Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/31/1993 01:00 PM House JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                         March 31, 1993                                        
                            1:00 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                        
  Representative Jeannette James, Vice-Chair                                   
  Representative Pete Kott                                                     
  Representative Gail Phillips                                                 
  Representative Joe Green                                                     
  Representative Cliff Davidson                                                
  Representative Jim Nordlund                                                  
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  HB 89     "An Act revising the law on borough assembly                       
            apportionment as recommended by the revisor of                     
            statutes; and providing for an effective date."                    
            PASSED OUT WITH A DO PASS RECOMMENDATION                           
  HB 92     "An Act relating to notaries; and providing for an                 
            effective date."                                                   
            HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER                            
  HB 81     "An Act relating to the longevity bonus program."                  
            CSHB 81 (STA) PASSED OUT WITH NO RECOMMENDATION                    
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  DAVID DIERDORFF                                                              
  Revisor of Statutes                                                          
  Division of Legal Services                                                   
  Legislative Affairs Agency                                                   
  Goldstein Building, Room 414                                                 
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  465-2450                                                             
  Position Statement:  Explained HB 89                                         
  REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT                                               
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol, Room 421                                                      
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  465-4797                                                             
  Position Statement:  Prime sponsor of HB 92                                  
  PATTY TROTT                                                                  
  Notary Administrator                                                         
  Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                            
  P. O. Box 110015                                                             
  Juneau, Alaska 99811                                                         
  Phone:  465-3509                                                             
  Position Statement: Provided information and answered                        
                      questions related to HB 92                               
  GAYLE HORETSKI                                                               
  Committee Counsel                                                            
  House Judiciary Committee                                                    
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol, Room 120                                                      
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                    
  Phone:  465-6841                                                             
  Position Statement: Discussed HB 92 and HB 81                                
  RUPE ANDREWS                                                                 
  American Association of Retired People                                       
  9416 Long Run Drive                                                          
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  789-7422                                                             
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
  NANCY BEAR USERA                                                             
  Department of Administration                                                 
  P. O. Box 110200                                                             
  Juneau, Alaska 99811                                                         
  Phone:  465-2200                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported original version of HB 81                      
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HB 89                                                                 
  SHORT TITLE:  BOROUGH ASSEMBLY APPORTIONMENT                                 
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  TITLE: "An Act revising the law on borough assembly                          
  apportionment as recommended by the revisor of statutes; and                 
  providing for an effective date."                                            
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  01/25/93       152    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/25/93       152    (H)   CRA, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  03/02/93              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                      
  03/02/93              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                      
  03/03/93       516    (H)   CRA RPT  7DP                                     
  03/03/93       516    (H)   DP: BUNDE, DAVIES, WILLIS,                       
  03/03/93       516    (H)   DP: TOOHEY, OLBERG, SANDERS                      
  03/03/93       516    (H)   -ZERO FISCAL NOTE  (LAW)                         
  03/31/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  03/31/93       892    (H)   JUD RPT  5DP                                     
  03/31/93       893    (H)   DP: PORTER, PHILLIPS, JAMES,                     
                              KOTT, GREEN                                      
  03/31/93       893    (H)   -PREVIOUS ZERO FN (LAW)  3/3/93                  
  BILL:  HB 92                                                                 
  SHORT TITLE:  REGULATION OF NOTARIES PUBLIC                                  
  BILL VERSION: CSSSHB 92(JUD) AM                                              
  SPONSOR(S):   REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT                                   
  TITLE: "An Act relating to notaries; and providing for an                    
  effective date."                                                             
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  01/27/93       163    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/27/93       164    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY                      
  02/01/93       198    (H)   SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED                    
  02/01/93       198    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY                      
  02/02/93              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 124                      
  02/02/93              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                      
  02/03/93       210    (H)   L&C RPT  CSSS(L&C)  1DP  3NR                     
  02/03/93       211    (H)   DP: HUDSON                                       
  02/03/93       211    (H)   NR:  PORTER, WILLIAMS, GREEN                     
  02/03/93       211    (H)   -ZERO FISCAL NOTE  (GOV)                         
  02/03/93       224    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): JAMES                              
  02/05/93       241    (H)   COSPONSOR REMOVED:  JAMES                        
  03/31/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  BILL:  HB 81                                                                 
  SHORT TITLE:  PHASE OUT LONGEVITY BONUS                                      
  BILL VERSION: SCS CSHB 81(RLS)                                               
  SPONSOR(S):   RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                               
  TITLE: "An Act relating to the longevity bonus program."                     
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  01/22/93       130    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/22/93       130    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY,                        
  01/22/93       130    (H)   -2 FNS (ADM)   1/22/93                           
  01/22/93       130    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                    
  02/02/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  02/02/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/06/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  02/13/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/27/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  02/27/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/27/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  03/09/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  03/09/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  03/09/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  03/11/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  03/11/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  03/12/93       609    (H)   STA RPT  CS(STA) NEW TITLE 4DP                   
  03/12/93       610    (H)   DP: VEZEY, OLBERG, G.DAVIS,                      
  03/12/93       610    (H)   NR: ULMER, B.DAVIS, KOTT                         
  03/12/93       610    (H)   -FISCAL NOTE  (ADM)  3/12/93                     
  03/12/93       610    (H)   -ZERO FISCAL NOTE  (ADM)                         
  03/31/93       892    (H)   JUD RPT  CS(STA) NEW TITLE 1DP                   
                              1DNP 5NR                                         
  03/31/93       892    (H)   DP: PORTER                                       
  03/31/93       892    (H)   DNP: DAVIDSON                                    
  03/31/93       892    (H)   NR: NORDLUND, PHILLIPS,GREEN,                    
  03/31/93       892    (H)   -PREVIOUS FN (ADM) 3/12/93                       
  03/31/93       892    (H)   -PREVIOUS ZERO FN (ADM)                          
  03/31/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-46, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  The House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was called to                 
  order at 1:15 p.m., on March 31, 1993.  A quorum was                         
  present.  Chairman Porter announced that HB 89 was the first                 
  item of business before the committee.                                       
  HB 89:  BOROUGH ASSEMBLY APPORTIONMENT                                       
  AGENCY, DIVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES, said that HB 89 had been                 
  introduced to respond to a unique problem within the                         
  statutes.  He stated that in 1980, there had been a                          
  significant revision of the apportionment rules, because of                  
  Supreme Court rulings and because 1980 was a census year.                    
  He commented that a free conference committee had produced                   
  the predecessor to what later became AS 29.20.070-110.  He                   
  noted that during the "heat" of the free conference                          
  committee, rational thinking had gotten lost.  The result                    
  was that statutes which were written by the free conference                  
  committee were unreadable, he said.                                          
  MR. DIERDORFF explained that the year before, an obvious                     
  error had been discovered within the apportionment statutes.                 
  In the process of correcting that error, he continued,                       
  numerous other errors were discovered.  The result of those                  
  discoveries was HB 89, he said.  He noted that officials                     
  from the Department of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA)                 
  and the Department of Law (DOL) had reviewed the bill.                       
  Everyone had agreed that the effect of HB 89 was to make the                 
  law much easier to interpret, without changing the law.  He                  
  noted that HB 89 affected eight boroughs at the most.                        
  MR. DIERDORFF was not aware of which of the eight general-                   
  law boroughs had apportioned assemblies.  He added that it                   
  was possible that none did.  He commented that every ten                     
  years, after a census was conducted, non-home-rule boroughs                  
  which had apportioned assemblies were required to                            
  reapportion their assemblies, or at least review their                       
  Number 146                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS asked if Mr. Dierdorff was                      
  aware of the Alaska Municipal League's (AML's) position on                   
  HB 89.                                                                       
  Number 150                                                                   
  MR. DIERDORFF was certain that the AML was aware of HB 89,                   
  but he had not heard what its position was.  He stated that                  
  there were eight general law boroughs in Alaska, including                   
  the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Kodiak Island                       
  Borough.  He did not know whether any of those eight                         
  general-law boroughs had apportioned assemblies.                             
  Number 164                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS mentioned that the Kenai Peninsula                   
  Borough had reapportioned its assembly the year before.                      
  Number 169                                                                   
  MR. DIERDORFF commented that the Municipality of Anchorage                   
  was a home-rule municipality.                                                
  Number 178                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked why the statute had not been                  
  corrected until this time.                                                   
  Number 184                                                                   
  MR. DIERDORFF responded that either the people who had to                    
  use the statutes knew what they meant and did not bother to                  
  read them carefully, or the statutes had been enacted and                    
  never reviewed.                                                              
  CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER noted that the committee's legal                       
  counsel had reviewed HB 89 and found that it did not change                  
  the effect of the present statutes.                                          
  Number 206                                                                   
  out of committee, with individual recommendations and a zero                 
  fiscal note.  There being no objection, IT WAS SO ORDERED.                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the committee would take up                   
  HB 92 next.                                                                  
  HB 92:  REGULATION OF NOTARIES PUBLIC                                        
  Number 224                                                                   
  explained that the bill would require all notaries to                        
  maintain a current journal, which would protect the public                   
  by providing valuable documentary evidence of notarization,                  
  in the event that memory failed or the original documents                    
  were altered or misplaced.  He added that a journal could                    
  protect a notary against a baseless lawsuit.  He stated that                 
  HB 92 would also mandate the use of a rubber inking stamp                    
  instead of an embossed seal.  He commented that many                         
  embossed seals used today could not be legibly reproduced                    
  when a document was copied or faxed.                                         
  REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT mentioned that the basic duty of a                 
  notary was to serve the public as an impartial witness.                      
  Current notary laws did not provide guidelines to notaries                   
  on their roles as appointed ministerial officials of the                     
  state, he said.  House Bill 92 would give notaries specific                  
  guidelines on impartiality, disqualifying interests, and                     
  unauthorized practices.  He said that he had introduced the                  
  bill at the request of Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill.  He                 
  noted that it was very similar to a bill which had passed                    
  the House the year before.                                                   
  Number 272                                                                   
  OFFICE, explained that notaries public were appointed by her                 
  office to act as ministerial officials, with specific duties                 
  prescribed in law.  She stated that requiring notaries to                    
  keep journals would be a form of insurance against senseless                 
  lawsuits for the notaries.  Additionally, she said that                      
  journals would assist the Lieutenant Governor's Office in                    
  that when questions regarding notarial acts arose, answers                   
  could be easily obtained.                                                    
  MS. TROTT mentioned that currently, notaries could use                       
  either an embossed seal or a rubber inking stamp.  She                       
  commented that many times, when documents were faxed or                      
  photocopied, embossed impressions did not appear clearly.                    
  House Bill 92 would not preclude the use of an embossed seal                 
  in addition to a rubber inking stamp, she noted.  She                        
  mentioned that the rubber inking stamp would also assist the                 
  state Recorder's Office in its procedures.                                   
  MS. TROTT stated that HB 92 offered guidelines on specific                   
  issues, including disqualification, impartiality, and the                    
  unauthorized practice of law.  Currently, she said, Alaska                   
  notaries operated under no specific guidelines.  She                         
  explained that the present notary statutes had not been                      
  updated since they were first enacted in 1960, with the                      
  exception of a fee increase enacted in 1989.                                 
  Number 355                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked Ms. Trott to comment on                       
  changes made in section 11 of HB 92.                                         
  Number 360                                                                   
  MS. TROTT replied that, in the original version of HB 92,                    
  seals and journals would be returned to the Lieutenant                       
  Governor's Office upon a notary's death, resignation, or the                 
  termination of that notary's commission.  But, she said, the                 
  House Labor and Commerce Committee had amended the bill so                   
  as to require that only a notary's most recent address be                    
  sent to the Lieutenant Governor's Office, in any of those                    
  Number 371                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS was aware of several incidents on                    
  the Kenai Peninsula over the last several years, in which a                  
  notary's journal would have prevented problems.  She                         
  expressed an opinion that some notaries would find it                        
  difficult to give up the traditional embossed seals,                         
  Number 390                                                                   
  MS. TROTT reiterated her comment that a notary could                         
  continue to use an embossed seal, as long as it was in                       
  addition to the rubber inking stamp.                                         
  Number 395                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked Ms. Trott to comment on the                       
  possible problem of notaries' inked seals being copied for                   
  fraudulent purposes.                                                         
  Number 402                                                                   
  MS. TROTT commented that the year before, when HB 394 was                    
  introduced, it was thought that notaries could use blue ink.                 
  However, she said that there was a civil court rule which                    
  required that all court documents had to be in black ink.                    
  She said that in her two and one-half years as a notary                      
  administrator, she had never seen an instance of forgery                     
  regarding a rubber inking stamp.  She noted that if a notary                 
  felt that the documents which he or she was notarizing might                 
  be used for fraudulent purposes, he or she could use the                     
  embossed seal.                                                               
  Number 420                                                                   
  MS. TROTT said that in many cases, her office looked at                      
  signatures, by which they could usually tell whether the                     
  signature on the document in question was authentic.                         
  Number 425                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES noted that a notary could also initial                  
  over a rubber inking stamp's seal.                                           
  Number 428                                                                   
  MS. TROTT stated that specific guidelines on how to prevent                  
  forgery could be included in the Notary Handbook.                            
  Number 435                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER indicated that HB 92 required notaries, when                 
  making journal entries, to also obtain the signature of the                  
  person requesting the notarization.                                          
  Number 440                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked Ms. Trott to tell the                          
  committee where last year's notary bill had died.                            
  MS. TROTT replied that, after unanimously passing the House,                 
  HB 394 had died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.                           
  Number 446                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER mentioned that a review by committee staff                   
  had brought several areas of concern to his attention.  He                   
  called the committee's attention to language beginning on                    
  page 2, line 6 of the work draft dated March 4, 1993, where                  
  HB 92 referred to a "crime involving dishonesty."  He asked                  
  Ms. Trott if she thought that the bill should further define                 
  a crime involving dishonesty.  He also asked Ms. Trott if                    
  she felt that the bill needed a provision that, if a person                  
  was convicted of such a crime, his or her notary commission                  
  would be revoked.                                                            
  Number 460                                                                   
  MS. TROTT responded that HB 92 was written to comport with                   
  the Model Notary Act of 1984.  She said that crimes                          
  involving dishonesty were not spelled out in that Act, but                   
  added that the committee could choose to include a more                      
  specific definition.  She called the members' attention to                   
  page 5, line 7, which addressed the procedures that must be                  
  used when revoking a notary's commission.  She mentioned                     
  that currently, the state did not have specific guidelines                   
  for revocation.  House Bill 92 would give the lieutenant                     
  governor the authority to adopt regulations regarding                        
  revocation procedures, she noted, and the Notary Handbook                    
  would detail those procedures further.                                       
  Number 481                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Ms. Trott if it was her intent to                      
  specify, in regulations, that a person convicted of a crime                  
  involving dishonesty would have his or her notary commission                 
  MS. TROTT replied in the affirmative.                                        
  CHAIRMAN PORTER called the members' attention to language on                 
  page 3, line 8 of HB 92, which stated that a notary would be                 
  disqualified if he or she was related to the person who was                  
  requesting notarization.  He had received letters from                       
  people who were concerned that this requirement would be a                   
  hardship, particularly in small communities.                                 
  Number 502                                                                   
  MS. TROTT replied that notaries were commissioned to be                      
  ministerial officials of the state.  As such, she said, they                 
  were appointed to be unbiased witnesses of signatures.  She                  
  commented that, when notarizing a spouse's signature, it                     
  would be very hard to be unbiased.                                           
  Number 507                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS understood that this particular                      
  provision had been a standard one for notaries throughout                    
  the United States for many years.                                            
  Number 514                                                                   
  MS. TROTT stated that the National Notary Association and                    
  the Intermountain Notary Institute both defined notaries as                  
  people acting as unbiased witnesses, and recommended to all                  
  notaries that they not notarize documents of relatives.                      
  Number 529                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER mentioned language on page 3, line 19 of                     
  HB 92, which held that a notary could not endorse or promote                 
  a product, service, contest, or other offering if the                        
  notary's title or seal was used in the endorsement or                        
  promotion statement.  He expressed concerns that this                        
  provision, as written, might restrict a person's First                       
  Amendment rights.  He asked Ms. Trott if she concurred with                  
  rewriting that provision, so as to say that a notary could                   
  not use his or her seal to endorse or promote anything.                      
  Number 542                                                                   
  MS. TROTT concurred with rewriting that language, but                        
  suggested saying that a notary could not use his or her                      
  commission, instead of seal.                                                 
  Number 553                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER mentioned language regarding notary fees, at                 
  the top of page 3 of the work draft.  He had been told that                  
  notaries charged a wide variety of fees, and asked Ms. Trott                 
  how she would go about establishing what was a "normal fee,"                 
  for the purposes of HB 92.                                                   
  Number 572                                                                   
  MS. TROTT replied that the Lieutenant Governor's Office had                  
  always viewed notaries as providing a service to the public.                 
  In that light, she said, they recommended that notaries                      
  charge from $2 to $5 for a notarization.  House Bill 92 did                  
  not address fees, she said, and a "normal" fee would simply                  
  depend on a particular notary's practices.  If anyone                        
  complained that a notary charged too high of a fee, she                      
  said, her office recommended that that person use the                        
  services of another notary, including postmasters and                        
  foreign service officers.                                                    
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Ms. Trott if she would view a notary,                  
  who traditionally charged high fees for her or his services,                 
  to violate the bill's provision regarding "normal" fees.                     
  Number 598                                                                   
  MS. TROTT replied that if a notary had a history of charging                 
  a particular fee, then that fee would be considered that                     
  notary's "normal" fee.                                                       
  Number 603                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS commented that if a notary was to                    
  charge $10,000 for notarizing a document, she would consider                 
  that unequivocal grounds for decertification of a notary.                    
  Number 612                                                                   
  COMMITTEE, called the members' attention to page 3, line 13                  
  of the draft committee substitute to HB 92, which stated                     
  that a notary shall perform notarial acts unless there was a                 
  reason not to.  That provision was a new requirement for                     
  notaries, she said.  Under current law, she added, a notary                  
  could decline to perform a notarial act, merely because he                   
  or she was busy.  The provision in HB 92, however, would                     
  give a notary less ability to refuse to perform a notarial                   
  act, she said.                                                               
  Number 633                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Ms. Trott if it was the intent of that                 
  language to prohibit a notary from declining to notarize a                   
  document at any person's request.                                            
  Number 637                                                                   
  MS. TROTT stated that it had always been the policy of the                   
  Lieutenant Governor's Office that notaries should notarize                   
  documents brought to him or her in a lawful and reasonable                   
  manner.  If, however, a notary felt that a document might be                 
  fraudulent or the person might be using fraudulent                           
  identification, then the notary could refuse to perform the                  
  notarial act.  House Bill 92, she noted, adopted the policy                  
  which had been recommended to notaries for years.                            
  Number 651                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER understood the intent of the language.                       
  However, from a practical standpoint, he expressed concern                   
  that a notary working out of his or her home might be called                 
  upon at any hour of the day or night to perform a notarial                   
  act.  In that situation, he said, a notary should be able to                 
  refuse to perform a notarization.                                            
  Number 668                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS cited a situation in which a small                   
  business in a small town performed notarizations.  It might                  
  not be convenient for a worker in that office to perform a                   
  notarization at the drop of a hat, she said, and the law                     
  should protect notaries.                                                     
  Number 673                                                                   
  MS. TROTT stated that subsection (a) of proposed AS                          
  44.50.072 embodied the "meat" of the impartiality clause.                    
  She did not object to deleting subsection (b) from HB 92.                    
  Number 681                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that a proposed committee                          
  substitute for HB 92 would be drafted, incorporating                         
  elements which the committee had discussed.  He said that                    
  the bill would be back before the committee when the                         
  committee substitute was ready.                                              
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the committee would take up                   
  HB 81 next.                                                                  
  HB 81:  PHASE OUT LONGEVITY BONUS                                            
  Number 691                                                                   
  RUPE ANDREWS, representing the AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF                       
  RETIRED PEOPLE (AARP), testified in opposition to HB 81.  He                 
  said that the bill would reverse a 20-year-old state policy                  
  which provided economic stability to Alaska's senior                         
  citizens.  He said that the longevity bonus allowed senior                   
  citizens to remain in Alaska and also to remain in their own                 
  homes as long as possible.  He said that HB 81 represented a                 
  bad investment policy.  He asserted that Alaska's senior                     
  citizens contributed $1.2 billion per year to the state's                    
  economy, not counting the longevity bonus and the permanent                  
  fund dividend.                                                               
  MR. ANDREWS mentioned that many states tried to attract                      
  senior citizens because, as he said, "there is nothing more                  
  portable than a retirement fund or a pension."  He                           
  questioned what the state's policy toward future Alaskan                     
  senior citizens would be, if HB 81 was enacted.  He stated                   
  that years ago, retirees left the state, as they could not                   
  afford to live in Alaska.  He said that the longevity bonus                  
  had been created, in order to give Alaska seniors more                       
  economic stability and to enable them to continue to live in                 
  Alaska.  He commented that the governor recognized the                       
  problems of senior citizens in Alaska.                                       
  MR. ANDREWS said that the governor had called a conference                   
  of senior citizens, scheduled to meet in Juneau on April 8.                  
  He suggested that the committee wait to act on HB 81 until                   
  after the conference had taken place.  He mentioned a                        
  statement made by the Department of Administration                           
  Commissioner, Nancy Usera, which he said was misleading.  He                 
  said that she had said that all current longevity bonus                      
  recipients would continue to receive the bonus for life,                     
  under the governor's proposal.  He stated that, as what one                  
  legislature could do another legislature could undo, Ms.                     
  Usera's comments were somewhat misleading.                                   
  MR. ANDREWS also said that the longevity bonus should not be                 
  tied to a person's income level.                                             
  Number 772                                                                   
  recalled appearing before the House Finance Committee                        
  approximately one year earlier.  At that time, she said, the                 
  price of oil had dropped, and there was talk of changing the                 
  nature of the longevity bonus.  That talk was of great                       
  concern to the governor, she said.  She stated that the                      
  Hickel administration believed that it was extremely                         
  important to deal with financial management issues of                        
  government in the context of sound public policy.  She                       
  expressed the Hickel administration's belief that fiscal                     
  responsibility and social responsibility went hand in hand.                  
  MS. USERA stated that HB 81 had been developed to                            
  "grandfather in" all current longevity bonus recipients, and                 
  provided a three-year phase-out period for new recipients.                   
  She supported the original HB 81, and opposed the State                      
  Affairs committee substitute for the bill.  She stated that                  
  the Hickel administration's first priority was to protect                    
  current recipients of the longevity bonus, who had become                    
  dependent on the monthly income.  She called the State                       
  Affairs committee substitute irresponsible.                                  
  MS. USERA said that the state could afford a reasonable                      
  financial transition for the longevity bonus program.  She                   
  encouraged the committee to support the governor's original                  
  TAPE 93-46, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT asked Commissioner Usera if the                     
  governor would veto the State Affairs Committee's version of                 
  HB 81.                                                                       
  Number 020                                                                   
  MS. USERA replied that the governor was very committed to                    
  his own proposal.                                                            
  Number 025                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said that due to her husband's age and                  
  her own age, the longevity bonus was of personal concern to                  
  her.  She had been told that 40% of longevity bonus                          
  recipients had not been in Alaska for more than three years.                 
  Number 044                                                                   
  MS. USERA responded that the state's records for the past                    
  several years indicated that approximately 20% of new                        
  longevity bonus recipients were new Alaska residents.  She                   
  noted that when the longevity bonus program was created in                   
  1973, its sole purpose was to provide an incentive for                       
  Alaska residents to remain in the state.  It was not                         
  designed as a magnet, to bring new residents to Alaska, she                  
  said.  Nor was it designed as a needs-based program.                         
  However, the original program was found to be                                
  unconstitutional in 1983, and had changed dramatically since                 
  Number 063                                                                   
  MS. USERA mentioned that in 1973, there were 4,000 longevity                 
  bonus recipients.  Each one met the original requirements                    
  that they be at least 65 years old, had lived in Alaska for                  
  at least 25 years, and had been in Alaska since statehood.                   
  Today, she said, there were 23,000 people on the program, a                  
  good portion of whom were recent immigrants to Alaska.                       
  Number 093                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked Commissioner Usera approximately                   
  how many of the original longevity bonus recipients were                     
  still on the program.                                                        
  Number 105                                                                   
  MS. USERA replied that approximately 400 of the original                     
  recipients were still receiving the longevity bonus.  She                    
  noted that the governor would entertain proposals for other                  
  cost-effective incentives for senior citizens to remain in                   
  Alaska.  She stated that if someone could come up with a                     
  cost-effective annuity program, the governor's office would                  
  be happy to look at it.  She noted that current annuity                      
  proposals before the legislature were not cost-effective.                    
  MS. USERA stated that longevity bonus bills had been before                  
  the legislature for seven years, and a solution to the                       
  continuing financial drain on the state had yet to be                        
  forged.  For each year that went by, she said, an additional                 
  $150 million in liability to the state was incurred.  She                    
  believed that the original HB 81 was a good first step                       
  toward solving the problem of the longevity bonus.                           
  Number 181                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS commented that there were seven very                 
  active senior centers on the Kenai Peninsula.  When the                      
  governor's bill was first released, she said, she did not                    
  receive very much input from those seniors.  But what was                    
  most important to them, she said, was that existing                          
  recipients be grandfathered into the program.                                
  Number 199                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CLIFF DAVIDSON questioned what HB 81 would do                 
  to those Alaskans aged 60-65, who were not yet receiving the                 
  longevity bonus, but who were counting on receiving it in                    
  the future.  It was those Alaskans that the state would                      
  probably lose as a result of the phase-out, he added.                        
  Number 214                                                                   
  MS. USERA stated that Representative Davidson's comment had                  
  pointed out one reason why the governor was very committed                   
  to implementing a phase-out of the longevity bonus program.                  
  Number 232                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON said that the state lost a great                     
  deal when it lost the experience of its senior citizens.  He                 
  noted that the state could be more creative in its efforts                   
  to assist those people who would need something like the                     
  longevity bonus in the future.  He commented that the                        
  longevity bonus program clearly costs the state a great deal                 
  of money, but said that at some point it pushed people out                   
  of their homes and created an even bigger expense for state                  
  government, and even forced people out of Alaska.                            
  Number 269                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER suggested that the committee not make                        
  amendments to HB 81.  He said that the House Finance                         
  Committee would be a more appropriate place in which to                      
  amend the bill.  He said that as a resident of Alaska for                    
  more than 40 years, he had looked forward to receiving the                   
  longevity bonus.  However, he said, reality was reality.  He                 
  noted that it was irresponsible to add costs to the                          
  longevity bonus program, as the governor's version of HB 81                  
  would do.                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN PORTER observed that, due to discussions that had                   
  been going on over the last few years, people were aware                     
  that the longevity bonus might disappear some day.  He                       
  mentioned the original intent of the program, which was to                   
  give something back to those pioneers who had helped to                      
  settle Alaska.  He was supportive a motion to move the bill                  
  out of committee.                                                            
  Number 324                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a MOTION to ADOPT CSHB 81 (STA).                   
  Number 339                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON asked if it was correct that the                     
  bill currently before the committee was the State Affairs                    
  committee substitute for HB 81.                                              
  MS. HORETSKI said that it was her understanding that the                     
  committee had both the State Affairs committee substitute                    
  and the original bill before it, and could report out either                 
  Number 347                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER, hearing no objection to the adoption of the                 
  State Affairs committee substitute for HB 81, said that that                 
  version of the bill was now before the committee.                            
  Number 352                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT mentioned that he had an amendment to                    
  offer, but would hold it for the time being and bring it to                  
  the attention of the House Finance Committee instead.                        
  Number 361                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the House Finance Committee would                 
  scrutinize HB 81.                                                            
  Number 367                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a MOTION to MOVE CSHB 81 (STA) out                 
  of committee, with individual recommendations and attached                   
  fiscal note.                                                                 
  Number 371                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON OBJECTED.  He said that, due to the                  
  impact of other changes the legislature was making affecting                 
  senior citizens on fixed-incomes, he could not allow the                     
  bill to go forward without objection.  In his opinion, the                   
  longevity bonus was not a subsidy, but a benefit provided in                 
  appreciation of the contributions of senior citizens.                        
  A roll call vote was taken on the motion to move the bill                    
  out of committee.  Representatives Green, Kott, James, and                   
  Porter voted "YEA."  Representatives Davidson and Nordlund                   
  voted "NAY."  And so, the bill MOVED OUT of committee.                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 2:21 p.m.                           

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