                   
notaries keep  a log.   Mr. Clark replied  that law  does not                                                                   
require it, but notaries are strongly  urged to keep a notary                                                                   
journal.   He added that  it is an  essential element  to the                                                                   
act of notarization.  It is not  mentioned in the statutes or                                                                   
in the bill and  is a contentious subject.  There  has been a                                                                   
lot of objection  to a mandatory journal.   He commented that                                                                   
a journal serves the public's  best interest as it provides a                                                                   
record of important information.                                                                                                
2:36:07 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hawker  referenced  the  $40 dollar  fee  and                                                                   
asked if  the State was  receiving sufficient revenue  to run                                                                   
the  cost  of  the  program with  that  amount.    Mr.  Clark                                                                   
believed so.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer  interjected that since the legislation  is in                                                                   
the  process of  raising  the fees,  that  section should  be                                                                   
"bumped up"  a little.  Mr.  Clark responded that if  the fee                                                                   
was  raised, the  bill  might  not pass.    He stressed  that                                                                   
passage is important and that  the Office of the Lt. Governor                                                                   
had looked at the fee schedule closely.                                                                                         
2:37:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Holm asked if it  might be called a tax on the                                                                   
notary.   He  inquired about  the  number of  notaries.   Mr.                                                                   
Clark  stated   that  their  office  processes   about  3,000                                                                   
commissions  each  year  and that  there  are  around  12,000                                                                   
active notaries.                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  asked  if  any  industry  dominates  the                                                                   
notary  commissions.   Mr.  Clark  replied that  the  banking                                                                   
industry is a  common business; however, all  businesses find                                                                   
it convenient to have notaries on staff.                                                                                        
Vice-Chair  Stoltze asked  if banks  offer the  service as  a                                                                   
convenience or as  a service.  Mr. Clark responded  that most                                                                   
banks  offer   notary  services  free  of  charge   to  their                                                                   
Representative  Croft referenced  the $40  dollar charge  and                                                                   
asked if that  fee had been too  high in 1990.   He suggested                                                                   
that the  question should be  if the amount generates  enough                                                                   
money to  cover the services and  asked if it  was comparable                                                                   
to other states.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  stated he  would not  suggest an increase  if                                                                   
costs were being met.                                                                                                           
Representative   Weyhrauch  thought   it  was  important   to                                                                   
scrutinize  those  costs  closely  and  requested  that  more                                                                   
information be made available.   Mr. Clark offered to provide                                                                   
that information.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Meyer requested  that Mr. Clark  work with  Suzanne                                                                   
Cunningham in  his office to  provide a committee  substitute                                                                   
addressing the items of concern.                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault  inquired if  there was a  log of  how many                                                                   
times a notary uses their seal  each year.  Mr. Clark replied                                                                   
that without a notary journal,  there is no way to track that                                                                   
type of activity.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair Chenault  questioned the  fiscal note request.   Mr.                                                                   
Clark advised  that the  fees referenced  are not related  to                                                                   
the notaries  or the public.   They are related to  a special                                                                   
type of certificate,  attached to documents going  to foreign                                                                   
countries.    Foreign  governments   often  will  not  accept                                                                   
documents  from  any  other  country  without  that  type  of                                                                   
attached certificate.   There are between 2,000  and 3,000 of                                                                   
those per  year and  that is  what the  fiscal note  is based                                                                   
Co-Chair Chenault  asked what  most of the certificates  deal                                                                   
with.    Mr.  Clark  explained  that  they  verify  that  the                                                                   
notaries really are notaries.                                                                                                   
2:43:59 PM                                                                                                                    
HB 97 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                          
HOUSE BILL NO. 99                                                                                                             
     An Act  relating to controlled substances  regarding the                                                                   
     crimes  of manslaughter,  endangering the  welfare  of a                                                                   
     child, and misconduct involving  a controlled substance;                                                                   
     and providing for an effective date.                                                                                       
ANNE CARPENETI,  ASSISTANT ATTORNEY  GENERAL, LEGAL  SERVICES                                                                   
SECTION,  CRIMINAL DIVISION,  DEPARTMENT  OF LAW,  summarized                                                                   
what HB 99 would accomplish.                                                                                                    
   ·      It provides that it would be a manslaughter                                                                           
          conviction for manufacturing or delivering meth in                                                                    
          violation of drug laws, AS 11.71, if a person dies                                                                    
          as the direct result of ingesting the drug.                                                                           
   ·      It also provides that there is no additional                                                                          
          comparable  mental state required for  the State to                                                                   
          prove  the case.   Making the conduct  specifically                                                                   
          homicide does not operate new ground in the law.                                                                      
2:46:20 PM                                                                                                                    
   ·      The bill creates a new form of child endangerment                                                                     
          in the  1  degree by  providing that it would  be a                                                                   
          Class  C  felony  to   manufacture  or  attempt  to                                                                   
          manufacture  meth in violation of the  State's drug                                                                   
          laws  in a building,  especially if children  under                                                                   
          18 use the building as a dwelling.                                                                                    
   ·      The bill changes the penalty for possessing meth                                                                      
          amphetamine in an organic  solution.  Right now, it                                                                   
          is a  Class C felony  to possess the  substance and                                                                   
          it is  a Class A felony  to possess a  precursor to                                                                   
          the  substance with the  intent to manufacture  it.                                                                   
          It  is a known  fact that  people possess  the meth                                                                   
          amphetamine  in  an organic  solution  in order  to                                                                   
          extract the powered meth.                                                                                             
Co-Chair Chenault  noted an on-going case in  Fairbanks where                                                                   
a meth lab was  found in a motel.  Ms. Carpeneti  stated that                                                                   
was correct.                                                                                                                    
Representative  Weyhrauch commented  on the  vastness of  the                                                                   
problem  nationally with  meth.   He pointed  out that  "meth                                                                   
amphetamine" was  not in the title  of the bill and  asked if                                                                   
the bill was directed solely to that drug.                                                                                      
Ms.  Carpeneti  explained  that  two  of  the  sections  deal                                                                   
directly  with meth  amphetamines but  the bill  does have  a                                                                   
broader  context.     The   manslaughter  provision   is  for                                                                   
distribution  or manufacturing  of any  drug in violation  to                                                                   
the State's drug laws.                                                                                                          
Representative  Weyhrauch  asked   if  current  criminal  law                                                                   
allows seizure of a building or  car if it is involved in the                                                                   
manufacturing of  meth amphetamines.  Ms. Carpeneti  said she                                                                   
would research that and get back to the Committee.                                                                              
Representative  Weyhrauch asked if  it was correct  that meth                                                                   
amphetamine  could not be  made without  using Sudafed.   Ms.                                                                   
Carpeneti deferred to an online expert.                                                                                         
Representative  Weyhrauch inquired  about the possibility  of                                                                   
vapors of the  meth amphetamine being absorbed  into carpets,                                                                   
walls  and sheetrock  of  the  lab and  outside  areas.   Ms.                                                                   
Carpeneti understood that was  correct and that it could also                                                                   
permeate airwaves of an entire building.                                                                                        
Representative Weyhrauch  asked if the intent  of legislation                                                                   
was that criminal  prosecution and application  would address                                                                   
any effect that the meth amphetamine  reached.  Ms. Carpeneti                                                                   
advised that  it clarifies if  the drug is manufactured  in a                                                                   
building with reckless  disregard to the danger  of any child                                                                   
in that whole  structure, that person would  be prosecuted in                                                                   
first degree.                                                                                                                   
Representative  Weyhrauch commented  that reckless  disregard                                                                   
is a high standard.   Ms. Carpeneti responded that  it is the                                                                   
highest,  "knowingly"   is  the  second   highest,  "reckless                                                                   
disregard" the next and "criminal negligence" the last.                                                                         
Representative Weyhrauch discussed  "casting a wider net" for                                                                   
lowering  that to  a comparable  mental state.   He asked  if                                                                   
that  change  would create  a  fiscal  impact on  the  prison                                                                   
system.   Ms. Carpeneti  thought that  most meth lab  arrests                                                                   
would  be able  to prove  reckless disregard  because of  the                                                                   
dangerousness of the substance.                                                                                                 
Representative Weyhrauch revisited  the Sudafed question.  He                                                                   
asked if  it was  a critical component  of meth  amphetamine,                                                                   
would it then  be simpler to outlaw Sudafed  sales in Alaska.                                                                   
Ms.  Carpeneti  noted  that  there  are  legitimate  uses  of                                                                   
Sudafed.  There are several bills  in the Legislature at this                                                                   
time that could regulate the sale of that type of chemical.                                                                     
2:56:45 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Holm  mentioned a  bill  passed  a couple  of                                                                   
years ago that  dealt with mandatory cleanup  of these sites.                                                                   
He added that HB 149 deals with the meth issue.                                                                                 
SGT. TIM  BIRT, ALASKA STATE  TROOPERS, DEPARTMENT  OF PUBLIC                                                                   
SAFETY, JUNEAU,  testified in  support of  passage of  HB 99.                                                                   
Sgt. Birt commented  on the common trend of the  meth labs in                                                                   
the State  of Alaska.   There  is a  complete disregard  from                                                                   
those that manufacture  meth amphetamine for  their safety as                                                                   
well  as the  safety of  those around  them.   The manner  in                                                                   
which the  chemicals are stored  creates situations  that are                                                                   
extremely  hazardous.    He  stressed   that  whether  it  is                                                                   
intentional  or not, a  dangerous situation  is created  with                                                                   
the chemicals  that are used.   In the actual meth  labs, the                                                                   
chemicals  are  usually found  from  the  floor level  up  to                                                                   
counter top, the areas in which  children spend most of their                                                                   
Vice-Chair Stoltze asked for a  description of the compounds.                                                                   
Sgt. Burt  explained that  in Alaska,  there are two  primary                                                                   
methods of manufacturing meth amphetamine.                                                                                      
   ·      Using lithium metal and Sudafed                                                                                       
   ·      Using iodine and red phosperous                                                                                       
Vice-Chair  Stoltze inquired  about  the  amounts of  Sudafed                                                                   
used.      Sgt. Birt  explained  that  in  the  manufacturing                                                                   
process,  the more  chemicals put  into the  front, the  more                                                                   
finished product  that results.   What has  been seen  in the                                                                   
"box labs"  or "mom  and pop"  labs is that  they take  a few                                                                   
boxes  of Sudafed  and  manufacture  grams and/or  ounces  of                                                                   
meth.  For  every one unit of  Sudafed in the front  end, the                                                                   
result  is ¾  unit of  meth.   Some retailers  now limit  the                                                                   
number  of boxes  of  Sudafed,  which can  be  sold over  the                                                                   
3:03:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Chenault  asked how many meth labs  have been busted                                                                   
in Alaska in the last two to five  years.  Sgt Birt responded                                                                   
that those  numbers are  available but that  he did  not have                                                                   
them at this meeting.   In 2004, in the Mat-Su  valley, there                                                                   
were 50 to 60 meth labs busted.                                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Chenault pointed  out that  the three fiscal  notes                                                                   
all indicate a zero fiscal impact,  which surprised him given                                                                   
the size of the problem statewide.   He requested that the up                                                                   
front anticipated costs be submitted to the Committee.                                                                          
3:06:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Holm noted that  Alaska has no restrictions on                                                                   
the purchase  of Sudafed.  He  asked if there should  be laws                                                                   
in  place to  limit the  sale of  any ephedrine.   Sgt.  Birt                                                                   
commented that  Sudafed actually serves legitimate  purposes.                                                                   
He agreed it should be regulated  and restricted, which might                                                                   
help with  the problem.   Other  states that have  restricted                                                                   
the sales  have experienced a  dramatic decrease in  the meth                                                                   
labs.    That  drop  happened  almost  immediately  with  the                                                                   
passage of their legislation.                                                                                                   
Representative  Holm understood  that if  ephedrine came  off                                                                   
the market,  there are other options  for those that  need it                                                                   
and  could  be  purchased  over   the  counter.    Sgt.  Birt                                                                   
acknowledged  that there  are other  compositions of  Sudafed                                                                   
such as a gel cap or cough syrup.   In other states, only the                                                                   
actual cold tablets are regulated.                                                                                              
3:09:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Holm  questioned if that would  be possible in                                                                   
Alaska.  Sgt.  Birt replied that controlling  Sudafed tablets                                                                   
would definitely have an impact on the meth labs.                                                                               
Representative  Holm  recommended  that  the  Committee  look                                                                   
further into that possibility.                                                                                                  
3:09:36 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES  STEELE,   (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   MANAGER,                                                                   
OFFICE OF CHILDREN SERVICES, DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL                                                                   
SERVICES,  WASILLA,  testified  in  support  of HB  99.    He                                                                   
commented that he comes into contact  with the issues of meth                                                                   
labs not only  in his role as manager of  children's services                                                                   
but also  as a deputy fire  chief.  Mr. Steele  stressed that                                                                   
Mat-Su  has the  fasted growing  population  and the  fastest                                                                   
growing number of drug labs in the State.                                                                                       
Mr. Steele  pointed out  that two years  ago, the  local drug                                                                   
teams seized  30 labs;  last year,  that number increased  to                                                                   
51.  He noted  that there is a critical problem  when cooking                                                                   
meth in  that all  surfaces become  contaminated through  the                                                                   
fumes.  Toxic fumes and poisonous  gases pose an extreme risk                                                                   
for anyone exposed.                                                                                                             
3:12:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Last year, the Office of Children  Services took custody of 8                                                                   
active labs.   There were  workers that transported  kids who                                                                   
had to  be decontaminated  because of  their exposure  to the                                                                   
meth.   He stressed that  children's normal behavior,  places                                                                   
them  at risk  for  contaminates of  the  meth and  dangerous                                                                   
chemicals.  Currently,  his office receives about  40 monthly                                                                   
reports related to  some aspect of meth production.   This is                                                                   
a  huge  growing  concern.   Mr.  Steele  offered  to  answer                                                                   
questions of the Committee.                                                                                                     
3:13:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Stoltze asked  how often  are firemen, the  first                                                                   
responders to the  meth lab scenes.  Mr.  Steele acknowledged                                                                   
that it does occur, however, often  times the fire department                                                                   
does not  find out  until later  in the  process.   Sometimes                                                                   
there  are  explosions.    He  pointed  out  that  they  have                                                                   
responded to car fires with mobile  labs.  It does occur, but                                                                   
he did not know the number.                                                                                                     
3:15:22 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer noted that the  bill would be HELD in order to                                                                   
merge it with other bills with a similar concern.                                                                               
3:16:27 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Weyhrauch hoped  that  the legislation  would                                                                   
not affect homebrew, wine or beer making.                                                                                       
HB 99 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                          
The meeting was adjourned at 3:18 P.M.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects