Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 120

04/25/2005 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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01:13:35 PM Start
01:14:05 PM HJR12
01:49:19 PM SB129
02:04:31 PM SB143
02:13:13 PM Violent Crimes Compensation Board
02:15:06 PM Commission on Judicial Conduct
02:16:56 PM Alaska Judicial Council
02:22:28 PM HB266
03:07:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation hearings: TELECONFERENCED
Bd. of Governor's of the Alaska Bar
Commission on Judicial Conduct
Alaska Judicial Council
Violent Crimes Compensation Board
+ HJR 12 CONST. AM: BUDGET RESERVE FUND REPEAL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 12(W&M) Out of Committee
+ HB 266 VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 266(TRA) Out of Committee
+ HB 268 OVERTAKING/PASSING STATIONARY VEHICLES TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+= SB 36 ABSENTEE BALLOTS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+= SB 143 STATE INFO SYSTEM PLAN: LEGISLATURE/UNIV TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+= SB 129 WRONGFUL FILING OF LIS PENDENS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 25, 2005                                                                                         
                           1:13 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lesil McGuire, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                                     
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom                                                                                                  
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 12                                                                                                   
Proposing amendments to  the Constitution of the  State of Alaska                                                               
relating to the repeal of the budget reserve fund.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 12(W&M) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 129(JUD)                                                                                                 
"An  Act  relating to  the  wrongful  recording  of a  notice  of                                                               
pendency  of  an  action  relating   to  title  to  or  right  to                                                               
possession of real property."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 129(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 143(STA)                                                                                                 
"An Act amending  the definition of the term  'state agencies' as                                                               
it   applies  under   Executive  Order   No.  113;   relating  to                                                               
information  systems  in  the  legislative   branch  and  to  the                                                               
Telecommunications  Information  Council;  and providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 143(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Violent Crimes Compensation Board                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     LeRoy J. Barker, Esq. - Anchorage                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Ethel Staton - Sitka                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Alaska Judicial Council                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Christena "Tena" Williams - Ketchikan                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 266                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to  offenses and  penalties  for violation  of                                                               
vehicle weight  limitations; prohibiting  the use of  a violation                                                               
of a  vehicle weight limitation  for certain  personal automobile                                                               
insurance   actions;  amending   Rule  43.6,   Alaska  Rules   of                                                               
Administration; and providing for an effective date."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 266(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Joseph N. Faulhaber - Fairbanks                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Jerry Story - Wasilla                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 268                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to overtaking and passing certain stationary                                                                   
vehicles."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 36(JUD)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating to absentee ballots."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 12                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONST. AM: BUDGET RESERVE FUND REPEAL                                                                              
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) HARRIS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/18/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/05       (H)       W&M, STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                     
04/01/05       (H)       W&M AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/01/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/01/05       (H)       MINUTE(W&M)                                                                                            
04/08/05       (H)       W&M AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/08/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/08/05       (H)       MINUTE(W&M)                                                                                            
04/11/05       (H)       W&M AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/11/05       (H)       Moved CSHJR 12(W&M) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/11/05       (H)       MINUTE(W&M)                                                                                            
04/12/05       (H)       W&M RPT CS(W&M) NT 3DP 1NR                                                                             
04/12/05       (H)       DP: WILSON, SEATON, WEYHRAUCH;                                                                         
04/12/05       (H)       NR: SAMUELS                                                                                            
04/19/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/19/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/20/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/20/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/21/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/21/05       (H)       Moved CSHJR 12(W&M) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/21/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/22/05       (H)       STA RPT CS(W&M) NT 4DP 2NR                                                                             
04/22/05       (H)       DP: LYNN, ELKINS, RAMRAS, SEATON;                                                                      
04/22/05       (H)       NR: GARDNER, GRUENBERG                                                                                 
04/25/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 129                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WRONGFUL FILING OF LIS PENDENS                                                                                     
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) HUGGINS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
03/03/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/03/05       (S)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/23/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/23/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 129(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/23/05       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/24/05       (S)       JUD RPT CS  3DP 2NR  SAME TITLE                                                                        
03/24/05       (S)       DP: SEEKINS, THERRIAULT, HUGGINS                                                                       
03/24/05       (S)       NR: FRENCH, GUESS                                                                                      
03/31/05       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
03/31/05       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 129(JUD)                                                                                 
04/01/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/01/05       (H)       L&C, JUD                                                                                               
04/11/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/11/05       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
04/11/05       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/12/05       (H)       L&C RPT 3DP 2NR                                                                                        
04/12/05       (H)       DP: LYNN, ROKEBERG, ANDERSON;                                                                          
04/12/05       (H)       NR: CRAWFORD, GUTTENBERG                                                                               
04/22/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
04/22/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/25/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 143                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STATE INFO SYSTEM PLAN: LEGISLATURE/UNIV                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
03/16/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/16/05       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
03/22/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/22/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/22/05       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/29/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/29/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 143(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/29/05       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/30/05       (S)       STA RPT CS  3DP 1NR  SAME TITLE                                                                        
03/30/05       (S)       DP: THERRIAULT, WAGONER, HUGGINS                                                                       
03/30/05       (S)       NR: DAVIS                                                                                              
04/01/05       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/01/05       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 143(STA)                                                                                 
04/04/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/04/05       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
04/22/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
04/22/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/25/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 266                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE                                                                                      
SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
04/08/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/08/05       (H)       TRA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
04/12/05       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/12/05       (H)       Failed To Move Out Of Committee                                                                        
04/12/05       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
04/14/05       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/14/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 266(TRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/14/05       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
04/15/05       (H)       TRA RPT CS(TRA) 1DP 1NR 4AM                                                                            
04/15/05       (H)       DP: ELKINS;                                                                                            
04/15/05       (H)       NR: KAPSNER;                                                                                           
04/15/05       (H)       AM: NEUMAN, KOHRING, SALMON, THOMAS                                                                    
04/25/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN HARRIS                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HJR 12.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 129.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH GRUNDMANN, Staff                                                                                                        
to Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                      
Senate Transportation Standing Committee                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Assisted with the presentation of SB 129 on                                                                
behalf of the sponsor, Senator Huggins.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RUTH HAMILTON HEESE, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                 
Environmental Section                                                                                                           
Civil Division (Juneau)                                                                                                         
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Assisted with the presentation of SB 129                                                                   
and responded to comments.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER BRAKES, Staff                                                                                                           
to Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                      
Senate State Affairs Standing Committee                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 143 on behalf of the sponsor,                                                                 
the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA A. VARNI, Executive Director                                                                                             
Legislative Affairs Agency (LAA)                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                               
SB 143.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CURTIS CLOTHIER, Manager                                                                                                        
Data Processing                                                                                                                 
Legislative Administrative Service                                                                                              
Legislative Affairs Agency (LAA)                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                               
SB 143.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN SMITH, Chief Information Technology Officer                                                                              
Office of Information Technology                                                                                                
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                               
SB 143.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
LEROY J. BARKER, Esq., Appointee                                                                                                
to the Violent Crimes Compensation Board (VCCB)                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  as appointee  to  the  Violent                                                               
Crimes Compensation Board (VCCB).                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ETHEL STATON, Appointee                                                                                                         
to the Commission on Judicial Conduct (CJC)                                                                                     
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as  appointee to the Commission on                                                               
Judicial Conduct (CJC).                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTENA "TENA" WILLIAMS, Appointee                                                                                            
to the Alaska Judicial Council (AJC)                                                                                            
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  as  appointee  to  the  Alaska                                                               
Judicial Council (AJC).                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOS GOVAARS, Staff                                                                                                              
to Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                    
House Transportation Standing Committee                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented HB 266 on behalf  of the sponsor,                                                               
the House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AVES D. THOMPSON, Director                                                                                                      
Anchorage Office                                                                                                                
Division   of   Measurement   Standards  &   Commercial   Vehicle                                                               
Enforcement                                                                                                                     
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  HB  266,  provided                                                               
comments, asked that the bill  be moved forward, and responded to                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL BELL, Director                                                                                                          
Alaska Trucking Association, Inc. (ATA)                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  HB  266,  provided                                                               
comments  in opposition  to  portions of  the  bill, suggested  a                                                               
change, and responded to questions.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA HUFF TUCKNESS, Director                                                                                                 
Governmental And Legislative Affairs                                                                                            
Teamsters Local 959                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  HB  266,  provided                                                               
comments, asked that the bill  be moved forward, and responded to                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PAUL FUHS, Lobbyist                                                                                                             
for Horizon Lines of Alaska, LLC ("Horizon")                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  HB  266,  provided                                                               
comments, and asked that the bill be moved forward.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
NONA WILSON, Legislative Liaison                                                                                                
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  HB  266,  provided                                                               
comments, asked that  the bill be left as is,  and responded to a                                                               
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
VANESSA TONDINI, Staff                                                                                                          
to Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                                 
House Judiciary Standing Committee                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Responded  to a question  during discussion                                                               
of HB 266.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LESIL   McGUIRE  called   the  House   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  1:13:35  PM.    Representatives                                                             
McGuire, Coghill,  Dahlstrom, and  Gruenberg were present  at the                                                               
call to order.  Representatives  Anderson, Kott, and Gara arrived                                                               
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HJR 12 - CONST. AM: BUDGET RESERVE FUND REPEAL                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:14:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 12,  Proposing amendments  to the                                                               
Constitution of  the State  of Alaska relating  to the  repeal of                                                               
the  budget  reserve  fund.   [Before  the  committee  was  CSHJR
12(W&M).]                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN HARRIS, Alaska  State Legislature, sponsor of                                                               
HJR 12, offered that the resolution  would provide "a way to deal                                                               
with what  we hope will  be the beginnings  of a fiscal  plan for                                                               
the  state."   The resolution  would  put before  the voters  the                                                               
question  of  whether  the  Constitutional  Budget  Reserve  Fund                                                               
(CBRF)  should be  put into  another  "constitutional" fund  that                                                               
would  allow earnings  to  be used  for  capital construction  or                                                               
capital  maintenance.   The  resolution  also  provides that  the                                                               
earnings  that will  be allowed  to be  used would  "be a  stream                                                               
determined by  a percent-of-market-value approach,"  specifying 5                                                               
percent of  the value of  the fund every year;  additionally, the                                                               
fund  would  be  inflation  proofed.     He  predicted  that  the                                                               
establishment  of such  a fund  will be  much less  controversial                                                               
than similar approaches.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS   mentioned  that  a  companion   bill  is                                                               
currently  in   the  House  Finance  Committee   and  would  take                                                               
approximately  $600 million  from  the  CBRF and  put  it into  a                                                               
"statutory  budget reserve"  fund,  and suggested  that doing  so                                                               
would alleviate concerns regarding  cash flow, concerns regarding                                                               
whether  the   state  would  be   able  to  meet   its  financial                                                               
obligations in  a timely  manner.   He explained  that if  HJR 12                                                               
passes,  it will  eliminate the  three-quarter vote  requirement,                                                               
and predicted  that this  will in turn  force the  legislature to                                                               
look at  other sources of  revenue to balance the  budget without                                                               
relying on  what he  characterized as "the  crutch" of  the CBRF.                                                               
Voters could also  then vote for candidates based  upon what they                                                               
claim they will  do to balance to budget when  and if they become                                                               
elected officials.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:18:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  noted that  HJR 12 is  before the  House Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee  because it  proposes a  change to  the Alaska                                                               
State Constitution,  and suggested  that committee  members allow                                                               
the   House   Finance   Committee  to   address   the   financial                                                               
ramifications of the resolution.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE, after  ascertaining that  no one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HJR 12.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:19:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  asked whether HJR  12 would take  all monies                                                               
currently  in the  CBRF  and  put it  in  a capital  construction                                                               
permanent fund.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  said it  would with  the exception  of the                                                               
aforementioned  $600  million   being  addressed  by  legislation                                                               
currently in  the House  Finance Committee.   That  $600 million,                                                               
were both that bill and this  resolution to pass - and the latter                                                               
be   approved  by   the  voters   -  would   be  placed   in  the                                                               
aforementioned "statutory budget reserve"  fund; the remainder of                                                               
monies  currently  in the  CBRF  would  be transferred  into  the                                                               
capital construction permanent fund.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS,  in  response   to  a  further  question,                                                               
clarified  that were  HJR  12  to pass,  all  references [in  the                                                               
Alaska State Constitution] to the  CBRF would be eliminated; this                                                               
would  include  references to  "the  sweep."   The  proposed  new                                                               
capital  construction permanent  fund  would be  constitutionally                                                               
protected, and  only the earnings  - never the principal  - could                                                               
be  spent.   Again,  the  aforementioned  $600 million  would  be                                                               
available  to address  cash flow  issues, would  be available  to                                                               
borrow from and  pay back, and would be  subject to appropriation                                                               
by the legislature.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:21:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA said  his concerns  are related  to what  he                                                               
called    "capital    equity,"    in   that    historically,    a                                                               
disproportionate amount of money [for  capital projects] tends to                                                               
go  to  the districts  of  those  members  in the  House  Finance                                                               
Committee  with power,  and offered  that he  has always  thought                                                               
that  a  solution   would  be  to  have  "some   sort  of  equity                                                               
requirement."  He asked Representative  Harris to comment on this                                                               
issue, and suggested  that perhaps a provision could  be added to                                                               
the resolution  such that  it would allow  for both  fairness and                                                               
statesmanship by saying that as  part of "this" fund, no district                                                               
could get  more than 25  percent more  than the average  that all                                                               
districts  get unless  authorized  by a  two-thirds  vote in  the                                                               
House  of  Representatives.    For  example,  if  there  were  an                                                               
emergency situation or a special  project, then with a two-thirds                                                               
vote, one  district would be  able to get a  substantially larger                                                               
amount of money than other  districts; the legislature would have                                                               
the flexibility to provide more funds to an area that needed it.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:23:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said he doesn't  have a problem with such a                                                               
concept, but  noted that almost  all school  maintenance projects                                                               
are in rural  Alaska and thus it seems that  minority members are                                                               
getting the bulk of  capital funds.  He said that  he hopes to be                                                               
able  to work  with  Representative Croft  in  the House  Finance                                                               
Committee to address parity concerns.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA suggested that  perhaps the language could be                                                               
structured such that  "the average capital that  goes to majority                                                               
member  districts,  per district,  should  not  be more  than  25                                                               
percent  more  than the  average  that  goes to  minority  member                                                               
districts, absent a two-thirds vote."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  posited that such  would be good  idea and                                                               
that the concept has a lot of  merit, but he doesn't yet know how                                                               
it would  be structured, what the  language would look like.   He                                                               
suggested that  perhaps the administration should  be required to                                                               
provide the  legislature with a  "maintenance list" -  similar to                                                               
the school construction list that  it already provides - based on                                                               
certain criteria,  and that  such a list  might help  to maintain                                                               
some sense of order.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:26:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  surmised  that  HJR  12  is  basically                                                               
"changing  what is  now a  [Constitutional Budget  Reserve (CBR)]                                                               
with  a three-quarter  vote into  a permanent  fund but  allowing                                                               
access of no  more than 5 percent of the  principal per year" for                                                               
capital construction [and maintenance].                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS concurred with that summation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   offered   his   understanding   that                                                               
originally   the   resolution   was  not   limited   to   capital                                                               
construction.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS concurred.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG suggested that perhaps the resolution                                                                  
oughtn't to be limited to just capital projects, but then noted                                                                 
that the fund would simply become a second permanent fund.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS offered:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The  idea, of  course,  is  that we  have  such a  huge                                                                    
     amount of deferred maintenance ...  all over the state,                                                                    
     and if  we're ever going to  get past this idea  of the                                                                    
     CBR being nothing  more than a fund that  we entice the                                                                    
     minority - whoever they may  be, republican or democrat                                                                    
     - to  dip into to  balance our budget, and  we're going                                                                    
     to look forward  enough to say we're going  to use some                                                                    
     other mechanism  to balance our budget  long-term, then                                                                    
     we  have to  do  this.   Otherwise,  this mechanism  is                                                                    
     here, it's easy  - I mean relatively easy -  to get at.                                                                    
     And  ... we've  talked right  now about  [how] ...  the                                                                    
     republicans  are  in  power   so  they  just  shut  the                                                                    
     democrats out.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Well, the  democrats will be  in power sooner  or later                                                                    
     ..., and  when they are  you don't want to  be shackled                                                                    
     with that  same issue either -  you want to be  able to                                                                    
     control  policy, as  you  should  be able  to.   And  I                                                                    
     understand why the legislature did  this years ago; ...                                                                    
     the legislature was  awash in money ...  in those days,                                                                    
     and  ... the  minority at  that point  in time  ... had                                                                    
     concerns about  ... the money  all being spent  ..., so                                                                    
     they ... wanted to put their own sideboards on it. ...                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I  think those  days are  over with.  ... We're  not in                                                                    
     those situations  anymore.  Yeah, we  have $50-a-barrel                                                                    
     oil ...,  but we know  that's not realistic  to [expect                                                                    
     that  to]  last  forever.  ...   And  with  our  budget                                                                    
     continuing  to  increase, it  won't  be  too many  more                                                                    
     years  ... [before]  we're at  $3 billion  general fund                                                                    
     [GF] budget -  it's going to take a lot  of oil at very                                                                    
     high prices  to allow  us to  balance our  budget under                                                                    
     that scenario.  And so I  say we're going to need other                                                                    
     revenue sources  to balance our budget  on a continuing                                                                    
     ... [basis].                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:30:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   offered   a   hypothetical   example                                                               
involving repairs  to a  school in  a Rural  Education Attendance                                                               
Area (REAA), and asked whether  such a school would be considered                                                               
a facility of the state or a subdivision of the state.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said yes.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  whether  the  resolution  would                                                               
allow any  public building  in the state  to receive  monies from                                                               
the fund created via the resolution.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said yes.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  whether  ferries  would also  be                                                               
considered facilities of the state.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said yes.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:31:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA   offered   his  understanding   that   the                                                               
aforementioned school  construction list that  the administration                                                               
provides the legislature is a "statutory" list.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS   concurred  with   Representative  Gara's                                                               
understanding.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  offered his  belief that the  current three-                                                               
quarter vote requirement of the  CBR provides the minority with a                                                               
voice regarding budget issues.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS clarified,  however,  that such  is not  a                                                               
guarantee,  since   with  $50-a-barrel  oil,  for   example,  the                                                               
legislature is  able to balance  the budget without  tapping into                                                               
the CBRF  and thereby  needing to make  use of  the three-quarter                                                               
vote requirement.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA offered  his understanding  that he  and the                                                               
sponsor agree with the concept that  there should be some sort of                                                               
equity  regarding   capital  funds.     He  suggested   that  the                                                               
resolution  ought   to  include  a  provision   which  says  that                                                               
excluding the  maintenance and construction school  budget, which                                                               
is defined by  statute, for all other capital that's  paid for by                                                               
this  fund,  the  average  amount that  goes,  per  district,  to                                                               
majority districts can  be no more than 20 percent  more than the                                                               
average that goes to minority  districts.  If the House Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee were  to amend HJR 12 to that  effect, then if                                                               
20 percent  doesn't seem to the  House Finance Committee to  be a                                                               
fair number, he remarked, then  that committee could try and come                                                               
up with a better number.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS remarked  that such  could be  done either                                                               
through an  amendment or  through intent  language of  some sort,                                                               
adding that he  doesn't have a problem with that  concept as long                                                               
as  school  maintenance  issues or  public  facility  maintenance                                                               
issues are  excluded - the  first of which are  already addressed                                                               
by the  aforementioned statutory  list, and  the second  of which                                                               
might also soon  be addressed through a similar  statutory list -                                                               
since there may  be more needs regarding those  issues in certain                                                               
districts.   For example, the  installation of  detection systems                                                               
in  court  buildings  in  urban  areas.   Such  lists  allow  the                                                               
legislature   to  funnel   funds   through   to  those   specific                                                               
areas/projects after  the administration  has had  an opportunity                                                               
to look  at them in  terms of which  items should be  a priority.                                                               
In  conclusion,  he  said  he   would  prefer  that  the  capital                                                               
construction permanent fund  not be used as  a bonding mechanism;                                                               
that rather it  should be used strictly as a  "cash" mechanism to                                                               
pay for needed infrastructure repair.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:34:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said  he  would  object  to  putting  an                                                               
allocation  provision in  the resolution.   Rather,  if they  are                                                               
going  to  add  language  to   the  [Alaska  State]  Constitution                                                               
regarding another  constitutional fund,  they should  just define                                                               
how that fund is to be managed and  how it is to be accessed, and                                                               
all other  issues related to that  fund should be left  up to the                                                               
legislature to  deal with.   He cautioned against  putting equity                                                               
allocations  in  the  [Alaska   State]  Constitution,  since,  he                                                               
opined, allocations  should instead  be debated as  a legislative                                                               
policy issue,  particularly given the historical  fluctuations in                                                               
pipeline revenues.   He  asked the  sponsor to  comment regarding                                                               
what he anticipates the actual ballot language would be.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  noted that  the  language  on the  ballot                                                               
could  be worded  a number  of  different ways,  and expressed  a                                                               
preference that  it be as  clear as  possible so that  the voters                                                               
understand what they are voting  on and understand what the term,                                                               
"percent of  market value," means  with regard to  both inflation                                                               
proofing and "the stream of revenue coming off."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked the sponsor  whether he is wedded to                                                               
the concept of "percent of market  value," or whether he would be                                                               
amenable to having  an open fund and allowing  the legislature to                                                               
"dip into" it as well.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  reiterated  that  the  principal  of  the                                                               
proposed  fund  would  be constitutionally  protected  so  as  to                                                               
prevent "dipping  into" it.  Additionally,  as currently written,                                                               
there is no vote mechanism allowing access to the principal.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL surmised,  then, that  only 5  percent of                                                               
the market value of that fund  would be used and no three-quarter                                                               
vote would be needed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:38:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS concurred.    In response  to a  question,                                                               
said he  is not completely  devoted to  the "5 percent  of market                                                               
value" concept,  but he thinks that  it is a good  mechanism that                                                               
allows  two things  to happen,  one of  which being  to inflation                                                               
proof the fund.  He pointed  out, too, that the legislature would                                                               
not be required  to use those funds; instead, if  that money were                                                               
not needed, it could simply revert back into principal.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL, surmised  that the current constitutional                                                               
requirement of  paying back the  CBRF would no longer  exist with                                                               
the adoption  and voter approval  of the  proposed constitutional                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS concurred.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:40:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  said another of his  concerns centers around                                                               
the possibility  that if the cushion  now offered by the  CBRF is                                                               
wiped out, it will  hasten the day that an income  tax or a sales                                                               
tax  or a  permanent  fund dividend  (PFD) cut  will  have to  be                                                               
imposed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  noted that  debates  on  that issue  took                                                               
place  when oil  was at  $8 per  barrel, and  remarked that  that                                                               
question  is one  that  will  have to  be  faced  at some  point,                                                               
particularly  given that  the budget  has  continued to  increase                                                               
because costs have continued to increase.  He added:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     It's bringing it  to a head, to say we  have to ask the                                                                    
     people of  the state of  Alaska how they want  to truly                                                                    
     fund the growth  of this government, period.   And this                                                                    
     puts  the question  before them  - they  don't have  to                                                                    
     vote for [it], the people,  but it puts the question in                                                                    
     front of them - "Do  you want to do something different                                                                    
     with the CBR?"  ... And that certainly will  be part of                                                                    
     the debate if it gets out  there in the public, to say,                                                                    
     "Well, this  is ... enhancing the  fact you're probably                                                                    
     going  to have  use of  the earnings  of the  permanent                                                                    
     fund or  income tax  or sales tax  just to  balance the                                                                    
     budget in the future."  But  I think the people need to                                                                    
     have that question in front of them.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:43:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA [made a motion  to adopt Conceptual Amendment                                                               
1],  to  say  that  outside   of  school  and  public  facilities                                                               
construction  and  maintenance  projects, the  expenditures  from                                                               
this  fund  should not  provide,  on  average,  any more  than  a                                                               
maximum  of 20  percent more  per district  in majority  members'                                                               
districts  than minority  members' districts,  to guarantee  that                                                               
the  minority doesn't  get  shut  out of  the  process for  power                                                               
reasons, and  would say that  in order for that  [stipulation] to                                                               
be waived,  there would have to  be a two-thirds vote  to justify                                                               
the projects that would otherwise disrupt that balance.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON objected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:45:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON opined that  Conceptual Amendment 1 would                                                               
tie  the legislature's  hands and  underestimates  the fact  that                                                               
districts are connected.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said he objects  to Conceptual Amendment 1                                                               
because  of  the  possibility that  it  could  create  allocation                                                               
problems, and opined  that when proposals are  offered that would                                                               
change the Alaska State Constitution,  they should be accompanied                                                               
with  a  description  of  the basic  underlying  principal.    If                                                               
allocations  are to  be based  on certain,  set percentages,  for                                                               
example, then the  legislature should be free  to allocate within                                                               
those percentages.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA,  with  regard to  Conceptual  Amendment  1,                                                               
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Certainly  ...,  under  this   proposal,  ...  one  ...                                                                    
     republican  district could  get all  the money  and the                                                                    
     other one  would get  none, but that  would be  okay as                                                                    
     long as on  average, all of the ... money  that went to                                                                    
     the  majority  wasn't  on  average,  per  district,  20                                                                    
     percent [more] than  all of the money that  went to the                                                                    
     minority.   And  if we  can't agree  to something  like                                                                    
     that  or  some  other   language  that  would  preserve                                                                    
     fairness to people who are  not the majority ... party,                                                                    
     I  really greatly  worry  that we're  going  to have  a                                                                    
     provision where things like what  happened in the past,                                                                    
     where  you get  this  special  allocation for  majority                                                                    
     member  districts  that  doesn't get  accorded  to  the                                                                    
     minority party, will happen more often.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     And if  we're going to  get rid of the  two-thirds vote                                                                    
     requirement,  which is  really  one of  the few  things                                                                    
     that gives  the minority  a voice in  this legislature,                                                                    
     ... then I think you  have to replace it with something                                                                    
     that guarantees some fairness.   And ... if people want                                                                    
     to  work on  better language,  and people  want to  get                                                                    
     this bill  out today, that's  why I would like  to have                                                                    
     something on the record today  and let them fiddle with                                                                    
     it in  [the House Finance  Committee].  But  [I've] got                                                                    
     to say, I'm  not going to be thrilled  with a provision                                                                    
     that doesn't have a protection like that.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:48:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call  vote was taken.  Representatives  Gruenberg and Gara                                                               
voted  in  favor  of Conceptual  Amendment  1.    Representatives                                                               
McGuire,  Anderson, Coghill,  Kott, and  Dahlstrom voted  against                                                               
it.  Therefore, Conceptual Amendment 1 failed by a vote of 2-5.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:48:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM moved  to report  CSHJR 12(W&M)  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHJR  12(W&M)  was                                                               
reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SB 129 - WRONGFUL FILING OF LIS PENDENS                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:49:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
CS  FOR  SENATE  BILL  NO.  129(JUD), "An  Act  relating  to  the                                                               
wrongful recording of a notice  of pendency of an action relating                                                               
to title to or right to possession of real property."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  CHARLIE HUGGINS,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor  of                                                               
SB 129, thanked  Representative Gruenberg  for his  assistance in                                                               
reviewing the bill, and characterized the bill as non-                                                                          
contentious,  essentially  correcting  faults  currently  in  the                                                               
system.   In  the situation  that  engendered the  bill, a  state                                                               
employee  had  "fragrantly"  filed  [a  notice  of  lis  pendens]                                                               
against some people that he had  no legitimate claim against.  He                                                               
explained  that a  lis pendens  notice is  essentially a  lien of                                                               
sorts, and  in the aforementioned  situation, the  pendens action                                                               
was filed  against an assistant  attorney general, a  real estate                                                               
developer, and some  members of the Board of Game;  it cost those                                                               
people  thousands  of  dollars  to  "remove  that  action."    In                                                               
conclusion,  he  offered his  belief  that  adopting SB  129  and                                                               
instituting the correction it proposes is the right thing to do.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH  GRUNDMANN,  Staff  to Senator  Charlie  Huggins,  Senate                                                               
Transportation  Standing  Committee,  Alaska  State  Legislature,                                                               
added on  behalf of Senator  Huggins, sponsor, that SB  129 seeks                                                               
to  discourage abusive  filings  of illegal  lis pendens  notices                                                               
and,  in  fact, makes  filing  such  illegal  notices a  class  A                                                               
misdemeanor.   While the filing  itself does not create  a formal                                                               
lien, such a  notice can have a similar impact  on the ability of                                                               
the  targeted  person  to  do business  with  the  affected  real                                                               
estate.  She, too, referred  to the situation that engendered the                                                               
legislation, and mentioned that  that case took months, thousands                                                               
of dollars,  and attorney time  to solve.   She then  pointed out                                                               
that Section  2 of CSSB 129  now proposes to also  add the words,                                                               
"in writing" to AS 11.46.560(b).                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:53:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RUTH  HAMILTON HEESE,  Assistant Attorney  General, Environmental                                                               
Section,  Civil  Division  (Juneau),  Department  of  Law  (DOL),                                                               
offered that  a lis pendens is  basically a filing that  one puts                                                               
in the recorder's [office] of a  notice of a pending suit, and is                                                               
defined in part  in Black's Law Dictionary as a  notice filed, on                                                               
public records, for  the purpose of warning all  persons that the                                                               
title of certain  [property] is in litigation and  that that they                                                               
are  in  danger of  being  bound  by  an  adverse judgment.    It                                                               
essentially creates a  cloud on the title of one's  property.  In                                                               
creating SB  129, the DOL  considered existing law  regarding the                                                               
crime of filing  wrongful liens on property,  and the legislation                                                               
merely amends  that existing  law to  include wrongful  filing of                                                               
lis pendens.   It essentially  closes the loophole that  some are                                                               
using to harass people for  certain decisions they may have made.                                                               
The  bill is  narrowly focused,  she concluded,  adding that  the                                                               
criminal  intent  for this  crime  is  reckless disregard,  which                                                               
involves  an individual  consciously  going forward  with an  act                                                               
even though  he/she knows that  there is a substantial  risk that                                                               
the act will be found wrongful.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:55:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON characterized  SB  129  as an  important                                                               
piece of  legislation, and noted  that abuses of the  lis pendens                                                               
procedure can even be seen in "family law" cases.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE, after  ascertaining that  no one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on SB 129.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS,   in  response   to  a  comment,   offered  his                                                               
understanding  that by  using the  term, "reckless  disregard" in                                                               
the bill,  it ensures  that the behavior  is not  merely careless                                                               
behavior.  In response to a  further comment, he pointed out that                                                               
there  is no  evidence  of  abuse of  the  current law  regarding                                                               
offering a  false instrument for  recording even though  that law                                                               
uses the same standard of reckless disregard.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HEESE also pointed out  that the "in writing" provision would                                                               
allow someone to submit to having  a lis pendens filed on him/her                                                               
and thus  the person that filed  the notice would be  fairly safe                                                               
from prosecution under this proposed  statute.  She, too, pointed                                                               
out that  the current law  regarding offering a  false instrument                                                               
for recording  has not been  abused, and suggested that  the same                                                               
standard of  criminal intent  should apply to  the filing  of all                                                               
such false  instruments.   It would be  foolhardy for  someone to                                                               
file such an instrument knowing that it is false, she concluded.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE offered her belief  that reckless disregard means a                                                               
conscious disregard, not just a mistaken disregard.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA disagreed,  offering his  understanding that                                                               
with  reckless  disregard, one  could  know  that a  behavior  is                                                               
wrongful  and  still  "accidentally"  do  it.    He  opined  that                                                               
providing a criminal penalty for  behavior that is reckless would                                                               
be doing a disservice.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.   HEESE  offered   to  read   the  definition   of  "reckless                                                               
disregard."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE said  that doing  so wouldn't  be necessary.   She                                                               
added  that   she  didn't  see  how   someone  could  consciously                                                               
disregard a risk and then claim that doing so was an accident.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:01:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS relayed  that after  discussing this  issue with                                                               
others,  he  feels  100 percent  comfortable  that  the  language                                                               
currently in the bill will not be abused.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA made a motion  to adopt Amendment 1, to "make                                                               
it a crime of intent rather than a crime of recklessness."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON objected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE surmised that Amendment  1 would replace "reckless"                                                               
on page 1, line 8, with "intentional".                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:02:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call  vote was taken.  Representative Gara  voted in favor                                                               
of  Amendment 1.    Representatives  McGuire, Anderson,  Coghill,                                                               
Kott,  Dahlstrom,  voted  against  it.   Therefore,  Amendment  1                                                               
failed by a vote of 1-5.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:03:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON moved  to  report CSSB  129(JUD) out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA   objected.    He  then   provided  comments                                                               
regarding  the term  reckless  in  the civil  context  and as  it                                                               
related to physicians.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE ruled those comments out of order.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  removed  his  objection to  the  motion  to                                                               
report the bill from committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  stated that  CSSB 129(JUD)  was reported  from the                                                               
House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SB 143 - STATE INFO SYSTEM PLAN: LEGISLATURE/UNIV                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:04:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO.  143(STA), "An Act amending the definition                                                               
of the term 'state agencies'  as it applies under Executive Order                                                               
No.  113;  relating to  information  systems  in the  legislative                                                               
branch  and to  the Telecommunications  Information Council;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER BRAKES,  Staff to Senator  Gene Therriault,  Senate State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee,  Alaska State Legislature, explained,                                                               
on  behalf  of  the  Senate  State  Affairs  Standing  Committee,                                                               
sponsor  of SB  143, that  Executive Order  (EO) 113,  which took                                                               
effect   March  14,   2005,  eliminated   the  Telecommunications                                                               
Information Council  (TIC) and transferred its  powers and duties                                                               
to the  commissioner of the  Department of  Administration (DOA).                                                               
Under EO 113,  the legislature was included in  the definition of                                                               
"state  agency" and,  as  a result,  the  legislative branch  was                                                               
placed  under  the  jurisdiction  of the  executive  branch  with                                                               
regard to  the specific statutes  now listed  in SB 143.   Senate                                                               
Bill  143   removes  the  legislature  from   the  aforementioned                                                               
definition  and  sets  the  legislative  branch  apart  from  the                                                               
executive  branch, reflecting  the reality  that the  legislature                                                               
already oversees its own telecommunications operations.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:06:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL relayed  that he had no  objections to the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA A.  VARNI, Executive Director, Legislative  Affairs Agency                                                               
(LAA), offered the following comments:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     I believe  the passage of  this bill would  reflect how                                                                    
     the legislature  actually operates within the  State of                                                                    
     Alaska's information  technology community.   This bill                                                                    
     will  allow the  legislature to  operate with  the same                                                                    
     autonomy  as  the  judicial   branch,  and  having  the                                                                    
     ability to  decide what is  best for our own  branch of                                                                    
     government  is important.   We  have  always enjoyed  a                                                                    
     cooperative   relationship  with   the  Department   of                                                                    
     Administration and information  technology group.  This                                                                    
     bill will allow  us to continue to work  with them, but                                                                    
     cleans   up   references   which  currently   put   the                                                                    
     legislature's  data  processing   program  under  their                                                                    
     direction.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Executive Order 113 could  not make substantive changes                                                                    
     to the  law.  That  is why SB  143 is so  important for                                                                    
     you to  pass.  The  Legislative Affairs Agency  has its                                                                    
     own   data  processing   group,   which  supports   the                                                                    
     legislature.   Under  the auspices  of the  Legislative                                                                    
     Council's  IT subcommittee,  long-range and  short-term                                                                    
     goals are established for the  legislature and voted on                                                                    
     by Legislative Council.  These  goals take into account                                                                    
     the  legislature's  unique  needs  and  plans  for  the                                                                    
     future.  It is important  that the legislature have the                                                                    
     flexibility to develop our  own programs and procedures                                                                    
     to  meet the  goals which  are specific  to the  Alaska                                                                    
     legislature, both now and in the future.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  VARNI,   in  conclusion,  thanked  the   committee  for  the                                                               
opportunity to speak, and offered to answer questions.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:08:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CURTIS   CLOTHIER,   Manager,    Data   Processing,   Legislative                                                               
Administrative Services,  Legislative Affairs Agency  (LAA), said                                                               
he would  echo Ms. Varni's  comments, adding his belief  that the                                                               
intent  of SB  143 is  to put  the legislature's  data processing                                                               
staff  on  the  same  footing   as  the  judicial  branch's  data                                                               
processing  staff, and  that the  bill would  not affect  how his                                                               
section  currently   operates.    He,  too,   offered  to  answer                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:09:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN  SMITH, Chief  Information Technology  Officer, Office  of                                                               
Information  Technology,  University  of Alaska,  said  that  the                                                               
University  of Alaska  wishes  to  not be  included  in EO  113's                                                               
definition  of  "state  agency",  and noted  that  CSSB  143(STA)                                                               
already effects that  change.  He said he would  echo many of the                                                               
previous  comments,  adding  that   the  University  of  Alaska's                                                               
information technology  policy is  set through the  University of                                                               
Alaska  Board  of  Regents,  and that  as  a  public  educational                                                               
institution,  the University  of  Alaska has  the opportunity  to                                                               
realize  [savings]  in  contractual relationships  with  vendors.                                                               
Additionally,  much of  the University  of Alaska  technology and                                                               
research  needs   are  very  specific,   and  thus   require  the                                                               
University  of Alaska  to  be considered  as  a separate  entity,                                                               
apart from, and with different  needs than, the executive branch,                                                               
though  the  University of  Alaska  does  work closely  with  the                                                               
information  technology organizations  in all  other branches  of                                                               
government in order to maintain certain standards.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:11:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE, after  ascertaining that  no one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on SB 143.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  said he  is surprised that  no one  from the                                                               
administration is  present to testify,  since the bill  would not                                                               
have been necessary had the  administration worked with and given                                                               
consideration  to the  legislative branch  and university  during                                                               
the  development of  EO  113.   He suggested  that  those in  the                                                               
administration who develop executive  orders in the future should                                                               
learn from this example.  In  conclusion, he said he supports the                                                               
Senate  State Affairs  Standing Committee's  endeavor to  provide                                                               
the legislature and university with the autonomy they deserve.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON moved  to  report CSSB  143(STA) out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal  note.  There  being no objection, CSSB  143(STA) was                                                               
reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^Violent Crimes Compensation Board                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:13:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that the  committee would  next consider                                                               
the  reappointment  of LeRoy  J.  Barker,  Esq., to  the  Violent                                                               
Crimes Compensation Board (VCCB).                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:13:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LEROY  J.   BARKER,  Esq.,  Appointee   to  the   Violent  Crimes                                                               
Compensation Board  (VCCB), said  he thinks  that serving  on the                                                               
VCCB  has been  a good  experience and  that it  is important  to                                                               
maintain continuity.   He relayed that he has  established a good                                                               
working  relationship with  the staff  and other  members of  the                                                               
VCCB, and opined that the VCCB serves an important function.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE  relayed  to  Mr.   Barker  that  the  legislature                                                               
appreciates his service.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON   reminded  members  that   signing  the                                                               
reports regarding  appointments to  boards and commissions  in no                                                               
way reflects  individual members' approval or  disapproval of the                                                               
appointees, and that the nominations  are merely forwarded to the                                                               
full legislature for confirmation or rejection.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  made a motion to  advance from committee                                                               
the nomination  of LeRoy J.  Barker, Esq., to the  Violent Crimes                                                               
Compensation Board.   There being no  objection, the confirmation                                                               
was advanced from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:15:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that the  committee would  next consider                                                               
the reappointment of  Ethel Staton to the  Commission on Judicial                                                               
Conduct (CJC).                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ETHEL  STATON, Appointee  to the  Commission on  Judicial Conduct                                                               
(CJC), relayed that she has served  on the CJC since 2001 and has                                                               
enjoyed the experience.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  asked Ms. Staton  whether she has  any suggestions                                                               
for improvements to the CJC.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. STATON opined that the CJC has done a wonderful job.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE thanked Ms. Staton for her service.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  made a motion to  advance from committee                                                               
the  nomination of  Ethel Staton  to the  Commission on  Judicial                                                               
Conduct.    There  being  no   objection,  the  confirmation  was                                                               
advanced from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
^Alaska Judicial Council                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:16:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that the  committee would  next consider                                                               
the  appointment  of  Christena  "Tena" Williams  to  the  Alaska                                                               
Judicial Council (AJC).                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTENA  "TENA"  WILLIAMS,  Appointee to  the  Alaska  Judicial                                                               
Council (AJC), in  response to the question of why  she wished to                                                               
serve  on  the  AJC,  said she  believes  everyone  should  serve                                                               
his/her state in one way or  another, and so she chose this venue                                                               
after being asked to serve.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA,  noting that his  concern is that  those who                                                               
serve on  [the AJC]  should "stand  up" for  a judiciary  that is                                                               
politics  blind, asked  her to  comment on  whether she  believes                                                               
that judges ought to have philosophies,  one way or the other, on                                                               
certain issues.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLIAMS said  no, adding that she is not  that interested in                                                               
what a  person's politics are  and so  would simply look  at each                                                               
person individually and determine  whether he/she is competent to                                                               
do the job.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA asked  Ms. Williams  whether her  motivation                                                               
for serving on  the AJC stems from her having  seen problems with                                                               
the judicial process that she'd like to see corrected.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLIAMS said no.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE relayed  that members were asked  to participate in                                                               
a survey  conducted by the  AJC regarding  its bylaws.   She said                                                               
she hopes Ms. Williams will have  an active part in reviewing the                                                               
information gathered in that survey.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:20:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  thanked Ms.  Williams for  her comments.                                                               
Offering  an example  of an  acquaintance  of his,  he urged  Ms.                                                               
Williams to not "give all the weight to a Bar Poll."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  made a motion to  advance from committee                                                               
the  nomination  of  Christena  "Tena"  Williams  to  the  Alaska                                                               
Judicial  Council   (AJC).    There   being  no   objection,  the                                                               
confirmation  was  advanced  from the  House  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB 266 - VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:22:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that the  final order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  266,  "An  Act  relating  to  offenses  and                                                               
penalties   for   violation   of  vehicle   weight   limitations;                                                               
prohibiting  the  use   of  a  violation  of   a  vehicle  weight                                                               
limitation  for certain  personal  automobile insurance  actions;                                                               
amending  Rule   43.6,  Alaska   Rules  of   Administration;  and                                                               
providing  for an  effective date."   [Before  the committee  was                                                               
CSHB 266(TRA).]                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JOS   GOVAARS,  Staff   to  Representative   Jim  Elkins,   House                                                               
Transportation  Standing  Committee,  Alaska  State  Legislature,                                                               
said, on  behalf of the House  Transportation Standing Committee,                                                               
sponsor of HB  266, that the bill modifies  existing law relating                                                               
to the  penalty structure for  overweight vehicle  violations, as                                                               
well as  prohibits the  use of  overweight vehicle  violations by                                                               
insurers [to  raise a  driver's personal  insurance rates].   The                                                               
bill proposes the first increase  in penalties since the existing                                                               
provisions were  established in the  1970s.  Those  provisions do                                                               
not adequately  inhibit commercial shipping companies  and others                                                               
from violating overweight vehicle  limitations, he opined, adding                                                               
that  the proposed  modifications establish  a graduated  penalty                                                               
for the  amount of  weight in  excess of  the limitations  set by                                                               
statute, regulation, and permit.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GOVAARS said  there  are also  new  offenses established  to                                                               
sanction [certain] shippers or carriers  who, for example, commit                                                               
a combined total  of [15] or more violations  during any 12-month                                                               
period.   The maximum fine for  this violation is $10,000.   This                                                               
modification  is expected  to result  in commercial  shippers and                                                               
carriers being  more rigorous towards compliance  with overweight                                                               
vehicle  limitations.   Another provision  of the  bill prohibits                                                               
the  use   of  overweight  vehicle  violations   by  insurers  to                                                               
adversely   impact  decisions   related   to  providing   private                                                               
automobile insurance  coverage for drivers.   In the  majority of                                                               
cases, the driver has little or  no knowledge or ability to limit                                                               
the weight  of the load placed  on the vehicle they  are assigned                                                               
to drive and, as a result,  the company causes the violation and,                                                               
if cited, pays the fine imposed.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.   GOVAARS   relayed   that  currently,   overweight   vehicle                                                               
violations are used by insurers  as justification to take adverse                                                               
action in relation to the  personal automobile insurance coverage                                                               
of truck  drivers.   Section 1  of the  bill would  prohibit this                                                               
action.   This legislation will  protect drivers who do  not know                                                               
they are in violation, as  well as Alaska's roads from overweight                                                               
vehicles.    In  conclusion,  he  said  that  the  Department  of                                                               
Transportation  & Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF), the  "Teamsters,"                                                               
and [Horizon Lines of Alaska, LLC,]  all support HB 266, and that                                                               
the sponsor  would like  to thank the  committee for  its support                                                               
[of HB 266].                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON   noted  that   he's  heard   a  concern                                                               
regarding weight standards.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS relayed that there  have been concerns expressed that                                                               
the increase  in penalties is  too significant,  particularly for                                                               
the smaller amounts  of weight over the limit,  and that members'                                                               
packets include  a list of  Overweight Uniform  Traffic Citations                                                               
for  2004, some  of which  were for  relatively small  amounts of                                                               
weight over the  limit, but one of  which - listed at  the top of                                                               
page 3  of the handout  - was for  36,400 pounds over  the limit.                                                               
In  response to  another question,  he relayed  that the  sponsor                                                               
thinks that the bill should not be amended.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA noted  that  the bill  contains a  provision                                                               
regarding  repeat  violations,  and   asked  how  that  provision                                                               
relates  to  current law  and  whether  repeat violations  are  a                                                               
common occurrence.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS  said that there are  a number of carriers  that have                                                               
traveled over weight  a number of times.   He suggested, however,                                                               
that a  representative from  the DOT&PF would  be better  able to                                                               
address this issue.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:27:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AVES  D.  THOMPSON,  Director,   Anchorage  Office,  Division  of                                                               
Measurement   Standards   &   Commercial   Vehicle   Enforcement,                                                               
Department of Transportation &  Public Facilities (DOT&PF), first                                                               
relayed  that   current  statute  does  not   contain  a  "repeat                                                               
violation"  provision,  and  then   that  in  calculating  repeat                                                               
violations,  consideration  would  be  given  to  the  number  of                                                               
violations that all the drivers  working for a particular carrier                                                               
had, because numerous  violations - even if each  driver had only                                                               
one violation - could demonstrate  a pattern of violation for the                                                               
carrier.  He offered his understanding  that under the bill, if a                                                               
carrier  reaches the  repeat violation  threshold  listed in  the                                                               
bill,  it  could  trigger  an  investigation  by  the  DOT&PF  to                                                               
determine whether  a pattern of  violation exists  which warrants                                                               
prosecution by the Department of Law (DOL).                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  asked  Mr.  Thompson  and  the  sponsor  to                                                               
consider  imposing  a  higher  fine  for  a  driver  with  repeat                                                               
violations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON  said he  would  be  willing  to think  about  that                                                               
concept.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA indicated  that he  views repeat  violations                                                               
from  companies with  just a  few  drivers as  worse than  repeat                                                               
violations from companies with a lot of drivers.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:30:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS offered his understanding that  the goal of HB 266 is                                                               
to get  overweight trucks  off the road  because, in  addition to                                                               
causing wear  and tear on  the road, they  create a hazard.   And                                                               
although  HB   266  proposes  to   replace  the   current  [fine]                                                               
structure, if  the committee can  come up with what  it considers                                                               
to be a  more equitable way of ensuring  that overweight vehicles                                                               
are no longer on Alaska's roads,  the sponsor would be open to an                                                               
amendment, he relayed.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:31:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON explained  that it is the DOT&PF's  intention to try                                                               
to reduce  the number of  overweight vehicles and is  not looking                                                               
to  generate revenue,  adding that  it is  important to  remember                                                               
that there  is a fine  associated with each  individual violation                                                               
and that  the "pattern  of violation" provision  is aimed  at the                                                               
most egregious of violators -  those carriers that take advantage                                                               
of  every situation  and push  their  drivers to  do things  they                                                               
shouldn't be doing.   He also explained that  Section 1 prohibits                                                               
insurers  from using  overweight violations  to adversely  impact                                                               
decisions related to personal  automobile insurance; that Section                                                               
2 modifies the  existing penalty structure, which,  he opined, do                                                               
not adequately  deter overweight  violations; and that  Section 3                                                               
addresses patterns of repeat violations,  which could result in a                                                               
fine  of up  to $10,000  for the  most egregious  offenders.   In                                                               
conclusion,   he  asked   that  the   committee  give   favorable                                                               
consideration to HB 266 and move it forward.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:33:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL BELL, Director, Alaska  Trucking Association, Inc. (ATA),                                                               
relayed that  although the  ATA supports  Section 1  of HB  266 -                                                               
since there  are times when  drivers unintentionally  violate the                                                               
overweight  regulations and  are then  penalized with  a rise  in                                                               
insurance premiums on  vehicles unrelated to the  violation - the                                                               
ATA does  have some concern  with Section 2, which  increases the                                                               
fines for  overweight violations.   He  noted, however,  that the                                                               
proposed legislation  would be less objectionable  if the highest                                                               
proposed  fine increases  were confined  to the  more significant                                                               
weight  violations  -  for  example,   those  vehicles  that  are                                                               
overweight by  8,000 pounds or  more.   The ATA does  not believe                                                               
that the large increases in  fines for violations involving those                                                               
vehicles  that   are  less  than  8,000   pounds  overweight  are                                                               
justified,  since the  impact of  those vehicles  on the  state's                                                               
highways is not as significant,  and the overweighting might just                                                               
be the result of unintentional errors  by shippers or the lack of                                                               
scales being readily available.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL went  on to  say  that those  increases penalize  small                                                               
trucking companies  and owner/operators  to a much  larger degree                                                               
than  they do  larger companies.   He  then referred  to what  he                                                               
termed the  shift in responsibility,  from carriers  to shippers,                                                               
for violations  caused by bill-of-lading errors,  adding that the                                                               
ATA does  not support  this proposed change.   Carriers  have the                                                               
right to seek restitution from a  customer if they choose, but it                                                               
is  their  choice,  and  if carriers  have  the  right  equipment                                                               
available to haul their loads,  can provide some margin of error,                                                               
and, where possible, check the  weights of the loads, then [bill-                                                               
of-lading] errors can be caught.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL  said that the ATA  does not support placing  the burden                                                               
of these errors  directly on to its customers, since  it does not                                                               
believe  that customers  intentionally  misstate  the weights  on                                                               
bills of  lading.  With regard  to Section 3, he  said that while                                                               
the  ATA does  not  support "the  additional  scrutiny," it  does                                                               
believe   that   the   "tier  structure"   should   be   directly                                                               
proportional to  the number of drivers  a given company has.   In                                                               
conclusion,  he mentioned  that  the  ATA is  in  the process  of                                                               
having proposed amendments drafted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  asked whether an amendment  deleting the                                                               
language on page  2, lines 6-12 - which  currently proposes [fine                                                               
increases] for vehicles that are  overweight by amounts up to and                                                               
including 8,000 pounds - would alleviate the ATA's concerns.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL said yes.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON said he would  be willing to make such an                                                               
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL,  in response  to  a  question,  relayed that  the  ATA                                                               
represents  about   350  companies  and  that   that  equates  to                                                               
approximately  65   percent  of  the  trucks   currently  driving                                                               
Alaska's roads.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:36:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA  HUFF TUCKNESS,  Director,  Governmental and  Legislative                                                               
Affairs,  Teamsters  Local  959, relayed  that  members'  packets                                                               
should include  a copy of a  letter offered by her  supervisor in                                                               
support of the  bill, adding that her organization  would like to                                                               
encourage the committee to move  the bill onto the next committee                                                               
of referral.  She elaborated:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     From  our perspective,  this  is  first, foremost,  and                                                                    
     ultimately  about  safety  -   we  do  represent  truck                                                                    
     drivers  in  the  industry,  many  of  which  work  for                                                                    
     companies that are  members of ATA [and]  some that are                                                                    
     not. ...  I would  also like  to comment  regarding the                                                                    
     earlier [proposed] amendment if  I'm not totally out of                                                                    
     line.   When  we  looked  at this  bill  from a  safety                                                                    
     perspective  -- and  I guess  for  the record,  whether                                                                    
     you're running  2,000 pounds  overweight or  30,000, an                                                                    
     overweight vehicle is  in violation of the  law - first                                                                    
     and foremost.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Secondly, it creates  a safety hazard. ...  In fact ...                                                                    
     there  has been  a legislative  representative in  this                                                                    
     building who  lost her son  and her husband to  a truck                                                                    
     [that] ... was  running ... overweight.   It would fall                                                                    
     into the category that they're  looking at reducing the                                                                    
     fines  on,  and,  ...  for the  record,  we  would  not                                                                    
     support  [such an  amendment].  ...  You're looking  at                                                                    
     increasing fines  that have not been  increased for ...                                                                    
     30-some  years.   If  you  sit  down and  you  actually                                                                    
     calculate  that percentage  based on  just the  cost of                                                                    
     living [increase] alone, it  doesn't come anywhere near                                                                    
     what's  being  proposed  here.   We  believe  that  the                                                                    
     increases in rates are very fair.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     First and  foremost we would  like to see  all drivers,                                                                    
     all  companies,  follow  the   law.    And  if  they're                                                                    
     following  the  law, they're  not  going  to be  paying                                                                    
     these fines,  ultimately, anyway.   So for  that reason                                                                    
     we would  have great  concern with proposing  to adjust                                                                    
     any of  those fines, and  we would ask  the committee's                                                                    
     support to move the bill on.  Thank you.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:40:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  asked whether the teamsters  concern is that                                                               
truckers  are  currently  being  endangered  by  those  that  are                                                               
loading the trucks.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUFF  TUCKNESS said one  could ultimately make  that analogy,                                                               
but offered that in the big  picture, whether one is the owner of                                                               
the trucking  company or  the driver  of the  truck, the  onus of                                                               
complying  with the  law is  on both  of them.   The  controversy                                                               
boils  down to  who, ultimately,  is responsible  for paying  the                                                               
fine, and  by reducing that  fine, then,  the company that  is in                                                               
violation  would  not  be  paying  as  much.    So  although  her                                                               
organization represents  the truckers, the incentive  provided by                                                               
the increased  rates should  ensure that  everyone abides  by the                                                               
law.   To address a concern  she'd heard in a  previous committee                                                               
that  an individual  trucker wouldn't  know how  much weight  was                                                               
being loaded onto  his/her truck, she opined  that a responsible,                                                               
experienced truck driver  knows how much weight  his/her truck is                                                               
built to  carry and knows  how to determine, within  a reasonable                                                               
margin of error, whether he/she is overloaded.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA asked whether  drivers are pressured to carry                                                               
overweight loads  or whether a  driver always has the  freedom to                                                               
refuse to drive an overweight vehicle.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HUFF  TUCKNESS relayed  that  that  concern could  apply  in                                                               
certain  areas, such  as the  Anchorage area  or the  Eagle River                                                               
area, that  in certain areas  perhaps there is the  potential for                                                               
drivers to be encouraged to run overweight.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:43:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL   FUHS,  Lobbyist   for  Horizon   Lines   of  Alaska,   LLC                                                               
("Horizon"),  after  noting  that   Horizon  is  responsible  for                                                               
transporting about  40 percent  of the goods  that come  into the                                                               
state, said that he was glad to  see that HB 266 received a House                                                               
Judiciary  Standing Committee  referral,  since this  committee's                                                               
focus  is on  the enforcement  aspects of  laws and  the fairness                                                               
with which they are applied.  He went on to say:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The  overweight  laws  for Alaska  were  passed  for  a                                                                    
     reason.  The  first was to protect our  roads. ... When                                                                    
     a  truck is  overweight, it  pushes  up a  big wave  in                                                                    
     front of  those tires, and that's  what actually cracks                                                                    
     the road  - the groves you  see in the road  are caused                                                                    
     by  studs, that's  not by  overweight trucks;  ... when                                                                    
     that wave pushes  the pavement up enough that  it has a                                                                    
     crack  in  it  and   water  gets  underneath  and  then                                                                    
     freezes, that's what breaks up  our roads.  You can run                                                                    
     with  an overweight  truck,  but you  have  to [get]  a                                                                    
     permit,  and a  number one  condition of  an overweight                                                                    
     permit is  that you drive  slower to reduce  the amount                                                                    
     of damage to the road.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     So it's  costing the state  ..., having to  replace the                                                                    
     roads sooner  than they normally  would, and  it's also                                                                    
     [a]  public  safety  issue  for  us  in  the  container                                                                    
     industry.   Our containers  are rated  - the  bottom of                                                                    
     them ...  - to  carry a certain  capacity.   If they're                                                                    
     overloaded, the  bottom of the container  can break out                                                                    
     and  spill  the  cargo onto  the  longshoreman  working                                                                    
     underneath,  and we  actually  had this  happen out  in                                                                    
     Dutch Harbor.   As  a matter of  fairness, and  I think                                                                    
     some of  the issues were  raised as far as  the drivers                                                                    
     ... picking up  a load that's overweight, we  feel as a                                                                    
     business-fairness  issue there  [that]  our company  is                                                                    
     dedicated to  running legal operations within  the laws                                                                    
     of  the State  of  Alaska, and  we  believe that  other                                                                    
     carriers should be required to do the same.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     And  unfortunately we  have a  situation now  where the                                                                    
     fine structure  for overweight [vehicles] is  less than                                                                    
     what you would make if [you]  got paid to carry the ...                                                                    
     extra weight.  So ... it's  a fine to you, but it's not                                                                    
     as much as  you're getting paid, so it's  not really an                                                                    
     efficient  deterrent to  running overweight,  as it  is                                                                    
     right  now.   And  we have  actually  lost business  by                                                                    
     refusing to  carry overweight cargo and  telling people                                                                    
     we  wouldn't do  it,  and they  actually found  another                                                                    
     carrier to carry their cargo.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     On the issue of the "lower  end," ... I wouldn't say do                                                                    
     away with  the increase  on the  bottom end,  but maybe                                                                    
     make  it  graduated ...,  because  in  those areas  you                                                                    
     could make  an honest  mistake of  being just  a little                                                                    
     bit over.   You get over 8,000 pounds,  [then] that has                                                                    
     to  be willful  and intentional.   The  other thing  is                                                                    
     that  the penalty  did remain  on the  driver, and  the                                                                    
     reason for  that is  that it's  a criminal  penalty and                                                                    
     it's very  easy for the  department to give  a criminal                                                                    
     ticket.  ... The  driver, most  times,  has no  control                                                                    
     over the load.  They  say, "Here's your load," it's got                                                                    
     a seal  on the container ...,  and you just pick  it up                                                                    
     and you go with it.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Well, to  try to  do a  civil fine  to the  person that                                                                    
     overloaded the  container would take  too much  time in                                                                    
     the courts and  the fiscal note would  have been large.                                                                    
     So that was a compromise:   leave it a criminal penalty                                                                    
     to  the driver.   The  law does  address, however,  the                                                                    
     issue, then,  [that] if the  driver is not at  fault it                                                                    
     shouldn't affect his insurance rates.   And in terms of                                                                    
     the  pattern, [Mr.  Thompson]  is  correct about  that,                                                                    
     that's to  try to get  at the habitual person  who just                                                                    
     kind  of accepts  it as  a cost  of doing  business and                                                                    
     [says], "I'm going to run overweight anyway."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. FUHS then  drew attention to the language on  page 3, line 1,                                                               
language  that Horizon  specifically  asked for  and which  makes                                                               
reference  to  a federal  law  -  the Intermodal  Safe  Container                                                               
Transportation Act of  1992 - that addresses  situations in which                                                               
somebody  certifies  on the  bill  of  lading that  cargo  weighs                                                               
20,000 pounds, for example, when in  fact it weighs 30,000 and so                                                               
the  documentation  has  been   intentionally  falsified.    Such                                                               
instances are a violation of federal  law, and under HB 266, if a                                                               
carrier or  driver has  violated that federal  law three  or more                                                               
times, the department can also go  after the shipper - the entity                                                               
who  actually  loaded  the  container  -  because  a  pattern  of                                                               
violation has  been demonstrated.   In  conclusion, he  said that                                                               
Horizon  urges the  committee to  move the  bill on  to the  next                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:47:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NONA  WILSON, Legislative  Liaison, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department of Transportation &  Public Facilities (DOT&PF), noted                                                               
that  with some  companies, the  fines as  they exist  today have                                                               
simply  been absorbed  as part  of  the cost  of doing  business,                                                               
particularly given what a company  can get paid for overloading a                                                               
vehicle.    She  pointed  out  that   some  would  say  it  is  a                                                               
questionable practice  to compromise  safety as  a cost  of doing                                                               
business, and offered  a personal example wherein  her mother was                                                               
hit by an overweight vehicle -  her mother's car never came home.                                                               
And  while  some companies  can  afford  to  pay the  fines,  she                                                               
remarked,  the  state  cannot  afford   to  pay  the  expense  of                                                               
continually replacing roads.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON said  that although  permits for  overweight vehicles                                                               
are  available, the  drivers  are asked  to  drive slower,  which                                                               
won't get them  to their destinations on time.   She relayed that                                                               
the DOT&PF is asking  for the bill to be left  as is, and pointed                                                               
out that the average violations  occurring in 2004 were for being                                                               
overweight between  1,000 and  8,000 pounds.   This  is something                                                               
that neither  citizens nor the  state can afford;  the department                                                               
will have to keep coming back  to the legislature for more funds,                                                               
and meanwhile  everyone will still  be driving on  damaged roads.                                                               
The issue is one of safety,  both in terms of overweight vehicles                                                               
sharing the road  with other drivers and in terms  of the quality                                                               
of Alaska's roads.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:50:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  asked how  difficult  it  is to  get  an                                                               
overweight permit.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON   offered  her   understanding  that   such  permits,                                                               
particularly those  pertaining to short distances,  can be gotten                                                               
a day after applying for one.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL said  he's heard  criticism that  getting                                                               
such permits  takes too  long and  that it  takes longer  than it                                                               
used to.   He said he's  also heard that the  weight distribution                                                               
for motor  homes is  far worse than  it is for  trucks and  yet a                                                               
fine structure for motor homes is nonexistent.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON suggested that Mr.  Thompson could better address that                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON,  on the issue  of overweight permits,  relayed that                                                               
typically a permit can be issued  the same day it is applied for,                                                               
and  that although  the department  did have  a permit  office in                                                               
Fairbanks  for a  number  of years,  technology  has allowed  the                                                               
department  to  provide  better   service  by  consolidating  its                                                               
offices.    With   regard  to  the  issue  of   motor  homes,  he                                                               
acknowledged that they are not  something that the department has                                                               
been  focusing on;  the department's  focus has  instead been  on                                                               
commercial vehicles.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL opined that  commercial trucking is one of                                                               
the reasons  for having roads as  well as one of  the reasons for                                                               
the costs  associated with  having roads.   He remarked  that the                                                               
bill proposes some pretty narrow  margins, and asked whether snow                                                               
accumulation during a  run could result in  an overweight problem                                                               
for the driver.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON explained  that although  drivers can  accumulate a                                                               
lot   of  weight   due   to   weather  conditions,   departmental                                                               
regulations  have  provisions  regarding  snow  and  ice  and  so                                                               
accommodations  are made  for such  situations.   There are  also                                                               
accommodations  made in  recognition of  the fact  that different                                                               
scales  may  be  set  differently.   He  mentioned  that  federal                                                               
oversight must also be kept in mind.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:55:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS  opined that there  are two problems  associated with                                                               
overweight vehicles  - weight  and speed -  and pointed  out that                                                               
motor homes  do not drive nearly  as fast as carriers,  which are                                                               
the ones hauling weights in excess of 30,000 pounds overweight.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said  he  agrees with  that  point,  but                                                               
remarked that he  knows how easy it  is to end up  being a couple                                                               
of thousand  pound overweight.  On  the issue of speed,  he asked                                                               
whether the intention  is to either post  signage regarding speed                                                               
or limit speed during certain times.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS  said the  only time  a driver  would be  required to                                                               
drive  a certain  speed  would  be when  he/she  has obtained  an                                                               
overweight permit.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL opined that  speed restrictions would have                                                               
a huge impact on the industry.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS indicated  that the sponsor would be  willing to look                                                               
at any proposed amendments on that issue.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE, after  ascertaining that  no one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 266.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:58:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON,  noting that  he  wished  to amend  it,                                                               
turned attention  to Amendment  1, which,  in its  unamended form                                                               
read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2    Delete Lines 6 - 12                                                                                              
               Renumber subsections                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  made a motion  to adopt Amendment  1, as                                                               
amended to read:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2    Delete Lines 6 - 10                                                                                              
               Renumber subsections                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM objected.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  asked  Representative Anderson  whether  he                                                               
thinks  a truck  that's  driving three  tons  overweight isn't  a                                                               
safety consideration.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON   pointed  out  that  Amendment   1,  as                                                               
amended,  is merely  eliminating the  proposed increase  in fines                                                               
for  trucks  driving  up  to  6,000  pound  overweight,  not  the                                                               
existing fines for those trucks.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  clarified that he is  asking whether driving                                                               
6,000 pounds overweight is enough  of a safety consideration that                                                               
updating  the   current  fee  structure   for  those   trucks  is                                                               
justified.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON opined that it isn't.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL asked  what  the average  payload of  "an                                                               
eighteen wheeler" is.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL said the payload is  determinate on the type of vehicle,                                                               
adding that the average gross  vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is in                                                               
the neighborhood of between 80,000 and 120,000 pounds.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  surmised that a "payload"  would be about                                                               
"half of that."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL concurred.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:01:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A  roll  call  vote  was taken.    Representatives  Anderson  and                                                               
Coghill   voted   in   favor   of  Amendment   1,   as   amended.                                                               
Representatives  McGuire, Kott,  Dahlstrom,  Gruenberg, and  Gara                                                               
voted against it.  Therefore,  Amendment 1, as amended, failed by                                                               
a vote of 2-5.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:02:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   asked  what   the  reference   to  AS                                                               
12.55.035(c)(1)(D) pertains to.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
VANESSA  TONDINI, Staff  to Representative  Lesil McGuire,  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing  Committee, Alaska State  Legislature, offered                                                               
her understanding that  it pertains to the  current criminal fine                                                               
structure.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON remarked, "That defines the violation."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG turned attention to  Sections 4 and 6 of                                                               
the bill, and  offered his understanding that  Section 4 proposes                                                               
to  change  what  he  termed  a substantive  rule  and  so  would                                                               
therefore not require a two-thirds vote.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  made  a  motion  to  adopt  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 2,  which would be  conditional such that if  Rule 43.6                                                               
of the Alaska  Rules of Administration is not  a procedural rule,                                                               
that Section 6 be deleted.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  clarified that  Conceptual Amendment  2, if  it is                                                               
adopted  by  the committee,  would  take  effect if  [Legislative                                                               
Legal and  Research Services] determines that  changing Rule 43.6                                                               
does not require a two-thirds vote.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:05:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA asked what would  happen if the response from                                                               
Legislative Legal and Research Services is not definitive.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he  wants Conceptual Amendment 2 to                                                               
only take effect if [Legislative  Legal and Research Services] is                                                               
100 percent sure that a two-thirds vote will not be required.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS indicated  that he would be amenable  to leaving that                                                               
determination up to Legislative Legal and Research Services.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said,  "My  motion is,  'Let's go  with                                                               
whatever they recommend'; let's call it to their attention."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  indicated that he is  reluctant to adopt                                                               
a  conditional  amendment,  adding   that  he  would  rather  the                                                               
research be  done before the bill  is heard in the  House Finance                                                               
Committee, which could then perhaps amend the bill.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  indicated that he would  be comfortable                                                               
with that.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE concurred.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG withdrew Conceptual Amendment 2.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:06:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM moved  to report  CSHB 266(TRA)  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  266(TRA)  was                                                               
reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:07:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The House Judiciary Standing Committee  was recessed at 3:07 p.m.                                                               
to a call of the chair.  [The meeting was never reconvened.]                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects