Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/31/1993 01:00 PM House JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 CONSIDERATION 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 Commissioner 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: SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL 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, WILLIAMS 03/03/93 516 (H) DP: TOOHEY, OLBERG, SANDERS 03/03/93 516 (H) -ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LAW) 3/3/93 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 -REFERRALS 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) 2/3/93 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, FINANCE 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 3NR 03/12/93 610 (H) DP: VEZEY, OLBERG, G.DAVIS, SANDERS 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) 3/12/93 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, KOTT,JAMES 03/31/93 892 (H) -PREVIOUS FN (ADM) 3/12/93 03/31/93 892 (H) -PREVIOUS ZERO FN (ADM) 3/12/93 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 DAVID DIERDORFF, REVISOR OF STATUTES, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS 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 apportionment. 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 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES made a MOTION to MOVE HB 89 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 REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT, PRIME SPONSOR of HB 92, 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 PATTY TROTT, NOTARY ADMINISTRATOR, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S 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 instances. 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, however. 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 revoked. 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 GAYLE HORETSKI, COMMITTEE COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY 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 NANCY USERA, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION, 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 bill. 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 then. 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 one. 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. ADJOURNMENT CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 2:21 p.m.