Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/03/1994 03:00 PM House L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE AND SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE                             
                       STANDING COMMITTEES                                     
                          JOINT MEETING                                        
                          March 3, 1994                                        
                            3:00 p.m.                                          
  HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT                                                        
  Rep. Bill Hudson, Chairman                                                   
  Rep. Joe Green, Vice Chair                                                   
  Rep. Eldon Mulder                                                            
  Rep. Bill Williams                                                           
  Rep. Joe Sitton                                                              
  Rep. Brian Porter                                                            
  HOUSE MEMBERS ABSENT                                                         
  Rep. Jerry Mackie                                                            
  SENATE MEMBERS PRESENT                                                       
  Sen. Steve Rieger                                                            
  Sen. Judith E. Salo                                                          
  SENATE MEMBERS ABSENT                                                        
  Sen. Tim Kelly, Chairman                                                     
  Sen. Steve Rieger, Vice-Chairman                                             
  Sen. Bert Sharp                                                              
  Sen. Georgianna Lincoln                                                      
  OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                    
  Rep. Gary Davis                                                              
  Rep. Carl E. Moses                                                           
  Rep. Tom Brice                                                               
  Rep. Jeannette JAmes                                                         
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  HSCR 3:   Disapproving Executive Order No. 89.                               
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
  *HB 295:  "An Act relating to a citizens' utility board; and                 
            amending Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 24."                       
            HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE                                        
  *HB 509   "An Act relating to the tax on transfers or                        
            consumption of motor fuel, and to the proceeds                     
            from the tax; and providing for an effective                       
            NOT HEARD                                                          
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  REP. GAIL PHILLIPS                                                           
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 465-4931                                                       
  Position Statement:  Prime Sponsor of HSCR 3                                 
  JACK SLAMA                                                                   
  Teamster's Union                                                             
  PO Box 102092                                                                
  Phone:  (907) 269-4101                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in opposition to EO 89                        
  HELVI K. SANDVIK, Deputy Commissioner                                        
  Department of Transportation                                                 
  3132 Channel Drive                                                           
  Juneau, Alaska  99801-7898                                                   
  Phone:  (907) 465-6973                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in opposition to HSCR 3                       
  ROBERT EAKMAN                                                                
  Alaska Independent Trucking Association                                      
  200 W. 34th, Suite 863                                                       
  Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                     
  Phone:  Not available                                                        
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HSCR 3                            
                       (testified via teleconference)                          
  PAUL FUHS, Commissioner                                                      
  Department of Commerce and Economic Development                              
  P.O. Box 110800                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska  99811-0800                                                   
  Phone:  (907) 465-2500                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of EO 89                           
  REP. KAY BROWN                                                               
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 465-4998                                                       
  Position Statement:  Prime Sponsor of HB 295                                 
  STEVE CONN, Executive Director                                               
  Alaska Public Interest Research Group                                        
  601 W. 18th Avenue                                                           
  Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 258-5523                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 295                          
  BOB JENKS, Executive Director                                                
  Oregon Citizen's Utility                                                     
  (address not given)                                                          
  Phone: (503) 227-1984                                                        
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 295                            
                       (testified via teleconference)                          
  PHYLLIS TURNER, Director                                                     
  Citizen's Utility Board Organizing Project                                   
  (address not given)                                                          
  Washington, D.C.                                                             
  Phone:  (202) 387-8030                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 295                            
                      (testified via teleconference)                           
  THOMAS C. WILLIAMS, Director                                                 
  Permanent Fund Dividend Division                                             
  Department of Revenue                                                        
  P.O. Box 110460                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-0460                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-2323                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 295, with                      
  MARK FOSTER                                                                  
  611 Gold St., Unit D                                                         
  Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 586-2827                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 295                            
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HSCR 3                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: DISAPPROVING EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 89                             
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PHILLIPS,Vezey,G.Davis,Barnes,                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  02/02/94      2217    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  02/02/94      2217    (H)   RULES                                            
  02/28/94      2549    (H)   SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE                               
  02/28/94      2550    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE                                 
  03/02/94      2588    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  FINKELSTEIN                       
  03/03/94              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 124                      
  03/03/94              (S)   L&C AT 03:30 PM                                  
  BILL:  HB 295                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: CREATE CITIZENS' UTILITY BOARD, INC.                            
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BROWN,B.Davis,Sitton,Nordlund,                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  04/26/93      1529    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  04/26/93      1529    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE, STATE AFFAIRS,                 
  02/28/94              (S)   RES AT 03:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM                   
  03/03/94              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 124                      
  BILL:  HB 509                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: INCREASE MOTOR FUEL TAX                                         
  SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  02/18/94      2458    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  02/18/94      2458    (H)   L&C, STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                      
  02/18/94      2458    (H)   -FISCAL NOTE (REV) 2/18/94                       
  02/18/94      2458    (H)   -2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DEC, DOT)                  
  02/18/94      2458    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                    
  03/03/94              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 124                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 94-18, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON called the meeting to order at 3:13 p.m.,                    
  stated there was a quorum present, and announced the                         
  calendar.  He said the committee would be joined by the                      
  Senate to address the Sponsor Substitute for House Special                   
  Concurrent Resolution Number 3 (SSHSCR 3), and the committee                 
  would then hear HB 295, followed by HB 509.                                  
  HSCR 3 - DISAPPROVING EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 89                                 
  Number 019                                                                   
  REP. GAIL PHILLIPS, Prime Sponsor of HSCR 3, read the                        
  following sponsor statement:                                                 
  "Executive Order 89 by Governor Hickel recommends that                       
  Weights and Measures (W&M) be transferred from the                           
  Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED) to                    
  the Department of Transportation (DOT).  After reviewing                     
  this Order, the House Transportation's Weights and Measures                  
  Subcommittee failed to find sufficient reasoning for this                    
  transfer.  House Special Concurrent Resolution 3 disapproves                 
  of the transfer and reflects the findings of the W&M                         
  "Hearings held in the fall of 1993 by the Weights and                        
  Measures Subcommittee found that some regulations were not                   
  being properly enforced, but these problems were mostly due                  
  to a lack of enforcement by the Department of Public Safety                  
  (Alaska State Troopers).  Most of these problems have since                  
  been corrected, but at no time during these hearings was any                 
  criticism directed at DCED.                                                  
  "What the Subcommittee did find was that W&M has been                        
  consistently underfunded by the legislature.  Due to this                    
  underfunding W&M has not had the weigh stations as often as                  
  desired.  This situation will only be changed when the                       
  legislature appropriates more funds to W&M, not by                           
  transferring it to DOT.                                                      
  "Finally, we have been told that the State is in a position                  
  to lose $20 million in federal funding if W&M is not                         
  transferred to DOT.  This is not true.  In your packets you                  
  will find a copy of the FHWA Office of Motor Carrier                         
  evaluation report.  After reviewing this report carefully I                  
  could not find any real concerns or major problems in our                    
  state's size and weight enforcement program.  I reviewed the                 
  information provided on Oregon and Idaho's trucking                          
  enforcement programs and I feel that Alaska's program better                 
  complies with federal standards.  It is important to note                    
  that it is rare that any state meets all of the requirements                 
  set out by US DOT.  According to Mr. Max Piper, Director,                    
  Office of Motor Carrier in Washington, D.C., our W&M program                 
  has been approved by the US DOT.  He stated that Alaska is                   
  NOT in any danger of losing any ISTEA funding.  He also went                 
  on to say that Alaska complies to federal standards better                   
  than most other states.  I feel the information provided to                  
  you will back up this statement.  I do not see any need or                   
  reason to transfer this program to DOT.  HSCR 3 will keep                    
  W&M under the supervision of DCED where it continues to work                 
  efficiently and up to federal requirements."                                 
  Number 054                                                                   
  REP. WILLIAMS asked Chairman Hudson to explain the                           
  memorandum from Rep. Carl Moses, Chairman of the House Rules                 
  Number 057                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON said Rep. Moses indicated that this joint                    
  hearing was in violation of the House rules.  He said the                    
  Legislative Affairs Agency provided a legal interpretation                   
  on this matter, and he read a memorandum received from                       
  Tamara Brandt Cook.  (The 2/11/94 memorandum is available in                 
  the committee file.)  Chairman Hudson pointed out that there                 
  was a serious difference of opinion.  He then read paragraph                 
  (3) of Rep. Moses's memorandum:  "The violation of Rule                      
  21(b) is that a joint committee has not been formed by means                 
  of the adoption of a concurrent resolution.  The Rule reads                  
  in part:  `A joint committee may be established only by the                  
  adoption of a concurrent resolution.'  There has been no                     
  such resolution introduced to date."  (The 3/3/94 memorandum                 
  is available in the committee file.)  Chairman Hudson said                   
  he brought the two differing opinions before the leadership                  
  of the House.  He said since he believed the committee was                   
  on solid ground he would proceed with the meeting.                           
  Number 115                                                                   
  JACK SLAMA, Teamster's Union, testified in opposition to                     
  Executive Order 89.  He said, evidently, truckers are not                    
  represented in this issue, and it is not because they are                    
  apathetic.  He said he spoke with a trucker, one of the                      
  largest in the state, who said concerning the bureaucracy he                 
  "was tired of being treated like a dog."  He said this is                    
  not a union issue; trucking is a viable industry, employing                  
  a tremendous amount of people who often make good wages and                  
  have good benefits.  Mr. Slama said there needs to be a                      
  process whereby the state can be an advocate of the trucking                 
  industry.  He mentioned that Commissioner Campbell is smart,                 
  nice, powerful, and influential and is also part of the                      
  explanation for the trucking industry's minimal                              
  representation.  He pointed out that prior administrations                   
  have not always supported this industry.  In addition to                     
  this, the trucking industry competes with the Alaska                         
  Railroad, and in many cases the railroad dictates what                       
  truckers are going to be paid.  He said the DOT is seeking                   
  to have more control, and there needs to be a system of                      
  checks and balances.  He said the enforcement factor is                      
  protection for truckers in a totally deregulated industry.                   
  He said nothing short of enforcement will offer protection                   
  in this arena of deregulation.  He asked that instead of                     
  putting a little fix on a big problem, a task force of                       
  industry peers be put together.  He said that this                           
  administration has been "poor listeners."  He said his                       
  attempt is to make better listeners out of Commissioner                      
  Campbell, the DOT, and hopefully the governor.                               
  Number 206                                                                   
  REP. MULDER stated his appreciation of Mr. Slama's                           
  attendance at the meeting.  He said that as part of the                      
  budget subcommittee Rep. Phillips mentioned previously, it                   
  was enlightening to hear the truckers' position on                           
  enforcement.  He asked Mr. Slama to highlight the                            
  perspective of teamsters and truckers on enforcement.                        
  MR. SLAMA said it is not a contradiction of terms for the                    
  trucking industry to be in favor of enforcement.  He                         
  explained that the legitimate carriers comply with rules,                    
  federal regulations, and ensure proper maintenance of                        
  equipment.  He said there is a problem with operators who                    
  are not in compliance because they know how to get around                    
  the system.  He affirmed that complying with regulations                     
  costs money and the person who does not comply could care                    
  less about enforcement.                                                      
  REP. MULDER referred to an insinuation that truckers would                   
  prefer dealing with DCED because there is a lack of                          
  enforcement in commerce.  He pointed out that responsible                    
  truckers want adequate enforcement because it encourages a                   
  level playing field.  He then asked if the truckers'                         
  position was in favor of this function being transferred to                  
  the DOT.                                                                     
  Number 241                                                                   
  MR. SLAMA said he did not believe the truckers wanted a                      
  transfer because they did not have confidence in the                         
  political system and transferring this to the DOT would make                 
  it more political than it is today.  He said he sees this as                 
  a conflict of interest because both the DOT commissioner and                 
  Commissioner Fuhs sit on the board of the railroad.                          
  Number 257                                                                   
  (CHAIRMAN HUDSON noted that SEN. STEVE RIEGER and SEN.                       
  JUDITH SALO from the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee                     
  were at the meeting.)                                                        
  Number 261                                                                   
  SEN. STEVE RIEGER pointed out that the Senate Labor and                      
  Commerce Committee had previously heard Executive Order 89,                  
  although they had not heard HSCR 3.                                          
  Number 268                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON mentioned this was his first involvement                     
  with a joint meeting of this nature.  Chairman Hudson asked                  
  Mr. Slama to summarize his position on Executive Order 89                    
  and on HSCR 3.                                                               
  Number 283                                                                   
  MR. SLAMA reiterated that he was asking the state to be an                   
  advocate of the trucking industry; he asked that W&M not be                  
  transferred from the DCED to the DOT.  He said the                           
  administration needs to commit to funding W&M and needs to                   
  incorporate participation from people who are working within                 
  the industry.  He concluded his comments by repeating that                   
  people need to be better listeners.                                          
  Number 294                                                                   
  REP. WILLIAMS referred to Mr. Slama's earlier comment and                    
  said he hoped it was not the case that truckers were being                   
  treated unfairly.  He asked for further clarification on Mr.                 
  Slama's reference to the commissioners both sitting on the                   
  board of the Alaska Railroad.                                                
  MR. SLAMA explained that the railroad is a direct competitor                 
  of the trucking industry and therein lies a conflict of                      
  interest.  He asserted that in the past the trucking                         
  industry's complaints, requests for assistance, and requests                 
  for additional funding for compliance have "fallen on deaf                   
  ears."  He acknowledged that the trucking industry is not                    
  the most polished, professional organization.  He said it                    
  was his belief that one should not serve the administration                  
  and also sit on the board of directors of the Alaska                         
  REP. WILLIAMS agreed that the Alaska Railroad is in                          
  competition with truckers.  He said he did not believe the                   
  state or any government should compete with private                          
  Number 336                                                                   
  HELVI SANDVIK, Deputy Commissioner, Department of                            
  Transportation, apologized for Commissioner Campbell's                       
  inability to attend the meeting.  She said he would be                       
  accessible by telephone at approximately 4:00 p.m. to answer                 
  questions.  She said the real reason for Executive Order 89                  
  is not to determine whether the program is being run                         
  properly by the DCED, but rather, regardless of who is                       
  running it, to acknowledge that improvements need to be made                 
  because the issue is deterioration of the highway system.                    
  She said the state is responsible for maintaining and                        
  operating the highways and the DOT is the agency that is                     
  directly responsible for that.  She explained that the DOT                   
  has been working closely with the DCED as well as the                        
  Department of Public Safety (DPS).  She acknowledged that                    
  the program was not perfect, "but was in pretty good shape."                 
  She noted that it was important to improve upon the                          
  enforcement of W&M.                                                          
  MS. SANDVIK said the issue is a matter of efficiency.  She                   
  mentioned that each of the three agencies is responsible for                 
  a particular element.  She said the DCED, responsible for                    
  permitting, frequently contacts the DOT to establish the                     
  stipulations and criteria under which permits will be                        
  issued.  She explained that this process could be handled                    
  more efficiently within a single agency.  She said the                       
  bottom line is that the DCED is not able to catch the                        
  perpetrators, therefore, enforcement is inefficient.  She                    
  said data collected from the weigh-in-motion system, a                       
  program the DOT is responsible for, is compared to data                      
  collected by the DCED to determine the effectiveness of the                  
  enforcement program.  The preliminary results of the weigh-                  
  in-motion system is that identification of oversize vehicles                 
  at fixed stations has been problematic.  She said the third                  
  area is the DPS's utilization of jump scales.  She repeated                  
  that the DPS has been underfunded in this area.  She                         
  restated that this was not an issue of DOT versus DCED, but                  
  was an issue of the most effective and efficient management                  
  of the problem.  She asserted that effective management                      
  would involve consolidation of the permitting and                            
  enforcement operations.                                                      
  MS. SANDVIK commented on Mr. Slama's testimony and said she                  
  was unsure of specific problems involved with transferring                   
  this function to the DOT.  She did not think this was an                     
  issue of the DOT wanting more power and she repeated her                     
  point that the DOT, as the agency directly responsible for                   
  the deterioration of the highways, should deal with the                      
  people driving the overload or oversize vehicles.  She                       
  responded to the concern for increased administrative costs                  
  and said there was a zero fiscal note on this item.  She                     
  explained that the intent would not be to lay off DCED                       
  employees, as they would be transferred to the DOT.  She                     
  said the DOT would be coordinating the programs and                          
  therefore transferring people, not eliminating them.                         
  REP. GREEN asked whether problems with the weigh-in-motion                   
  system were due to the scales being closed or due to a                       
  conflict between what the scales reported and what the                       
  weigh-in-motion systems were indicating.                                     
  MS. SANDVIK replied that the problems were caused by both.                   
  She said that the number of reported vehicles going through                  
  the scale houses, compared to the data collected by weigh-                   
  in-motion, indicated that not as many vehicles were                          
  identified at the fixed scale houses.  She said perhaps the                  
  scales were closed, or possibly the scales were not picking                  
  up the problems that the weigh-in-motion systems were                        
  picking up.                                                                  
  Number 465                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked for further clarification about the                         
  mechanics of the system.                                                     
  Number 470                                                                   
  MS. SANDVIK explained that when a vehicle runs over the                      
  computerized system, it measures the speed, calculates the                   
  distance between axles, and measures the weight of the                       
  vehicle.  She said this information is put into a                            
  computerized data base which is generated and collected by                   
  the DOT.                                                                     
  Number 480                                                                   
  REP. GREEN alluded to the assertion that the DCED had                        
  insufficient personnel to keep the scales open long enough                   
  while the DOT had access to sufficient personnel.  He asked                  
  if more dollars would be expended for longer scale time.                     
  Number 490                                                                   
  MS. SANDVIK responded that staffing would not necessarily be                 
  increased, but there would be closer coordination between                    
  weigh-in-motion personnel and people directly working the                    
  scale houses.  She referred to personnel and funding                         
  resources, and said the DOT currently has more flexibility                   
  than the DCED.                                                               
  Number 502                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked her to comment on Mr. Slama's determination                 
  that there was a conflict of interest.                                       
  Number 503                                                                   
  MS. SANDVIK said she was not sure where Mr. Slama was coming                 
  from regarding this conflict of interest.  She said although                 
  it was true that Commissioner Campbell as well as                            
  Commissioner Fuhs sat on the board of the Alaska Railroad,                   
  it seemed clear that Commissioner Campbell's focus was on                    
  the condition of Alaska's highways.  She said any                            
  improvements or enforcement action necessary to manage                       
  oversize loads on trucks would relate directly to his                        
  concern for highway conditions; moreover, from her                           
  understanding, this had nothing to do with the Alaska                        
  Number 509                                                                   
  (Chairman Hudson acknowledged that REP. GARY DAVIS and                       
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER C.E. SWACKHAMMER were in the audience.                   
  He excused Sen. Steve Rieger from the meeting.)                              
  REP. MULDER commented that Rep. Green's questions about                      
  weigh-in-motion were "smack on the target."  He said there                   
  was some misunderstanding "about this whole justification."                  
  He said, according to DOT's commissioner, there is a 12                      
  percent margin of error.  He explained that with a 38                        
  thousand pound limit, and a 12 percent margin of error,                      
  there is a four thousand pound margin of error either way,                   
  which is eight thousand pounds.  Rep. Mulder pointed out                     
  that the scale houses and weigh-in-motion devices are                        
  stationery, while the biggest offenders of the system are                    
  actually running between locations.  He said the way to                      
  catch offenders is through DPS's enforcement on the roads;                   
  therefore, transferring W&M to Commerce would not help the                   
  situation, but DPS enforcement could make a difference.                      
  Rep. Mulder then commented on the irony of Commissioner                      
  Campbell's absence from the meeting.                                         
  TAPE 94-18, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  REP. MULDER continued by saying the justification for the                    
  transfer was that the DOT would otherwise lose $20 million.                  
  He asked Ms. Sandvik if this same justification was used in                  
  the past.                                                                    
  Number 009                                                                   
  MS. SANDVIK replied that she was unaware if this was used                    
  but stated that the potential exists for the Federal Highway                 
  Administration to subject the DOT to a 10 percent sanction                   
  if the DOT had an insufficient enforcement program.  She                     
  observed that although the potential exists, she did not                     
  believe this enforcement action was imminent.                                
  Number 017                                                                   
  REP. MULDER said Ms. Sandvik was correct and reminded the                    
  committee that when this issue was brought up at the start                   
  of session, Commissioner Campbell said that if the transfer                  
  did not occur, the DOT would be out of compliance and $20                    
  million would be lost.  He referred to a letter from the                     
  commissioner, and refuted it based on information he                         
  received from the Federal Highway Administration in Juneau,                  
  the regional office in Portland, and the federal office in                   
  Washington, D.C.  Rep. Mulder said he was told that W&M of                   
  Alaska not only met federal guidelines, but was doing better                 
  than most states.  He suggested that the current problem was                 
  not actual, but perceptual, and he reminded the committee                    
  that the DOT's argument had changed from that of losing $20                  
  million to an argument for increased efficiency.  He                         
  disagreed with this assertion and pointed out that if more                   
  general fund dollars were allocated to the weigh stations,                   
  they would be open longer, and this would hold true even if                  
  under DOT management.  He concurred with Mr. Slama that the                  
  DOT wants consolidation and power, and is, in effect saying,                 
  "Trust me, give me more power, let me set all the rules and                  
  all the enforcement mechanisms, and I will be fair, and I                    
  will also be efficient."  He concluded by saying he opposed                  
  the transfer because he did not think this was a proper                      
  course of action, and furthermore a proper check and balance                 
  system is currently in existence.                                            
  REP. GREEN inquired into utilizing the information from                      
  weigh-in-motion to adjust the time frames for the scales to                  
  be open.  He asked if there had been any suggestion to                       
  change the hours so that, for example, the scales would be                   
  open at one o'clock a.m. rather than during mid-day.                         
  MS. SANDVIK said yes, the weigh-in-motion program was                        
  intended to complement the fixed scale program.  She said                    
  the full weigh-in-motion program was planned to be operative                 
  as of 1996.  She restated that the DCED had limitations,                     
  whereas the DOT felt they had access to other resources                      
  should a significant problem become apparent.                                
  Number 071                                                                   
  REP. GREEN said he had difficulty with what was just said.                   
  He wondered why one organization would do a better job of                    
  enforcement than another given that the DPS would still be                   
  involved with enforcement.  He also asked if the weigh-in-                   
  motion data, even with a discrepancy, could be useful in                     
  determining patterns.                                                        
  Number 082                                                                   
  MS. SANDVIK restated that the difference between the                         
  organizations was the ability to devote resources to the                     
  problem.  She pointed out that the DPS was not the sole                      
  entity responsible for enforcement and that enforcement was                  
  a shared responsibility.  She said presumably the DOT, the                   
  DCED or the DPS could issue citations.                                       
  Number 094                                                                   
  REP. GREEN said he would not belabor the point, but he had                   
  not as yet found a reason for transferring this function.                    
  Number 095                                                                   
  MS. SANDVIK said she must not have clearly articulated the                   
  DOT's problem of being directly responsible for maintaining,                 
  operating, and developing the highway structure, and yet                     
  having to rely on another agency.  She said the other agency                 
  has its own issues and this particular problem was not its                   
  primary focus.  She added that while it was true that the                    
  DOT has more to focus on than enforcement, it was also true                  
  that this program is very significant to DOT.  She said a                    
  lot of overlap exists and DOT feels more managers are                        
  involved in the enforcement program than is necessary for an                 
  efficiently run operation.                                                   
  Number 110                                                                   
  REP. MULDER asked Ms. Sandvik if she was familiar with an                    
  organization called the Alaska Commercial Truck and                          
  Transportation Advisory Committee.  He said it was a well-                   
  intentioned, informal working group comprised of parties                     
  trying to resolve problems.  He pointed out that the DOT                     
  pulled out of the organization, because it did not see a                     
  viable purpose for the organization.  Rep. Mulder said,                      
  "That is the kind of attitude I am expressing, Mr.                           
  Number 128                                                                   
  (Chairman Hudson indicated that REP. CARL E. MOSES and REP.                  
  TOM BRICE were in the audience.)                                             
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON stated that he wanted to go to the network                   
  at this time.                                                                
  Number 136                                                                   
  ROBERT EAKMAN, Alaska Independent Trucking Association,                      
  testified from Anchorage and referred to a letter dated                      
  1/19/94 which expressed the association's position.  He                      
  noted that considering the funding, W&M has done a                           
  commendable job and transferring them to the DOT would not                   
  be the best move.  He said in reference to the scales being                  
  open, he has a 1/20/94 letter from W&M saying that the weigh                 
  stations were open approximately 38 percent of the time                      
  during the 1993 fiscal year.  He said this was due to a                      
  definite lack of funding.  He said that with the additional                  
  funding for the 1994 fiscal year, W&M intends to operate                     
  selected weigh stations for periods of 24 hours, seven days                  
  per week.  He remarked that he failed to see how                             
  transferring this to the DOT would change the number of                      
  hours in the day.  He said the proposal should be executed                   
  on its merits and should be substantiated by facts.  He                      
  mentioned some benefits of not moving the program                            
  (indiscernible).  He said the truck size, weight enforcement                 
  program, and W&M share managers and administrative personnel                 
  and there will be costs associated with the transfer.  He                    
  said the current program consists of well-trained and well-                  
  managed personnel and the industry has expressed no                          
  dissatisfaction with the conduct of the program, in fact,                    
  just the opposite.  He said the only dissatisfaction has                     
  been with underfunding the program and the enforcement                       
  section.  He said the Federal Highway Administration has                     
  shown concern for truck size and weight enforcement laws,                    
  but has indicated that Alaska is in compliance.  He pointed                  
  out that there are knowledgeable people involved in                          
  measurement and standards with years of experience                           
  pertaining to truck enforcement permit matters.  He noted                    
  that DOT has a number of engineers, but he questions their                   
  knowledge of enforcement.  He concluded his remarks by                       
  saying there are not enough troopers, inspectors, or workers                 
  to handle enforcement and the real problem exists with                       
  enforcement, or the lack of it.                                              
  Number 230                                                                   
  REP. MULDER commented that it would be helpful for the                       
  committee to hear from Commissioner Fuhs.                                    
  Number 238                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER PAUL FUHS, Department of Commerce and Economic                  
  Development, said he hoped no one expected him to argue                      
  against the administration's position and he hoped he could                  
  answer questions.  He said both the governor and Pat Ryan                    
  gave clear instructions to provide strict enforcement of                     
  highway and weight standards.  He said quite a few trucking                  
  companies had approached him because they were concerned                     
  with being undercut.  He said until last year only 38                        
  percent of the time was covered in weigh stations and even                   
  though those times were periodically changed, people were                    
  still getting by.  He said the department asked for                          
  additional funds last year and received $300,000 for the                     
  weigh station program.  He reported that the department                      
  currently provides close to 100 percent coverage of four                     
  areas, at the behest of the Federal Highway Administration.                  
  COMMISSIONER FUHS referred to secondary enforcement and                      
  pointed out that there is not enough coverage in the                         
  commercial vehicle safety instruction program due to a                       
  funding problem.  He said more funds need to be allocated to                 
  DPS, as evidenced by last year's inadequate inspection of                    
  approximately 1,600 out of 44,000 commercial vehicles.  He                   
  said it is completely a matter of funding, not a matter of                   
  commitment or competency.  He also mentioned that the                        
  federal government wants to have programs in communities                     
  such as Valdez and Nome.  He said those communities do not                   
  have adequate funds for these programs so there may be                       
  compliance problems down the road, primarily in the                          
  secondary enforcement program.                                               
  Number 278                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if any fees cover the operating costs                  
  of weigh stations.                                                           
  Number 281                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said fees collected from applications for                  
  oversize or overweight trucks raises about $130,000 per                      
  year.  He said they do not have the statutory authority to                   
  charge fees at weigh stations.                                               
  Number 285                                                                   
  SEN. JUDY SALO asked about money collected from fines.  Upon                 
  confirmation from Commissioner Fuhs that this went to the                    
  general fund, she asked the amount.  Commissioner Fuhs said                  
  he did not know but would check into it.                                     
  Number 291                                                                   
  REP. MULDER said the industry is aware of the situation and                  
  is interested in exploring the option of a self-imposed tax,                 
  or advocating one to the legislature because they recognize                  
  the need for adequate enforcement.  He asked Commissioner                    
  Fuhs if there was any basis for the insinuation that scale                   
  measurements were inaccurate.                                                
  Number 299                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said W&M certifies all scales in Alaska,                   
  including scales used for fish, groceries, gas pumps, or                     
  police radar guns.  He said the weigh scales have to be                      
  certified twice a year.                                                      
  Number 307                                                                   
  REP. JEANNETTE JAMES prefaced her comments by saying she                     
  favors truckers and is supportive of their situation.  She                   
  said most truckers do not intend to violate the law and the                  
  real offenders are the dirt and gravel haulers; she sees                     
  evidence of this on the roads in her district.                               
  Number 321                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said possibly the fines could be increased                 
  for those carrying illegal loads.  He emphasized that in                     
  order for the municipalities to have more people weighing                    
  trucks, there needs to be more funding available to DPS.                     
  Number 325                                                                   
  MR. EAKMAN interjected and said he did not mean to imply, in                 
  his earlier comment, that truckers and dirt haulers were                     
  deliberately avoiding scales because they were overweight.                   
  He meant to point out that they did not go to scales due to                  
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said generally the gravel trucks were not                  
  long-haul trucks.  He explained that there is an attempt to                  
  get the gravel as close to the construction site as possible                 
  without being late.  He agreed that they were not                            
  intentionally avoiding the scales.                                           
  Number 346                                                                   
  REP. JAMES said she knows truckers and she knows there is an                 
  avoidance that occurs.                                                       
  Number 350                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER FUHS replied, "If they are driving on one of                    
  these highways, I will guarantee you that we will stop them                  
  and weigh them, 100 percent coverage."                                       
  Number 351                                                                   
  REP. WILLIAMS asked for more information about the weigh-in-                 
  motion system.                                                               
  Number 355                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said the equipment is not precise enough                   
  to be used for enforcement as it has a 12 percent error                      
  margin.  He said the DCED allows for only 1,000 pounds over                  
  the weight, which is analogous to "getting arrested for                      
  going 55-1/2 m.p.h."                                                         
  Number 365                                                                   
  REP. WILLIAMS asked if the allowance could be considered as                  
  a helpful measure in enforcement.                                            
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said this was possible.  He said the                       
  information was useful to the DOT, but could not be used for                 
  REP. WILLIAMS mentioned that even with the 12 percent margin                 
  of error, W&M was keeping the truckers moving and with this                  
  approximation, they could then be directed to a scale.                       
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said this was true in that it was useful                   
  information in identifying trends and patterns.                              
  REP. WILLIAMS asked if the DCED would use the information.                   
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said they would definitely use it.                         
  Commissioner Fuhs added that he wanted to make it clear that                 
  they support Executive Order 89.                                             
  Number 389                                                                   
  REP. PORTER asked Commissioner Fuhs to confirm that there                    
  was an inadequate number of inspections executed.                            
  Number 390                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER FUHS answered this was correct.  He said the                    
  DCED was required by the Federal Highway Administration to                   
  inspect vehicles for safety considerations.  He reiterated                   
  that this was a matter of inadequate funding.                                
  Number 394                                                                   
  REP. PORTER commented that many jurisdictions refer to the                   
  private sector first and then utilize government inspectors                  
  to inspect the inspections.                                                  
  Number 399                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER FUHS said this may be the case, he did not                      
  know.  He suggested that the people running the weigh                        
  stations could also perform inspections.                                     
  Number 403                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON noted that testimony on HSCR 3 had been                      
  completed.  He referred to the signature sheet and read the                  
  following statement from that document:  "The House Labor                    
  and Commerce Committee and the Senate Labor and Commerce                     
  Committee have met jointly to consider SS For House Special                  
  Concurrent Resolution 3 Disapproving Executive Order No 89.                  
  The House members have taken action to report the resolution                 
  back to the House with individual recommendations.  Senate                   
  members were invited to express their individual                             
  recommendations also."                                                       
  Number 427                                                                   
  REP. MULDER moved SS for HSCR 3 with individual                              
  recommendations and accompanying zero fiscal note.                           
  Number 429                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON hearing no objection, declared it was so                     
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON, after some discussion of the calendar,                      
  directed the committee's attention to HB 295 and noted that                  
  HB 509 would not be addressed.                                               
  HB 295 - CREATE CITIZENS' UTILITY BOARD, INC.                                
  Number 461                                                                   
  REP. KAY BROWN, Prime Sponsor of HB 295, said this bill                      
  would establish a voluntary citizen's utility board (CUB)                    
  for the state that would not cost the state any money.  She                  
  said there used to be a program that funded a consumer                       
  advocate to appear before the Public Utilities Commission                    
  (PUC) and represent the viewpoint of consumers.  She said                    
  that item was cut from the budget several years ago and                      
  there is no longer a consumer voice routinely looking into                   
  matters before the commission and making comments.  She said                 
  this was an important function.  She deferred to the public                  
  who had come to testify before the committee.  She stated                    
  there were two amendments that she would like to see                         
  Number 477                                                                   
  STEVE CONN, Executive Director, Alaska Public Interest                       
  Research Group (AKPIRG), testified in strong support of HB
  295.  He said the bill adds Alaska to the 43 states that                     
  currently have an independent consumer advocate in matters                   
  of utilities.  He said before undertaking this campaign, his                 
  group visited more than 15,000 homes to discuss utility                      
  matters, 3,000 letters of support were received, and in                      
  addition to that, he was overwhelmed and educated by the                     
  telecommunications task force that met last summer at the                    
  behest of Ramona Barnes.  He recalled that Ramona Barnes                     
  spoke of the upcoming change in the relationship between                     
  AT&T and Alascom and she said, "While I am not opposed to                    
  increased competition, I believe that the potential impact                   
  of losing the rate subsidy that Alaskans currently benefit                   
  from is tremendous and therefore deserves a policy review                    
  from the legislature."  He said this topic was tackled in an                 
  extraordinary manner last summer by the task force and there                 
  were many questions that arose.                                              
  MR. CONN said, "All of Alaska awaits the outcome of the                      
  secret negotiations between Alascom and AT&T and there is no                 
  question that whatever the outcome, issues will require                      
  steadfast monitoring by consumers and advocacy, and of                       
  course by the legislature."  He posed questions regarding                    
  nationally averaged rates for interstate and intrastate                      
  calls; regulatory rates reflective of both skilled consumer                  
  advocacy as well as market forces; protection of rural                       
  Alaska; and the provision of broad-banned access and                         
  modified satellite technology pertaining to rural areas.  He                 
  said the answers to these questions will ultimately                          
  determine if Alaska finds itself on the information highway                  
  or, as the New York Times recently indicated, on the                         
  information dirt road.                                                       
  MR. CONN said AKPIRG's examination of the current regulatory                 
  process offered by the Alaska Public Utilities Commission                    
  (APUC) suggests that there is no special legal authority to                  
  reach beyond the record to build up a case for consumers.                    
  He said in formal cases, broad classes of consumers need                     
  legal and technical assistance.  He emphasized that, unlike                  
  previous utility advocates, there is no contemplation of                     
  state subsidy because this would be membership funded.                       
  TAPE 94-19, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  MR. CONN said when consumers are active participants it                      
  appears from the experience of utilities in Oregon,                          
  Illinois, N.Y. and many other places that the commissioners                  
  are not wondering what new information might be brought to                   
  the record.  He mentioned that several out-of-state people                   
  who had worked to establish CUBs had been encouraged to                      
  Number 019                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON interjected and said two such witnesses were                 
  currently on line and out of courtesy, the committee would                   
  hear those witnesses at this time.                                           
  Number 021                                                                   
  BOB JENKS, Executive Director, Oregon Citizen's Utility                      
  Board,  spoke via offnet from Oregon, and said he grew up in                 
  Alaska and was privileged to testify.  He summarized his                     
  written comments, which were available in the packets, and                   
  said this was a way to institutionalize consumer advocacy.                   
  He said when other states, like Oregon, Washington, and                      
  Idaho formed their consumer advocacy programs about a decade                 
  ago, there were two central issues, and those issues are                     
  even more relevant today.  He said the first issue is that                   
  utility matters have become increasingly technical and in                    
  resolving these issues it is critical that the residential                   
  customer and the small business customer have access to                      
  experts on technicalities in these proceedings.  The second                  
  issue was the increased number of special interests                          
  participating in utility hearings.  He explained that as                     
  rates have increased, businesses have found it financially                   
  beneficial to hire attorneys to fight or negotiate the rate                  
  hikes.  He said Oregon CUB is unique in that it was set up                   
  by the legislature.  He explained that Oregon's initiative                   
  stated the following three reasons to form a CUB:  1) To                     
  create an organization to represent consumers, 2) To give                    
  that organization the right to represent rate payers for the                 
  PUC, the courts and the legislature, and 3) It created a                     
  mechanism to allow for consumers to conveniently and easily                  
  join CUB.  He pointed out that they were not trying to                       
  change the PUC process, but to contribute to it by allowing                  
  for the consumer to have a professional and competent                        
  hearing.  He explained that if the Oregon PUC made a                         
  decision which was not grounded in the records, that                         
  decision would be overturned in court.  Therefore, he said,                  
  the CUB helps build that record by submitting evidence which                 
  the PUC legally needs.  He said that in his written                          
  statement there is a quote from the PUC to an Oregon                         
  legislative committee regarding the CUB, and essentially it                  
  says that the CUB has presented thought provoking and                        
  insightful testimony.  He noted that he also included a list                 
  of some of the cases CUB has impacted and the results of                     
  those cases.                                                                 
  MR. CONN explained that since 1987, when the CUB was                         
  created, it has been involved in five utility refunds, the                   
  most recent of which was last October.  He explained the                     
  refund negotiation process between the Oregon CUB and US                     
  West, which resulted in a refund of $11.00 to every                          
  residential customer and $26.00 per line to every business                   
  MR. CONN asserted that consumer representation is critical                   
  because the next few years will determine the shape of the                   
  telecommunications systems for the next thirty years.  He                    
  said there are different models that could be used such as                   
  the state hiring a consumer representative, or like                          
  Washington has done, funding of consumer participation, but                  
  he believes that CUB is the most sensible approach.  He                      
  explained that CUB is directly accountable to citizens who                   
  wish to join it and it is not financed by tax dollars but is                 
  funded by voluntary citizens.  He added that there is very                   
  little risk in forming a CUB because if it is not                            
  successful, consumers would not continue to contributing to                  
  it.  He said his opinion was that it be successful and                       
  Alaskans would see a considerable savings on their utility                   
  Number 127                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked abut the membership fee and the                        
  representation in Oregon.                                                    
  Number 130                                                                   
  MR. JENKS said membership was not a huge percentage of the                   
  total population and was approximately 20,000 members out of                 
  an estimated one million households.  He said by law, the                    
  individual membership fee was set at a minimum of $5.00 and                  
  could not exceed $100.00.  He stated that the average                        
  contribution received was about $20.00.                                      
  Number 146                                                                   
  REP. PORTER asked if Mr. Jenks was familiar with the                         
  legislation under consideration because he wondered if there                 
  was a model statute on CUBs.                                                 
  Number 151                                                                   
  MR. JENKS said he thought the different approaches were all                  
  fairly similar.  He stated that what was most important was                  
  the inclusion of the three fundamental points he mentioned                   
  previously which were:  forming the organization, setting up                 
  a funding mechanism so citizens could join the organization,                 
  and authorizing the organization to represent consumers                      
  before the PUC.  He said Alaska's legislation addresses                      
  these concerns.                                                              
  Number 161                                                                   
  PHYLLIS TURNER, Director, Citizen's Utility Board Organizing                 
  Project, testified from Washington, D.C.  She acknowledged                   
  that utility companies sometimes spend hundreds of thousands                 
  of dollars of rate payer money to advocate their interests                   
  before PUCs and legislatures.  She asserted that residential                 
  consumers, as a group, have a substantial interest in these                  
  issues, but lack the resources, organization, and expertise                  
  to effectively advance their position and to respond to                      
  utility company arguments.  She pointed out that while large                 
  industrial companies have their own attorneys and economists                 
  representing their interests, the complexity of the process                  
  often prohibits individuals from participating at all.  She                  
  explained that it was actually in the APUC's interest to                     
  have effective advocacy on behalf of the smaller rate payer                  
  rather than an informal and unprofessional approach.                         
  MS. TURNER said that beyond APUC's purview, Alaskans need                    
  expert representation in proceedings that address utility                    
  and telecommunications issues.  She said Alaska is one of                    
  only seven states that does not have a utility consumer                      
  advocate within its governmental structure.  She relayed                     
  membership and organizational information of consumer                        
  advocacy in other states, such as Oregon, California,                        
  Illinois, and New York.  She said, like the APUC, CUB has a                  
  sunset clause, but it is not built in by legislation.  She                   
  concurred with Mr. Jenks and said, if a CUB is not doing its                 
  job, people would simply stop funding it.                                    
  MS. TURNER then mentioned the importance of the conflict of                  
  interest provision in HB 295 as a protective measure                         
  ensuring that CUB would not be taken over by any special                     
  interest.  She pointed out that HB 295 helps to advance                      
  civic democracy and the state does not have to pay a dime.                   
  She confirmed that HB 295 is fairly typical of other CUB                     
  legislation.  She said CUBs have been very effective and she                 
  gave the example of the Illinois CUB's landmark billion-                     
  dollar settlement with Commonwealth Edison.  In conclusion,                  
  Ms. Turner said a CUB is essential in helping Alaskans to                    
  help themselves.                                                             
  Number 280                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if representation in other states was                  
  similar to Oregon's estimated membership of one out of 50                    
  MS. TURNER said she did not know, but would check into it.                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON referred to the amendment providing for the                  
  inclusion of cable television, waste material collection,                    
  waste material disposal, and sewage and manufactured gases,                  
  and he asked if this was typical in other CUBs.                              
  Number 295                                                                   
  MS. TURNER replied that some CUBs were involved with cable                   
  issues and she regarded this as an important inclusion                       
  because cable is a growing concern.  She said she believed                   
  involvement with waste materials was a fairly recent                         
  addition, and she remarked that the San Diego CUB, at the                    
  request of their membership, was involved in insurance                       
  Number 314                                                                   
  REP. PORTER observed that having lived in Chicago for a                      
  year, he would like to think that Alaska does not have the                   
  regulatory problems that exist in Illinois.                                  
  Number 320                                                                   
  THOMAS WILLIAMS, Director, Permanent Fund Dividend Division                  
  (PFD), Department of Revenue, testified in support of a CUB.                 
  He said his only concern was the provision in the bill                       
  requiring the division to include an enclosure with PFD                      
  applications.  He said they have a zero fiscal note, based                   
  on the assumption that the Department of Revenue would be                    
  reimbursed by the CUB for all associated costs.  He said                     
  this obviously assumes that sufficient funds would be                        
  MR. WILLIAMS said one approach would be to stuff an addition                 
  into the booklet.  He explained that this would not be                       
  consistent with how the booklets are currently printed, as                   
  they are printed out-of-state and are then mailed directly                   
  from the printer to the various distribution sites.  He said                 
  the other approach would be to print something as part of                    
  the booklet, as is currently done with the voter                             
  registration form and the advanced college tuition program.                  
  MR. WILLIAMS said more importantly than the method used,                     
  there is concern with using the dividend mailing booklet as                  
  a vehicle for distributing public information, regardless of                 
  the merits of what is being distributed.  He pointed out the                 
  importance of keeping the booklet simple and concise,                        
  thereby avoiding the potential for turning it into a                         
  catalogue.  He said the purpose of getting information to                    
  and from dividend applications needs to remain clear.                        
  Number 367                                                                   
  REP. BROWN asserted that CUB was distinguishable from other                  
  non-profits and she did not see who they would be "throwing                  
  the door open to."  She asked if there was a particular                      
  group Mr. Williams had in mind.                                              
  Number 376                                                                   
  MR. WILLIAMS said he did not have any in mind.  He repeated                  
  his concern that this could set a precedent.  He said the                    
  division has received numerous inquiries regarding inclusion                 
  of various items and they have historically maintained a                     
  very pointed focus and have not wanted to confuse the                        
  REP. MULDER commented to Ms. Brown that he worked on the                     
  voter registration issue and they did not like that either.                  
  Number 389                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked MArk Foster for comment.                               
  Number 391                                                                   
  MARK FOSTER, Past Commissioner, Alaska Public Utilities                      
  Commission, said he also served as the president of the                      
  Western States Conference of Utility Commissioners which                     
  represented the 13 western states, and also as the chairman                  
  of the Western Conference Telecommunications Committee.  He                  
  said that based on his experience in those capacities, it                    
  was his opinion that PUCs and legislators benefit                            
  tremendously from having a CUB because they provide an                       
  excellent point of view, and they bring evidence onto the                    
  record that would otherwise not be available.  He pointed                    
  out that when coming before a utilities commission, one                      
  generally finds specialized technical and legal issues, and                  
  a CUB would enable consumers to have a focused point of                      
  view.  He concluded his comments by mentioning Chugach                       
  Electrical Association's proposed acquisition of Matanuska                   
  Electrical Association.  He said in such a situation, this                   
  kind of board would be very valuable.                                        
  Number 421                                                                   
  REP. PORTER asked what responsibility CUB would have that                    
  AKPIRG does not currently provide.                                           
  Number 430                                                                   
  MR. CONN replied that AKPIRG is funded differently and has a                 
  particular agenda and works that agenda.  He said AKPIRG                     
  lacks the technical expertise to be utility advocates at                     
  this point.                                                                  
  Number 454                                                                   
  REP. PORTER repeated his question and asked what would                       
  prevent AKPIRG or anyone else from forming a nonprofit                       
  organization under existing laws, charging a fee, and then                   
  representing consumers.                                                      
  Number 457                                                                   
  MR. CONN mentioned that utilization of former state mailings                 
  or mailings of regulated utilities to reach the broadest                     
  number of people needs to be done through a state vehicle.                   
  He said there were a series of technical things, including                   
  the right to appeal, that were also important.                               
  REP. PORTER asked for more information about the                             
  "intervening activity of the CUB" requiring a court rule                     
  MR. CONN said he understood that to obtain standing to                       
  intervene requires a court rule change of 2/3 of the                         
  REP. PORTER asked whether this issue was pivotal to the CUB                  
  having power.                                                                
  MR. CONN replied in the affirmative, and said the potential                  
  to intervene straight up leads to settlements.                               
  Number 473                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked for more information about the                         
  relationship between the utilities and the CUB.  He referred                 
  to the incident of APUC acting on behalf of consumers                        
  regarding the cable issue.                                                   
  Number 491                                                                   
  MR. CONN replied that it was important to offer APUC the                     
  opportunity to achieve its mandate of balancing a number of                  
  factors in a well-argued case.                                               
  Number 500                                                                   
  MR. FOSTER added that with respect to the cable rate issue                   
  in Juneau, a considerable number of consumers testified and                  
  were quite clear in their advocacy.  He said they did not                    
  have background in the legal language or in the technical                    
  financial issues that were before the commission.  He said                   
  it was helpful that consumers testified and said, in effect,                 
  "our rates are too high," but this did not address the                       
  question of setting the rates at $12.00, $10.00, or $8.00 a                  
  month.  He said CUBs really help with the details necessary                  
  to the decision making process.  He explained that CUBs                      
  accumulate this expertise because they deal regularly with                   
  the commission, thereby learning the language and the                        
  issues.  Mr. Foster said, in a broader sense, some utility                   
  commissions come to rely upon CUBs as a valuable form of                     
  Number 509                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked what other states do, without a PFD                    
  Number 510                                                                   
  MR. FOSTER said the utility bills are a typical way of                       
  disseminating the information.                                               
  Number 511                                                                   
  REP. BROWN said she thought the PFD would be the best list                   
  to use because of its wide distribution in Alaska.  She said                 
  it would help to advertise the CUB's existence and would                     
  also invite people to participate.                                           
  Number 512                                                                   
  REP. PORTER asked the commission's position on this.                         
  Number 513                                                                   
  MR. FOSTER said it was his understanding that the commission                 
  was scheduled to meet next week to determine their position                  
  on the CUB.                                                                  
  Number 513                                                                   
  REP. BROWN said in the past, they have testified in favor of                 
  the function of a consumer advocate.                                         
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON said he would like to hear from the APUC and                 
  would hold HB 295 in committee for another hearing.                          
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON adjourned the meeting at 5:30 p.m.                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects