Legislature(2021 - 2022)ADAMS 519

05/05/2022 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 3:50 pm --
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCS CSSB 45(FIN) Out of Committee
                   HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                         May 5, 2022                                                                                            
                          1:47 p.m.                                                                                             
1:47:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Merrick called the  House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 1:47 p.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Kelly Merrick, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Dan Ortiz, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Ben Carpenter                                                                                                    
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Bart LeBon                                                                                                       
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Crystal  Koeneman,  Staff, Representative  Sarah  Rasmussen;                                                                    
Tim  Lamkin,  Staff,  Senator Gary  Stevens;  Senator  David                                                                    
Wilson,  Sponsor;  Senator  Roger  Holland,  Sponsor;  Craig                                                                    
Valdez,  Staff,  Senator  Roger  Holland;  Lori  Wing-Heier,                                                                    
Director,  Division of  Insurance,  Department of  Commerce,                                                                    
Community and Economic Development                                                                                              
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
David Schade, Director,  Division of Agriculture, Department                                                                    
of  Natural   Resources;  Katie  Steffens,   Deputy  Program                                                                    
Manager, Tobacco Prevention  and Control Program, Department                                                                    
of  Health  and Social  Services;  Dr.  David Logan,  Alaska                                                                    
Dental Society,  Sitka; David  Nielson, Chair,  Alaska Board                                                                    
of Dental  Examiners, Anchorage;  Scott Raygor,  Fire Chief,                                                                    
Fairbanks Fire Department, Fairbanks.                                                                                           
SB 45     AGE FOR NICOTINE/E-CIG; TAX E-CIG.                                                                                    
          HCS  CSSB 45(FIN)  was REPORTED  out of  committee                                                                    
          with  one  "do   pass"  recommendation,  five  "no                                                                    
          recommendation"  recommendations and  four "amend"                                                                    
          recommendations  and with  one  new fiscal  impact                                                                    
          note  from  the  Department  of  Revenue  and  two                                                                    
          previously  published   zero  fiscal   notes:  FN4                                                                    
          (DHS/DOH) and FN6 (GOV/Combined).                                                                                     
SB 131(title am)                                                                                                                
          WORKERS' COMP DISABILITY FOR FIREFIGHTERS                                                                             
          SB 131(title  am) was HEARD and  HELD in committee                                                                    
          for further consideration.                                                                                            
CSSB 173(FIN)                                                                                                                   
          DENTIST SPEC. LICENSE/RADIOLOGIC EQUIP                                                                                
          CSSB 173(FIN) was HEARD and  HELD in committee for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
Co-Chair Merrick reviewed the agenda for the meeting.                                                                           
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 45(FIN)                                                                                                
     "An  Act raising  the minimum  age  to purchase,  sell,                                                                    
     exchange,  or  possess  tobacco, a  product  containing                                                                    
     nicotine,  or an  electronic smoking  product; relating                                                                    
     to selling  a tobacco  product; relating  to possession                                                                    
     of  tobacco, electronic  smoking products,  or products                                                                    
     containing nicotine by a person  under 21 years of age;                                                                    
     relating to  the definition of 'nicotine';  relating to                                                                    
     transporting  tobacco, a  product containing  nicotine,                                                                    
     or  an  electronic  smoking product;  relating  to  the                                                                    
     taxation  of electronic  smoking products;  relating to                                                                    
     electronic smoking products;  relating to the marketing                                                                    
     of  electronic smoking  products;  relating to  tobacco                                                                    
     products; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
1:48:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Merrick relayed  that the  meeting would  continue                                                                    
consideration of  amendments to SB 45.  [Secretary Note: The                                                                    
amendments were also considered during the morning meeting,                                                                     
05/05/22 9:00 A.M.]                                                                                                             
Representative Rasmussen MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 4                                                                             
Replacement, 32-LS0311\D.16 (Nauman, 5/5/22)(copy on file):                                                                     
     Page 7, line 30:                                                                                                           
     Delete "or"                                                                                                                
     Page 8, lines 1 - 2:                                                                                                       
     Delete all material.                                                                                                       
     Reletter the following subparagraphs accordingly.                                                                          
     Page 8, lines 10 - 13:                                                                                                     
     Delete  "or marijuana  products and  intended for  sale                                                                    
     only   in   a   retail   marijuana   store;   in   this                                                                    
     subparagraph,  "marijuana,"  "marijuana products,"  and                                                                    
     "retail marijuana store" have  the meanings given in AS                                                                    
     Insert ",  marijuana products, hemp, or  hemp products;                                                                    
     for  purposes  of  meeting  the  requirements  of  this                                                                    
     subparagraph, the  department shall accept  a notarized                                                                    
     affidavit  from the  seller attesting  to the  intended                                                                    
     use  of  the  product;   or  (3)  marijuana,  marijuana                                                                    
     products,  hemp, or  hemp  products  if the  marijuana,                                                                    
     marijuana  product,  hemp,  or hemp  product  does  not                                                                    
     contain nicotine"                                                                                                          
     Page 8, following line 13:                                                                                                 
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
     "* Sec.  17. AS  43.50.310 is amended  by adding  a new                                                                    
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
     (c) In this section,                                                                                                       
     (1) "1 hemp"  and "hemp products" means hemp  or a hemp                                                                    
     product produced  by an individual registered  under AS                                                                    
     (2)  "marijuana"  and  "marijuana  products"  have  the                                                                    
     meanings given in AS 17.38.900."                                                                                           
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
     Page 11, following line 5:                                                                                                 
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
     "* Sec.  22. AS  43.50.330 is amended  by adding  a new                                                                    
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
     (c) A licensee  is not required to file  a return under                                                                    
     this section if the licensee                                                                                               
     (1)  either (A)  sells  only products  exempt under  AS                                                                    
     43.50.310(b)(2)(C) or  (b)(3) from  the tax  under this                                                                    
     chapter; or  (B) is an  individual registered  under AS                                                                    
     03.05.076;  and  (2)  provides  a  notarized  affidavit                                                                    
     attesting to the licensee's  qualification under (1) of                                                                    
     this subsection."                                                                                                          
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
     Page 17, line 28:                                                                                                          
     Delete "sec. 19"                                                                                                           
     Insert "sec. 20"                                                                                                           
     Page 17, line 29:                                                                                                          
     Delete "sec. 33"                                                                                                           
     Insert "sec. 35"                                                                                                           
Representative Wool OBJECTED.                                                                                                   
Representative  Rasmussen  asked  her  staff  and  the  bill                                                                    
sponsor's  staff   to  explain   the  changes  in   the  new                                                                    
CRYSTAL  KOENEMAN,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  SARAH  RASMUSSEN,                                                                    
explained the  amendment. She  explained that  the amendment                                                                    
exempted  marijuana,  marijuana  products,  hemp,  and  hemp                                                                    
products from the tax. The  original language in Amendment 4                                                                    
created an  unintended loophole for industrial  hemp license                                                                    
holders  operating another  business and  they would  not be                                                                    
subject  to  the  tax.  She   clarified  that  was  not  the                                                                    
sponsors   intention  and  assured the  committee  that  any                                                                    
nicotine  and other  taxable products  outside of  marijuana                                                                    
and  hemp were  subject  to  the tax.  She  shared that  the                                                                    
sponsor worked with Mr. Lamkin to correct the issue.                                                                            
Representative  Rasmussen asked  to hear  comments from  the                                                                    
bill sponsor's staff.                                                                                                           
1:49:59 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM LAMKIN,  STAFF, SENATOR GARY STEVENS,  answered that the                                                                    
amendment had been  negotiated for a specific  carve out for                                                                    
the hemp  industry. He communicated  that the  hemp industry                                                                    
was  in its  inception and  the  sponsor wanted  to let  the                                                                    
program  grow before  considering  taxing  its products.  He                                                                    
pointed to page 2, line 15 of the amendment that reads:                                                                         
     (B) is an individual registered under AS 03.05.076;                                                                        
Mr.  Lamkin  cautioned  that  someone  that  had  a  tobacco                                                                    
endorsement and was registered as  a hemp grower could still                                                                    
be  exempted  from  the  tax.  He  recommended  conceptually                                                                    
striking line 15.                                                                                                               
Representative  Rasmussen moved  Conceptual  Amendment 1  to                                                                    
Amendment 4 Replacement to delete line 15 on page 2.                                                                            
Representative Wool OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                    
Representative   Wool  stated   his  understanding   of  the                                                                    
conceptual  amendment. He  thought  it  seemed strange  that                                                                    
someone with  an industrial hemp license  would also operate                                                                    
a retail store selling tobacco products.                                                                                        
1:52:54 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Lamkin  answered that he  could not imagine that  a hemp                                                                    
farmer would  open a  shop on their  farm. He  exemplified a                                                                    
retailer of  tobacco, vape,  and hemp  products in  an urban                                                                    
center who could also own a  hemp farm in Delta Junction. He                                                                    
clarified  that line  15 indicates  that  a registered  hemp                                                                    
grower was exempted  from paying taxes on  products at their                                                                    
vape shop.                                                                                                                      
Representative Wool  WITHDREW his OBJECTION. There  being NO                                                                    
further  OBJECTION, conceptual  Amendment 1  to Amendment  4                                                                    
Replacement was ADOPTED.                                                                                                        
Representative Josephson asked what  was lost by the removal                                                                    
of  the language   retail marijuana  store  from  subsection                                                                    
(d) on page 2, line 18 to 19 from the original Amendment 4:                                                                     
     (d) In this section, retail marijuana store has the                                                                        
      meaning given in AS17.38.900.                                                                                             
Mr.  Lamkin  replied  that  elimination  of  the  subsection                                                                    
removed the  potential loopholes where if  someone only sold                                                                    
to marijuana  stores, they would  be exempt and  removed the                                                                    
incentive for  retailers to sell both  nicotine products and                                                                    
Representative Wool  recalled that when marijuana  was first                                                                    
legalized  in the  state, a  marijuana shop  could not  sell                                                                    
Cannabidiol  (CBD)  oil  because   they  lacked  the  proper                                                                    
license, but  a grocery store  could. He was  uncertain what                                                                    
marijuana  stores could  sell and  if that  included selling                                                                    
tobacco with a proper license.                                                                                                  
1:55:14 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Lamkin  answered that  he  was  not  a student  of  the                                                                    
marijuana   statutes.  He   indicated  that   the  amendment                                                                    
clarified  that  if  something  like  Representative  Wools                                                                     
example  happened the  products would  not automatically  be                                                                    
exempt  from the  tax.  Representative  Wool referenced  CBD                                                                    
oil.  He  was  previously  unaware that  there  was  a  vape                                                                    
product without  THC. He  asked if  the amendment  meant the                                                                    
item was exempt from the  tobacco tax and the marijuana tax.                                                                    
Mr. Lamkin answered it was  correct provided it did not also                                                                    
contain nicotine.  He stated that  once a  product contained                                                                    
nicotine it triggered the  tax. Representative Wool recalled                                                                    
that  in an  earlier  discussion vape  liquid  that did  not                                                                    
contain nicotine was taxed as  a tobacco product because the                                                                    
action of  vaping mimics how tobacco  products were consumed                                                                    
and could lead  to consuming tobacco. He voiced  that he did                                                                    
not  object  to  taxing  all vape  liquid.  He  thought  the                                                                    
amendment seemed contradictory to an earlier statement.                                                                         
1:58:05 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Lamkin clarified  that if products were  approved by the                                                                    
Food  and  Drug  Administration   (FDA)  for  a  therapeutic                                                                    
purpose  such as  cessation they  would be  exempt from  the                                                                    
bill.  He deduced  that certain  CBD  products  might   fall                                                                    
under  the  FDA  exemption.  He   added  that  the  research                                                                    
strongly  suggested  that  when   products  claimed  not  to                                                                    
contain  nicotine,  when  tested   they  found  nicotine  in                                                                    
varying amounts.  He qualified that  the hemp and  CBD carve                                                                    
out did not  imply that consuming the products  was safe. He                                                                    
relayed  that a  consumer  alert and  some growing  research                                                                    
questioned their safety  and whether it was safe  or not was                                                                    
not   known.  The   carve  out   was  merely   a  negotiated                                                                    
Ms.  Koeneman pointed  to  a definition  for  hemp and  hemp                                                                    
products  at  the  top  of  page 2  of  the  amendment.  She                                                                    
explained that  it applied to products  that were registered                                                                    
under  the  current  hemp statute  AS  03.05.076  and  would                                                                    
remove  products containing  nicotine  or other  substances.                                                                    
She elaborated that one of  the main reasons people used CBD                                                                    
was for  medical ailments  including seizures,  anxiety, and                                                                    
other  issues.  She  understood  unknown  health  or  safety                                                                    
reasons  regarding CBD  but there  were medical  reasons for                                                                    
its use.  She thought that  many times  the risk of  CBD was                                                                    
offset by the benefit provided to patients.                                                                                     
2:00:39 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick  interjected that  there was a  request for                                                                    
the department to comment.                                                                                                      
DAVID SCHADE, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF AGRICULTURE, DEPARTMENT                                                                    
OF  NATURAL RESOURCES  (via teleconference),  clarified that                                                                    
three types  of industrial hemp registrations  existed under                                                                    
the  program:   producer,  manufacturer,  and   retail  sale                                                                    
registrations.  He elaborated  that  the  definition in  the                                                                    
amendment referred  to hemp or hemp  products produced under                                                                    
AS  03.05.076.  He  delineated that  the  problem  with  the                                                                    
language was that it did  not contemplate the fact that what                                                                    
was done  to ensure product  safety was via  an endorsement.                                                                    
The products  were endorsed and  proven to be safe  and free                                                                    
of unintended  products. He emphasized that  currently there                                                                    
were no  endorsed products that  contained nicotine  and the                                                                    
division  did not  intend to  allow  nicotine in  industrial                                                                    
hemp products  sold in  the state.  He ascertained  that the                                                                    
definition  needed  to be  expanded  to  ensure it  did  not                                                                    
contain nicotine.                                                                                                               
Representative    Wool   understood    the   carveout    and                                                                    
negotiation. He  was not taking  a jab at the  marijuana and                                                                    
hemp industry.  He spoke to  the intent  of the bill  to tax                                                                    
vaped  nicotine products.  He thought  vaping as  a mode  of                                                                    
ingestion  should be  taxed  because  it mimicked  ingesting                                                                    
tobacco  products,   which  the   bill  was   attempting  to                                                                    
discourage. He felt carving out  CBD oil was antithetical to                                                                    
the bills motives.                                                                                                              
2:04:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Rasmussen  thought   the  bill  specifically                                                                    
pertained to  nicotine and  marijuana products  already fell                                                                    
under  a certain  tax. She  believed that  not adopting  the                                                                    
amendment would inadvertently double  tax the products which                                                                    
was not the purpose of the bill.                                                                                                
Mr.  Lamkin  was  not  personally  convinced  that  CBD  was                                                                    
completely  safe to  inhale. He  remarked  that the  studies                                                                    
were still in progress. He  noted that some common vape base                                                                    
ingredients  were polyethylene  glycol, vegetable  glycerin,                                                                    
and  vitamin E  acetate, etc.  He maintained  that the  hemp                                                                    
carve  out  had been  a  negotiation  to  not injure  a  new                                                                    
industry;  however,   the  heartbeat  of the  bill   was  to                                                                    
prevent  nicotine products  use  before the  age  of 21.  He                                                                    
delineated that  if initiation to nicotine  could be avoided                                                                    
up  to  the age  of  21  the  likelihood  of a  lifetime  of                                                                    
addiction was  substantially lower. He shared  that he began                                                                    
smoking in his youth and quit 20 years ago.                                                                                     
2:07:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Rasmussen appreciated  the sponsor's  office                                                                    
stating that  the underlying  intention of  the bill  was to                                                                    
prevent  addiction  to  nicotine.  She  believed  that  many                                                                    
ingested substances had  harmful consequences like ibuprofen                                                                    
and  fast food  that  were  not taxed  to  prevent use.  She                                                                    
understood that  the intention  of the  bill was  to prevent                                                                    
nicotine  addiction  therefore,   she  offered  Amendment  4                                                                    
Replacement  to offer  clarity and  focus on  the underlying                                                                    
intention of the bill.                                                                                                          
Representative Wool referenced the  phrase  double tax  used                                                                    
by  Representative Rasmussen.  He  understood  that CBD  oil                                                                    
sold in a  marijuana store, was taxed  under marijuana laws,                                                                    
and if sold  in a convenience store it  would currently have                                                                    
no tax  but if the bill  was passed it would  be taxed under                                                                    
SB 45. He ascertained that it  would not be double taxed. He                                                                    
wondered whether  he was correct.  Mr. Lamkin knew  that the                                                                    
hemp and  marijuana statutes were separate  and distinct and                                                                    
did not overlap. Hemp was tested  to confirm that it did not                                                                    
contain  THC and  was  not taxed  under  marijuana laws.  He                                                                    
noted  that only  products containing  THC were  taxed under                                                                    
marijuana laws.  He confirmed that  a CBD product sold  in a                                                                    
marijuana   store  was   not   taxed.  Representative   Wool                                                                    
referenced  the  point  about preventing  nicotine  use.  He                                                                    
agreed  that    the  act  of   smoking  tobacco   should  be                                                                    
discouraged.  He understood  that the point was  to not have                                                                    
youth  mimicking  smoking.  He  supported  taxing  all  vape                                                                    
products under the bill.                                                                                                        
2:11:07 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Josephson  asked   if  the   amendment  was                                                                    
acceptable to  the sponsor. Mr.  Lamkin stated  that Senator                                                                    
Stevens currently found the  amendment agreeable. He guessed                                                                    
that sometime  in the future  the sponsor might  introduce a                                                                    
bill taxing hemp under the program.                                                                                             
Representative Wool MAINTAINED his  OBJECTION to Amendment 4                                                                    
Replacement as amended.                                                                                                         
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: LeBon,  Rasmussen,  Carpenter, Josephson,  Foster,                                                                    
OPPOSED: Ortiz, Wool, Edgmon, Johnson                                                                                           
The MOTION  PASSED (6/4). There being  NO further OBJECTION,                                                                    
Amendment 4 Replacement was ADOPTED as amended.                                                                                 
2:12:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Rasmussen MOVED  to ADOPT  Amendment 5,  32-                                                                    
LS0311\D.12 (Nauman, 5/3/22)(copy on file):                                                                                     
     Page 7, line 6:                                                                                                            
     Delete "45"                                                                                                                
     Insert "15"                                                                                                                
Representative Josephson OBJECTED.                                                                                              
Representative Rasmussen explained  that the amendment would                                                                    
reduce  the  tax  from  45   percent  to  15  percent  as  a                                                                    
compromise  to  create  revenue for  health  education.  She                                                                    
believed that taxing vape products  was the  wrong approach                                                                     
by  creating  barriers  to   less  harmful  alternatives  to                                                                    
combustible cigarettes.                                                                                                         
2:14:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson  asked the  sponsors  staff  if the                                                                    
bill contained a  75 percent tax before its  referral to the                                                                    
House  Labor  and  Commerce  Committee  (HL&C).  Mr.  Lamkin                                                                    
answered in  the affirmative.  He pointed  to a  document in                                                                    
the  members  files  titled   Local  Level Tobacco  Products                                                                    
Taxation Rates in Alaska  (copy  on file). He explained that                                                                    
there  were three  types of  nicotine taxes:  Cigarette tax,                                                                    
Other  Tobacco Products,  and an  E-cigarette tax.  He noted                                                                    
that  in  the  other  tobacco column  the  same  percent  of                                                                    
wholesale  was  applied  to  the   e-cigarette  tax  in  any                                                                    
community.  He corrected  and error  and  reported that  the                                                                    
City  of Fairbanks  had  an 8  percent  e-cigarette tax.  He                                                                    
informed  the committee  that the  national average  tax was                                                                    
currently   45  percent.   He  reiterated   that  the   bill                                                                    
originally had  a 75  percent tax, and  that 45  percent was                                                                    
the average  between 15 percent  and 75 percent. He  was not                                                                    
speaking  on  behalf  of  what  percentage  he  thought  the                                                                    
sponsor would support.                                                                                                          
2:16:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson asked what  the tax resources would                                                                    
be used  for. Mr.  Lamkin answered that  the funds  would be                                                                    
used  for education  programs and  rehabilitation. He  noted                                                                    
that  the Division  of Behavioral  Health was  available for                                                                    
additional information.                                                                                                         
2:17:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson repeated the question.                                                                                 
KATIE STEFFENS,  DEPUTY PROGRAM MANAGER,  TOBACCO PREVENTION                                                                    
AND  CONTROL  PROGRAM,  DEPARTMENT   OF  HEALTH  AND  SOCIAL                                                                    
SERVICES  (via   teleconference),  answered  that   the  tax                                                                    
revenue would  be deposited  into the  general fund  and was                                                                    
available  for educational  programs,  healthcare, etc.  and                                                                    
was not directly  dedicated to the program.  She deferred to                                                                    
the tax division as well for further clarification                                                                              
2:18:53 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
2:31:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ortiz  MOVED to ADOPT  conceptual amendment  1 to                                                                    
Amendment  5 that  would  insert 25  percent  instead of  15                                                                    
Representative Josephson OBJECTED.                                                                                              
Representative Carpenter asked for clarification.                                                                               
Co-Chair Merrick clarified that the  language was on page 7,                                                                    
line 6  of the bill  and on the  amendment, it was  found on                                                                    
line 3.                                                                                                                         
2:32:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson  shared that  according to  a prior                                                                    
United States (US) surgeon general,  taxation was one way to                                                                    
deter use  of tobacco  products. He  noted that  research by                                                                    
the Campaign  for Tobacco  Free Kids  concluded that  if the                                                                    
price of  vape products  were increased usage  decreased. He                                                                    
voiced that  the HL&C committee  already reduced the  tax to                                                                    
45  percent. He  noted the  prevalence of  a 45  percent tax                                                                    
used  by  municipalities  according   to  the  document.  He                                                                    
related  that  e-cigarettes  were   not  considered  a  harm                                                                    
reduction device  per the  FDA and  believed that  they were                                                                    
hazardous and unhealthy. He opposed the amendment.                                                                              
Representative Carpenter  stated that his community  was not                                                                    
on  the list.  His municipality  had not  chosen to  tax the                                                                    
product. He supported the  conceptual amendment only because                                                                    
less tax meant less government.                                                                                                 
2:34:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Rasmussen MOVED to call the question.                                                                            
2:35:01 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
2:35:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Rasmussen WITHDREW  her motion  to call  the                                                                    
Representative Wool opposed the conceptual amendment.                                                                           
Representative  Edgmon  opposed   the  conceptual  amendment                                                                    
because  the rational  in  favor of  the  high taxation  was                                                                    
based  on   cause   and  effect.   He  wanted   to  hear  an                                                                    
explanation and  justification why 25 percent  would provide                                                                    
the prevention the bill was  meant to achieve. He thought 25                                                                    
percent was insufficient and arbitrary.                                                                                         
2:36:41 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Rasmussen  felt it  was a fair  compromise as                                                                    
Representative Carpenter  noted his community had  not taxed                                                                    
the  products.  She appreciated  the  amendment  as a   fair                                                                    
compromise   and thought  it struck  a  balance between  the                                                                    
municipalities tax levels.                                                                                                      
Representative Edgmon  noted that the previous  comments did                                                                    
not answer his question about  the regulatory aspect of a 25                                                                    
percent tax.                                                                                                                    
2:37:27 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Merrick deduced  that some  people prefer  no tax,                                                                    
and  some  prefer  lower  taxes,  so  that  any  tax  was  a                                                                    
Representative Rasmussen  noted that in communities  with 75                                                                    
and  90  percent taxes  some  people  were still  using  the                                                                    
product, but its use was  limited to those that could afford                                                                    
it. She believed that it did  not halt use and the amendment                                                                    
was a compromise.                                                                                                               
Senator  Stevens  commented  that  studies  had  found  less                                                                    
consumption every  time tobacco tax was  increased. He heard                                                                    
that the  governor would veto  anything over 25  percent. He                                                                    
stated that something was better  than nothing and hoped the                                                                    
bill would not  be vetoed by the governor.  He declared that                                                                    
he would introduce a bill with a higher tax next year.                                                                          
2:39:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ortiz  related that his amendment  was offered in                                                                    
the   spirit  of  compromise.   He  fully  agreed  with  the                                                                    
concerns raised by those that oppose the amendment.                                                                             
Representative Josephson MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                              
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Ortiz,   Rasmussen,  Carpenter,   Johnson,  LeBon,                                                                    
Merrick, Foster                                                                                                                 
OPPOSED: Wool, Edgmon, Josephson                                                                                                
The MOTION  PASSED (7/3). There being  NO further OBJECTION,                                                                    
conceptual Amendment 1 to Amendment 5 was ADOPTED.                                                                              
2:40:38 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick addressed Amendment 5 as amended.                                                                              
Co-Chair Foster  voiced his  support of  the 75  percent tax                                                                    
and believed  that it was  a deterrent but based  on Senator                                                                    
Stevens statement he supported the amendment.                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Ortiz stated  that  no one  liked paying  taxes;                                                                    
however, he believed sometimes taxes were necessary.                                                                            
2:41:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative    Josephson   appreciated    the   senators                                                                     
position.  He  warned of  a  Masons   Manual provision  that                                                                    
prohibited  talking  about   the  administration's  position                                                                    
during  deliberations. He  opposed the  amendment but  would                                                                    
support moving the bill out of committee.                                                                                       
Representative Wool  opposed the  amendment. He  agreed that                                                                    
if taxes  were raised, consumption would  decrease. He noted                                                                    
that  the states   alcohol  taxes were  the  highest in  the                                                                    
nation, but no one supported  lowering them. He thought that                                                                    
vaping products were not taxed  because they were relatively                                                                    
new compared to standard tobacco products.                                                                                      
2:43:44 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Rasmussen provided wrap  up on Amendment 5 as                                                                    
amended and asked for support.                                                                                                  
Representative Edgmon MAINTAINED  his OBJECTION to Amendment                                                                    
5 as amended.                                                                                                                   
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Rasmussen,   Carpenter,  Johnson,   LeBon,  Ortiz,                                                                    
Foster, Merrick                                                                                                                 
OPPOSED: Wool, Edgmon, Josephson                                                                                                
The MOTION  PASSED (7/3). There being  NO further OBJECTION,                                                                    
Amendment 5 was ADOPTED as amended.                                                                                             
2:44:39 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick noted that Amendment 7 had been withdrawn.                                                                     
Representative  Edgmon supported  Representative Josephsons                                                                     
comments.  He  strongly  objected to  the  executive  branch                                                                    
influencing  what  was  happening in  committee  during  the                                                                    
meeting. He believed it was  unfair and  pierced the veil of                                                                    
the separation of powers doctrine.                                                                                              
2:45:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster MOVED  to REPORT  HCS CSSB  45(FIN) out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
HCS CSSB 45(FIN) was REPORTED  out of committee with one "do                                                                    
pass"     recommendation,    five     "no    recommendation"                                                                    
recommendations  and four  "amend" recommendations  and with                                                                    
one new  fiscal impact note  from the Department  of Revenue                                                                    
and  two   previously  published  zero  fiscal   notes:  FN4                                                                    
(DHS/DOH) and FN6 (GOV/Combined).                                                                                               
2:46:07 PM                                                                                                                    
3:58:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 173(FIN)                                                                                               
     "An Act relating to the practice of dentistry;                                                                             
     relating to dental radiological equipment; and                                                                             
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
3:58:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DAVID  WILSON, SPONSOR, introduced  the legislation.                                                                    
He  reported that  SB  173  transferred dental  radiological                                                                    
equipment inspections from the  Board of Dental Examiners to                                                                    
the  Department of  Health and  Social  Services (DHSS)  and                                                                    
established  a  specialty dental  license  in  the State  of                                                                    
Alaska.  The   changes  were   recommended  by   the  dental                                                                    
community.  He thanked  Vice-Chair Ortiz  as the  sponsor of                                                                    
the   house  companion   bill  [HB   295  -   Dentist  Spec.                                                                    
License/Radiologic Equip]  for steering his  version through                                                                    
the  house. He  emphasized that  the licensing  updates were                                                                    
necessary for  the publics  safety  as it ensured that  if a                                                                    
dentist  advertises  as  a   specialist,  they  met  certain                                                                    
qualifications. The bill also  ensured that dental equipment                                                                    
was inspected in a timely manner.                                                                                               
Co-Chair Merrick moved to invited testimony.                                                                                    
DR.  DAVID   LOGAN,  ALASKA   DENTAL  SOCIETY,   SITKA  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  thanked  the  sponsor  and  Representative                                                                    
Ortiz  for  bringing the  bill  forward.  He indicated  that                                                                    
there were two aspects to  the legislation. The bill changed                                                                    
how  dental x-ray  units  were inspected  in  the state  and                                                                    
introduced  a specialty  license  that  had previously  been                                                                    
available  as  recent as  2010.  He  explained the  need  to                                                                    
change how  dental e-ray  units were  inspected. Inspections                                                                    
of dental  x-ray machines were  done by DHSS until  20 years                                                                    
ago  when  it  was  transferred  to  the  dental  board.  He                                                                    
elaborated  that the  dentists would  contract with  private                                                                    
contractors  to   do  the  inspections.  However,   the  few                                                                    
individuals  performing x-ray  inspections  retired and  the                                                                    
board had  not been  able to  find replacements.  He pointed                                                                    
out that x-ray inspection  was a highly specialized service.                                                                    
Individuals   able  to   perform  inspections   were  either                                                                    
employed at  a state level,  by a large corporation,  or had                                                                    
retired from the  field and were not  interested in working.                                                                    
He  stressed  that  there  were  no  longer  any  inspectors                                                                    
available  for private  dentists  in the  state. The  dental                                                                    
community believed  transferring the  duty back to  DHSS was                                                                    
the  best  option  because   they  already  performed  x-ray                                                                    
inspections  for hospitals,  doctors,  etc. He  acknowledged                                                                    
that the department would have  to hire another inspector to                                                                    
address the  increased workload. Dentists would  soon be out                                                                    
of compliance with inspections that  were required every six                                                                    
years. He  added that if  the legislation did not  pass some                                                                    
dentists  would  be  out  of compliance  by  years  end.  He                                                                    
requested passage of the bill.                                                                                                  
4:04:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative LeBon asked  if providers paid a  fee for the                                                                    
inspection  and whether  the dental  community  would pay  a                                                                    
fee. Mr.  Logan answered  that he could  not speak  to other                                                                    
providers  but  knew  that  dentists paid  a  fee  based  on                                                                    
complexity and number of machines.  He assured the committee                                                                    
that the fee would cover the costs of inspection.                                                                               
4:05:50 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  NIELSON, CHAIR,  ALASKA  BOARD  OF DENTAL  EXAMINERS,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), testified  in support of the                                                                    
bill. He spoke  to Section 3 of the bill.  He explained that                                                                    
the   dental  practice   act   repealed  specialty   license                                                                    
categories in  2012. Since that  time, the dental  board had                                                                    
retreated   from   investigating    false   and   misleading                                                                    
advertising complaints.  In order  for the board  to address                                                                    
the  issue, it  needed  to reinstate  the specialty  license                                                                    
categories to defend legal scrutiny  and  help reduce public                                                                    
confusion  over deceptive  or false  advertising brought  by                                                                    
dentists using  the term  "specialist" or  "specializing in"                                                                    
to an  area of dentistry  that is  professionally recognized                                                                    
to  require  significantly  more  training  than  they  have                                                                    
received.  Typically, a  dental specialty  residency demands                                                                    
at  least  an extra  two-years  of  focused training  beyond                                                                    
dental school.  He added that  the board had to deny several                                                                    
license  applications   to  dentists  that   graduated  from                                                                    
accredited  specialty programs  merely  because  it did  not                                                                    
have  a  way  to  approve  their  application,  lacking  the                                                                    
license types  for dental  specialties. The  provision would                                                                    
open the doors wider  for more qualified dental specialists.                                                                    
He thanked the sponsors of the bill.                                                                                            
4:08:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Carpenter  pointed to the  sectional analysis                                                                    
for Section 3 regarding AS 08.36.243 (b):                                                                                       
     (b)  In creating  the qualifications  for a  specialist                                                                  
     license, the  board shall consider  the standards  of a                                                                    
     nationally  recognized  certifying entity  approved  by                                                                    
     the board.                                                                                                                 
Representative   Carpenter   asked   how   many   nationally                                                                    
recognized certifying entities were in existence.                                                                               
Senator Wilson deferred  the question to one  of the doctors                                                                    
available   online.   He   acknowledged  that   there   were                                                                    
approximately 150 specialists in the state.                                                                                     
Mr.  Nielson  answered that  there  was  currently only  one                                                                    
entity  responsible for  certifying specialty  certification                                                                    
boards  and specialty  recognition, the  National Commission                                                                    
on Recognition of Dental  Specialties and Certifying Boards.                                                                    
He delineated that the commission  had six specific criteria                                                                    
for specialty  recognition and  15 criteria  for recognizing                                                                    
specialty  certifying boards.  He  furthered that  currently                                                                    
there were 12  specialty areas and 11  certifying boards. He                                                                    
noted  that  there was  one  other  commission and  it  only                                                                    
recognized  2  or  3  specialties  and  was  not  nationally                                                                    
4:10:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Carpenter  wondered   whether  the  national                                                                    
commission   recognized  all   the  dental   specialties  in                                                                    
existence.  Mr.   Nielson  responded  that   the  commission                                                                    
currently recognized  all the  dental specialties.  He noted                                                                    
that  there  were  a  couple  of  groups  trying  to  become                                                                    
specialties.  The commission  adopted some  of its  criteria                                                                    
from  the  American Dental  Association  (ADA)  but were  an                                                                    
independent commission.  He listed some of  the specialties:                                                                    
orthodontics,  endodontics, pediatrics,  oral surgery,  oral                                                                    
medicine, oral  facial pain,  and dental  anesthesiology. He                                                                    
qualified that all dentists could  provide the same services                                                                    
in the categories.  However, recognizing specialties enabled                                                                    
the  public  to determine  who  had  specialty training.  He                                                                    
emphasized that the certification was arduous.                                                                                  
Representative  Carpenter asked  how  many specialties  were                                                                    
currently  in the  state. Senator  Wilson  replied that  the                                                                    
Senate  Labor and  Commerce  Committee  estimated that  that                                                                    
there  were  150  practitioners that  advertised  as  dental                                                                    
specialist in  the state. Representative Carpenter  asked if                                                                    
any of the individuals advertising  as a specialist were not                                                                    
covered under the 12 recognized specialties.                                                                                    
4:13:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Nielson did not have an  exact number of people that may                                                                    
be advertising  under the  word  specialist   in an  area of                                                                    
dentistry  that  was  not  a  recognized  specialty  by  the                                                                    
commission. He guessed that the  only one would be something                                                                    
like an  implant specialist, but  at present that was  not a                                                                    
category. He stated that it  would take significant research                                                                    
to find the answer. He  reiterated that the boards  goal was                                                                    
to quell  any confusion caused  by a dentist  advertising as                                                                    
though they were a specialist.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Merrick asked  whether Dr.  Logan wanted  to offer                                                                    
any observations.                                                                                                               
Dr.  Logan echoed  Mr.  Nielson's  comments. He  highlighted                                                                    
that  the  goal   was  to  halt  the   practice  of  falsely                                                                    
advertising  as a  specialist  when they  did  not have  the                                                                    
qualifications or educational  background. He estimated that                                                                    
the number of dentists   inventing  a specialty category was                                                                    
more than  one but  less than  20 and  the exact  number was                                                                    
difficult to  determine. He concluded that  the bill covered                                                                    
someone  who   falsely  advertised   as  a   specialist  and                                                                    
prevented  someone from  claiming a  specialty that  did not                                                                    
exist. The  dentist could advertise  that they  provided the                                                                    
service but could not name themself as a specialist.                                                                            
Representative Carpenter  referenced the  sectional analysis                                                                    
and asked if the department  was on board with receiving the                                                                    
Senator Wilson  stated that the  question had been  asked in                                                                    
the Senate  Finance Committee and the  department had stated                                                                    
it was fine  with the responsibility as long  as it received                                                                    
funding for an extra position.                                                                                                  
CSSB 173(FIN)  was HEARD and  HELD in committee  for further                                                                    
4:17:11 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
4:18:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 131(title am)                                                                                                 
     "An Act  relating to the presumption  of compensability                                                                    
     for  a disability  resulting  from  certain cancers  in                                                                    
4:18:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ROGER  HOLLAND, SPONSOR, read the  sponsor statement                                                                    
(copy on file):                                                                                                                 
     Firefighting is an  inherently dangerous job, resulting                                                                    
     in instances of  cancer in firefighters is  shown to be                                                                    
     higher than  the general population. Studies  that have                                                                    
     evaluated cancer risk  among women firefighters suggest                                                                    
     women firefighters,  like their male coworkers,  may be                                                                    
     at  an  elevated  risk  for  overall  cancer  incidence                                                                    
     (Daniels  et al.,  2014).  These  studies also  suggest                                                                    
     women  firefighters may  be  at  an elevated  incidence                                                                    
     risk for breast cancer (Daniels et al., 2014).                                                                             
     In   addition  to   studies   on   cancer  risk   among                                                                    
     firefighters,  a small  but  growing  body of  research                                                                    
     examines  firefighters' exposures  to toxic  chemicals,                                                                    
     including  carcinogens and  hormone disruptors,  on the                                                                    
     fire ground, in stations, and from their gear.                                                                             
     Exposure   to  carcinogenic   chemicals  and   hormone-                                                                    
     disrupting chemicals  do not discriminate based  on sex                                                                    
     or  gender.   Exposure  to   these  chemicals   may  be                                                                    
     mitigated,  but  not   eliminated,  through  protective                                                                    
     equipment,  firehouse design,  and structural  changes.                                                                    
     Firefighters involved  in fire suppression,  whether it                                                                    
     be as a volunteer or  career firefighter, are at higher                                                                    
     risk of cancer.                                                                                                            
     SB  131  would  help  recognize  this  additional  risk                                                                    
     firefighters take to  keep us safe. Thank  you for your                                                                    
     consideration of  the addition of breast  cancer to the                                                                    
     list    of    presumed   disability    coverages    for                                                                    
4:20:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CRAIG VALDEZ, STAFF, SENATOR ROGER HOLLAND, reviewed the                                                                        
sectional analysis (copy on file):                                                                                              
     Amends  this   Act  relating  to  the   presumption  of                                                                    
     compensability for a  disability resulting from certain                                                                    
     diseases for firefighters.                                                                                                 
     Sec.  1  AS  23.30.121(b),  relating  to  the  list  of                                                                    
     coverage for firefighters, is amended by:                                                                                  
     ?  Adding  the  terms   "skin  cancer,  breast  cancer,                                                                    
     cervical   cancer,  testicular   cancer,  mesothelioma,                                                                    
     multiple  myeloma, colon  cancer,  thyroid cancer,  and                                                                    
     ovarian cancer" to list of AS 23.30.121(b).                                                                                
     Sec. 2 Adds a section definition of "firefighter."                                                                         
     Sec. 3 Clarifies this change  applies to claims made on                                                                    
     or after the effective date of this Act.                                                                                   
4:22:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Holland introduced  a PowerPoint presentation titled                                                                    
"Senate  Bill  131:  Workers'  Compensation  Disability  for                                                                    
Firefighters" (copy  on file). He briefly  reviewed slides 2                                                                    
through 5.                                                                                                                      
Senator Holland turned to slide 2 titled SB 131:                                                                                
     Firefighting  is an  inherently  dangerous  job. It  is                                                                    
     important that workers  compensation insurance provides                                                                    
     coverage   for  the   inherent  risks   in  that   job.                                                                    
     Currently,  there is  an oversight  in Alaska  Statutes                                                                    
     regarding that coverage: Breast Cancer.                                                                                    
Senator  Holland  pointed to  slide  3  titled  Senate  Bill                                                                    
     SB 131 would add breast  cancer to the list of presumed                                                                    
     disability coverages  for firefighters, so long  as the                                                                    
     firefighter could establish that  the breast cancer was                                                                    
     caused by their work as a firefighter.                                                                                     
Senator Holland  indicated that  the coverage  was difficult                                                                    
to qualify for. The firefighter  had to obtain a  zero year                                                                     
exam  that  demonstrated  no evidence  of  the  disease  and                                                                    
maintain an  examination over the  following seven  years to                                                                    
Senator  Holland reviewed  slide 4  titled  Firefighters  at                                                                    
     Instances  of cancer  in firefighters  is  shown to  be                                                                    
     higher than  the general population. Studies  that have                                                                    
     evaluated cancer risk  among women firefighters suggest                                                                    
     women firefighters,  like their male coworkers,  may be                                                                    
     at  an  elevated  risk  for  overall  cancer  incidence                                                                    
     (Daniels  et  al,  2014). These  studies  also  suggest                                                                    
     women firefighters  may be at an  elevated incidence of                                                                    
     risk for breast cancer (Daniels et al, 2014).                                                                              
Senator  Holland briefly  moved to  slide 5  titled  General                                                                    
     In  the general  population, less  than one  percent of                                                                    
     males  are likely  to develop  breast  cancer in  their                                                                    
     lifetime.  Studies   have  found   strong  associations                                                                    
     between firefighting and male  breast cancer (Ma et al,                                                                    
     2005). Male  firefighters are 7.5 times  more likely to                                                                    
     die  from breast  cancer  than  their non-Fire  Service                                                                    
     counterparts.  (Ma  et  al,  2005) The  same  mechanism                                                                    
     that would cause  increases in breast cancer  in men is                                                                    
     thought  to result  in proportional  increases in  risk                                                                    
     among women.                                                                                                               
Senator Holland shared that a Fairbanks fire chief, Fire                                                                        
Chief Warren Cummings died of breast cancer in 2017 after                                                                       
42 years of service.                                                                                                            
4:25:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Holland moved to slide 6 titled              General                                                                    
     In the  general population, one  in eight women  (12 %)                                                                    
     will likely  contract breast cancer in  their lifetime.                                                                    
     At  only   about  four   percent  of   the  firefighter                                                                    
     population,  small sample  sizes make  it difficult  to                                                                    
     draw  conclusions about  females and  breast cancer  in                                                                    
     the Fire Service.                                                                                                          
     This bill protects not only  women, because exposure to                                                                    
     carcinogenic  chemicals,  which  often  occurs  in  the                                                                    
     normal  course   of  a  firefighter's  job,   does  not                                                                    
     discriminate based on sex or gender.                                                                                       
Senator Holland reviewed slide 7 titled Presumptive Laws:                                                                       
     Presumptive laws  are regulations  that assume  a given                                                                    
     disease   is  linked,   by  default,   to  a   specific                                                                    
     occupation. This  means that when someone  is diagnosed                                                                  
     with an  illness covered under a  presumptive law, they                                                                    
     are  automatically entitled  to disability  or workers'                                                                  
     compensation,  medical  expense coverage,  and  medical                                                                    
     leave, provided they meet certain criteria.                                                                              
Senator Holland continued to slide 8 titled Presumptive                                                                         
     Without  presumptive  laws,   to  get  these  benefits,                                                                    
     firefighters and  other workers may have  to prove that                                                                    
     their line of work caused their disease.                                                                                   
     This process  can be  lengthy and  expensive at  a time                                                                    
     when  resources should  be dedicated  toward treatment,                                                                    
     wellness, and, sometimes, end-of-life decisions.                                                                           
Senator Holland highlighted slide 9 titled Alaska Statute                                                                       
  Breast Cancer would join the existing list, including:                                                                        
     Respiratory  Disease, Cardiovascular  Events (Limited),                                                                    
     Primary   Brain   Cancer,  Malignant   Melanoma,   Non-                                                                    
     Hodgkins   Lymphoma,  Bladder  Cancer,  Ureter  Cancer,                                                                    
     Kidney Cancer, Prostate Cancer.                                                                                            
Senator Holland briefly mentioned slide 10 that repeated                                                                        
what presumptive laws were on slide 7 and asked the                                                                             
question, What are those criteria?                                                                                              
Senator Holland highlighted slide 11 titled "Alaska Statute                                                                     
     Once added to the list, several standard limitations                                                                       
     would apply.                                                                                                               
     The firefighter must:                                                                                                      
     Have been a firefighter for at least seven years,                                                                          
     Have had initial and annual medical exams showing no                                                                       
     evidence of disease,                                                                                                       
     Be able to demonstrate exposure to a known carcinogen                                                                      
     while in the Fire Service,                                                                                                 
     At a minimum, be certified as a Firefighter I.                                                                             
Senator Holland referred to bullet point number 3 and                                                                           
interjected that proving exposure was difficult. There were                                                                     
so many chemicals in structures that were burning.                                                                              
Senator Holland highlighted slide 12 titled "Alaska Statute                                                                     
     Other qualifying criteria would apply, including:                                                                          
     1.   Coverage may be denied based on:                                                                                      
    a.   Use of tobacco products, b.   Physical fitness                                                                         
          and weight,                                                                                                           
     c.   Lifestyle decisions,     d.   Hereditary factors,                                                                     
    e.   Exposure from other employment/non-employment                                                                          
     2.   Some post-employment coverage is available,                                                                           
          a.   Three months accrued for every year of                                                                           
          b.   Five year maximum.                                                                                               
Senator  Holland pointed  to slide  13  titled   enate  Bill                                                                    
131  that listed  the 14 states that added  breast cancer in                                                                    
presumptive laws.  Slide 14 concluded by  asking that Alaska                                                                    
be added to the list of states.                                                                                                 
4:29:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Rasmussen  asked why a five  year limit after                                                                    
retirement was  set. She asked  if it was possible  a person                                                                    
could  develop cancer  seven to  ten  years after  retiring.                                                                    
Senator Holland  believed that it was  an industry standard.                                                                    
He would follow up with information.                                                                                            
Co-Chair Merrick moved to invited testimony.                                                                                    
SCOTT  RAYGOR,   FIRE  CHIEF,  FAIRBANKS   FIRE  DEPARTMENT,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), asked to hear  the question                                                                    
Representative Rasmussen wondered why  the limit was set for                                                                    
5 years considering the states   retention problems and that                                                                    
many firefighters  were serving  their communities  for over                                                                    
20 years. She noted that  a firefighter could develop cancer                                                                    
7 or  10 years  after retirement.  Mr. Raygor  answered that                                                                    
the reason was related to  the presumptive law. He explained                                                                    
that after  the 5 year period  it was not presumed  that the                                                                    
cancer was caused by exposure;  other things post retirement                                                                    
could be the cause. He added  that it did not mean the claim                                                                    
would be  denied, work exposure  was just not the   presumed                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick asked to hear Mr. Raygor's testimony.                                                                          
Mr. Raygor  urged the  committee to pass  SB 131.  He shared                                                                    
that he had  worked with former Fire Chief  Cummings who had                                                                    
died from breast cancer. At the  time, he was not even aware                                                                    
that  men could  die  from breast  cancer.  He related  that                                                                    
firefighters were at  a three times higher risk  of a cancer                                                                    
diagnosis.  He  reported that  less  than  seven percent  of                                                                    
firefighters   were  women   and   currently  studies   were                                                                    
beginning to  determine how the cancer  rates affected women                                                                    
firefighters.  He   expected  that  the  rates   for  female                                                                    
firefighters would be higher than for male firefighters.                                                                        
He elaborated  that most structures  were rarely  wood based                                                                    
anymore and  were full of  petroleum based  products; almost                                                                    
all fires  caused exposure to carcinogens.  He reported that                                                                    
research demonstrated  that the  places where  a firefighter                                                                    
sweated   tended  to   be  locations   where  cancers   were                                                                    
discovered.    He reiterated  that   every  fire was  now  a                                                                    
carcinogen.  In addition, the chemicals  used to fight fires                                                                    
were  carcinogens.  He  summarized  that  firefighters  were                                                                    
three  times more  likely to  develop  cancer. He  requested                                                                    
that the committee pass the bill.                                                                                               
4:35:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson supported the  bill. He shared that                                                                    
a  good friend  and  former legislator  [and attorney]  Eric                                                                    
Croft  handled   many  of  the  firefighters'   legal  cases                                                                    
regarding  the issue.  He referred  to the   Adams Decision                                                                     
that  considered  a  challenge  by  a  municipality  to  the                                                                    
assertion  of  benefits   under  Workers   Compensation.  He                                                                    
reported that  public employers  were often  very aggressive                                                                    
about challenging the  claims. He looked at page  2, line 27                                                                    
of  the bill  and stated  the phrase,   the firefighter  was                                                                    
exposed to a known carcinogen.   He wondered how evidence of                                                                    
exposure was  collected. Mr. Raygor replied  that there were                                                                    
different  ways  exposure   data  was  collected.  Sometimes                                                                    
individual  firefighters document  every  fire they  fought.                                                                    
Currently, the  National Cancer Institute  had a  web portal                                                                    
that allowed the  firefighter to document the  fire. In some                                                                    
cases, the fire department  looked back over a firefighters                                                                     
career and  documented every fire fought.  He concluded that                                                                    
there were many ways  fire departments could manage tracking                                                                    
exposure  incidents. Representative  Josephson  asked if  it                                                                    
was true that in the  Adams Decision the public employer may                                                                    
put  up  an  extensive  fight over  the  cases.  Mr.  Raygor                                                                    
believed  so  but  was  not  sure  of  the  outcome  of  the                                                                    
decision.  He opined  that  insurance  companies fought  all                                                                    
claims, presumptive or personal.                                                                                                
4:39:29 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Carpenter  asked how exposure was  defined by                                                                    
the  International  Agency for  Research  on  Cancer or  the                                                                    
National Toxicology Program. He  asked how the organizations                                                                    
determined the exposure.                                                                                                        
Senator Holland deferred to the testifier                                                                                       
Mr. Raygor did not have the answer.                                                                                             
Co-Chair Merrick  requested they could get  the answer prior                                                                    
to the next hearing.                                                                                                            
Representative  Carpenter  observed  that other  cancers  in                                                                    
addition  to breast  cancer were  included in  the bill.  He                                                                    
read  the  list:  (x) cervical  cancer;  7  (xi)  testicular                                                                    
cancer; 8 (xii) mesothelioma;  9 (xiii) multiple myeloma; 10                                                                    
(xiv) colon  cancer; 11  (xv) thyroid  cancer; and  12 (xvi)                                                                    
ovarian cancer. He presumed the  other cancers were added in                                                                    
the prior  committee [House  Labor and  Commerce Committee.]                                                                    
Senator Holland answered that the  prior committee had added                                                                    
other cancers  to the list,  and it  had been somewhat  of a                                                                    
surprise.  In  addition,  the  committee  dropped  malignant                                                                    
melanoma and  added the more  general skin cancer.  He noted                                                                    
that the director  of the Division of  Insurance was present                                                                    
and could speak to the costs  of adding cancers to the list.                                                                    
He  indicated that  the cost  of just  adding breast  cancer                                                                    
would be almost  unrecognizable in terms of cost  due to the                                                                    
low instance of  claims. He disclosed that he  had some cost                                                                    
concerns over the inclusion of the other cancers.                                                                               
4:42:21 PM                                                                                                                    
LORI   WING-HEIER,   DIRECTOR,    DIVISION   OF   INSURANCE,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,  COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,                                                                    
asked  Representative Carpenter  if his  concerns were  over                                                                    
costs.  Representative Carpenter  replied  that  one of  his                                                                    
concerns was  over costs,  but he  wanted to  understand how                                                                    
the other cancers were added.                                                                                                   
Senator Holland believed the thought  in the prior committee                                                                    
was that  the other cancers  were just as important  to add.                                                                    
He  would personally  have liked  to maintain  the focus  on                                                                    
breast  cancer. He  confirmed that  the  original bill  only                                                                    
added breast cancer to the list.                                                                                                
Ms.  Wing-Heier responded  that the  division did  extensive                                                                    
research  to  determine  what  other  states  had  done  and                                                                    
examined  the   data  base  of   the  National   Council  on                                                                    
Compensation that  tracked other  states  data.  The council                                                                    
set the  rates that  the other  states adopted.  The council                                                                    
and  the division  did  not find  any  evidence that  adding                                                                    
breast  cancer or  other  cancers  were increasing  workers                                                                     
compensation  rates in  other  states.  She elaborated  that                                                                    
part of  the reason  was  the  presumptions were  so strong                                                                     
and few claims were made. She indicated that currently,                                                                         
no data  existed to support  that the rates  would increase.                                                                    
Representative  Carpenter  asked  if   the  rates  were  not                                                                    
increasing  it meant  few claims  were being  submitted. Ms.                                                                    
Wing-Heier agreed  with the  conclusion. She  explained that                                                                    
not   all   states   had    adopted   the   presumption   of                                                                    
compensability   for   certain   cancers,  and   some   fire                                                                    
departments   were  not   eligible.   She  reiterated   that                                                                    
currently, there were  not enough claims to  raise the rates                                                                    
or   presume  the   rate   would  increase.   Representative                                                                    
Carpenter thought part  of the issue was  about how exposure                                                                    
was defined.  He shared from personal  experience that there                                                                    
had  been a  lot of   open  pit burning  in Afghanistan  and                                                                    
Iraq,  that  was  impossible to  protect  oneself  from.  He                                                                    
believed that the  definition of exposure was key  to why an                                                                    
increase in  claims may not  be seen. He guessed  that maybe                                                                    
firefighters were  not  technically exposed   to carcinogens                                                                    
due to protective gear like masks.                                                                                              
4:46:39 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Holland would  follow up  with the  information. He                                                                    
observed that  firefighting procedures had changed  over the                                                                    
last 20  years. He commented that  firefighters remain fully                                                                    
geared up while in the  fire and refrain from removing their                                                                    
protective   gear  until   after  the   fire  and   separate                                                                    
themselves from  the gear. The protocols  decreased the risk                                                                    
of exposure,  but firefighting was  still  a  very dangerous                                                                    
Representative Josephson  asked Representative  Carpenter to                                                                    
repeat the  question he wanted an  answer to. Representative                                                                    
Carpenter complied.  He stated that the  two entities listed                                                                    
in  the bill  would  determine whether  the firefighter  was                                                                    
exposed to a known  carcinogen. He exemplified a firefighter                                                                    
wearing a  mask when  fighting a  fire and  wondered whether                                                                    
that was considered an exposure  or if something more had to                                                                    
happen. He wanted to understand  the definition of exposure.                                                                    
Representative Josephson  suggested that the  Adams Decision                                                                    
was worth  reading. He explained that  the presumption meant                                                                    
that even if  the cancer did not actually  happen because of                                                                    
exposure an individual could still obtain coverage.                                                                             
Representative Josephson  asked if  there was  any testimony                                                                    
regarding  other states   adding  the  other recently  added                                                                    
cancers to  the list. Senator  Holland answered that  it had                                                                    
not  been  brought  forward in  the  Senate.  Representative                                                                    
Josephson  asked  if any  of  the  cancers or  just  ovarian                                                                    
cancer  had  been  added  by  his  office.  Senator  Holland                                                                    
answered that  the original bill  only added  breast cancer.                                                                    
He  recalled  that   Representative  Kaufman  added  ovarian                                                                    
cancer to the list in the prior committee.                                                                                      
Vice-Chair  Ortiz  asked  who  would  share  the  burden  of                                                                    
additional costs.  Senator Holland responded that  there was                                                                    
an  employee  component  of  the   insurance  and  with  the                                                                    
addition of the  other cancers he noted some  concern over a                                                                    
potential  cost increase  to the  employer.  He deferred  to                                                                    
Director Wing-Heier or Fire chief Raygnor to respond.                                                                           
4:52:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Wing-Heier   asked  Vice-Chair  Ortiz  to   repeat  the                                                                    
question. Vice-Chair Ortiz  complied. Ms. Wing-Heier replied                                                                    
that  Workers   Compensation  was  paid  completely  by  the                                                                    
Senator  Holland appreciated  the  correction  to his  prior                                                                    
Representative   LeBon  noted   that  the   prior  committee                                                                    
substitute also  expanded the  definition of  firefighter to                                                                    
include a firefighter employed by  a municipal or state fire                                                                    
department. He wondered whether  the Alaska Municipal League                                                                    
(AML) had  weighed in  with a  concern. Senator  Holland had                                                                    
received a  letter of concern  from AML. He would  follow up                                                                    
with the information.                                                                                                           
Co-Chair Merrick  wondered if he  had heard  opposition from                                                                    
the  Alaska Public  Entity  Insurance.  Senator Holland  was                                                                    
unable to answer the question.                                                                                                  
4:55:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson  deduced that  the addition  of the                                                                    
state firefighters, which  included airport firefighters was                                                                    
minimal and was likely not a  concern of the AML. He guessed                                                                    
that AMLs opposition would be to the added cancers.                                                                             
Co-Chair   Merrick  stated   she  would   try  to   get  the                                                                    
information for the  committee. She asked if  there had been                                                                    
discussion  about  naming the  bill  after  the former  Fire                                                                    
Chief  Cummings. Senator  Holland answered  in the  negative                                                                    
and thought it was an excellent idea.                                                                                           
Representative Carpenter  referred to Section  1, Subsection                                                                    
(C) on  page 2, lines  25 to 26 of  the bill and  read,  (C)                                                                    
with  regard  to  diseases  described   in  (1)(C)  of  this                                                                    
subsection,   demonstrates     He   ascertained   that   the                                                                    
individual   had  to   demonstrate  exposure   during  their                                                                    
employment.  He wondered  how the  requirement or  burden to                                                                    
prove exposure was defined. Senator  Holland deferred to Mr.                                                                    
Mr.  Raygor  answered  that the  Fairbanks  Fire  Department                                                                    
procedure was through HAZMAT physicals.  He detailed that an                                                                    
initial baseline physical  was performed for a  new hire and                                                                    
every year of  employment after they were required  to get a                                                                    
HAZMAT  physical. If  a  firefighter  developed cancer,  the                                                                    
department  examined every  fire the  individual fought  and                                                                    
did   backwards detective  work  to  list all  the potential                                                                    
exposures. Representative Carpenter  thought the answer made                                                                    
it  even  more important  to  understand  the definition  of                                                                    
Senator  Holland asked  the  fire chief  if  the reason  for                                                                    
logging  the firefighters   exposure to  carcinogens was  to                                                                    
differentiate from  someone working in the  fire service but                                                                    
who did not fight fires.                                                                                                        
4:59:54 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Raygor  answered that  it  could  be an  exclusion.  He                                                                    
exemplified the EMTs   who worked for a  fire department but                                                                    
never fought fires.                                                                                                             
SB  131(title  am)  was  HEARD and  HELD  in  committee  for                                                                    
further consideration.                                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Merrick reviewed  the schedule  for the  following                                                                    
5:00:59 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 131 AKPFFA Letter of Support Miranda.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 131 CVFRD Letter Benningfield.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 131 Firefighter Final rdh.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 131 Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 131 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 131 Summary of Changes.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 45 - Replacement Amendment #4 Rasmussen D.16 050522.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 45
SB 131 PUBLIC TESTIMONY Rec'd by 050622.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 173 Sponsor Statement v. I 1.28.2022.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 173
SB 173 Sectional Analysis v. W 4.25.2022.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 173
SB 173 Testimony as of 1.31.22.pdf HFIN 5/5/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 173