Legislature(2005 - 2006)

04/22/2005 04:29 PM House L&C

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                         April 22, 2005                                                                                         
                           4:29 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Tom Anderson, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                                  
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 157                                                                                       
"An  Act   clarifying  the  powers   of  electric   or  telephone                                                               
cooperatives  to  become  members  of   or  own  stock  in  other                                                               
     - MOVED CSSSHB 157(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
HOUSE BILL NO. 249                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to  enhanced  911  surcharges  imposed  by  a                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
SENATE BILL NO. 137                                                                                                             
"An Act  providing that  an institution  providing accommodations                                                               
exempt from  the provisions of  the Uniform  Residential Landlord                                                               
and  Tenant Act  may  evict tenants  without  resorting to  court                                                               
proceedings under AS 09.45.060 - 09.45.160."                                                                                    
     - BILL HEARING POSTPONED to 4/25                                                                                           
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 100(RLS)                                                                                                 
"An  Act  relating  to  enhanced 911  systems  and  enhanced  911                                                               
surcharges   imposed   by   a  municipality,   public   municipal                                                               
corporation, or village."                                                                                                       
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 157                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ELEC/PHONE COOP & OTHER ENTITIES                                                                                   
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ANDERSON                                                                                          
02/18/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/05       (H)       CRA, L&C                                                                                               
02/28/05       (H)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED                                                                          
02/28/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/28/05       (H)       CRA, L&C                                                                                               
03/22/05       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/22/05       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/31/05       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/31/05       (H)       Moved CSSSHB 157(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                 
03/31/05       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/05/05       (H)       CRA RPT CS(CRA) NT 3DP 1NR                                                                             
04/05/05       (H)       DP: SALMON, THOMAS, OLSON;                                                                             
04/05/05       (H)       NR: LEDOUX                                                                                             
04/11/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/11/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/11/05       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/14/05       (H)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER L&C                                                                           
04/22/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
BILL: HB 249                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ENHANCED 911 SURCHARGES & SYSTEMS                                                                                  
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) HAWKER                                                                                            
04/04/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/04/05       (H)       CRA, L&C                                                                                               
04/12/05       (H)       CRA RPT CS(CRA) 3DP 2NR 1AM                                                                            
04/12/05       (H)       DP: CISSNA, OLSON, THOMAS;                                                                             
04/12/05       (H)       NR: LEDOUX, SALMON;                                                                                    
04/12/05       (H)       AM: NEUMAN                                                                                             
04/12/05       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
04/12/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 249(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/12/05       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/22/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE HAWKER                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Speaking as the sponsor, presented HB 249.                                                                 
WALT MONEGAN, Chief                                                                                                             
Anchorage Police Department                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 249.                                                                            
TIM ROGERS                                                                                                                      
Alaska Municipal League                                                                                                         
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 249.                                                                            
BILL DOOLITTLE, Project Manager                                                                                                 
Enhanced 911 Program                                                                                                            
Municipality of Anchorage                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During hearing  of HB  249, highlighted  a                                                               
possible  conflict between  the language  of the  legislation and                                                               
current statute.                                                                                                                
CHUCK KOPP, Chief                                                                                                               
Kenai Police Department                                                                                                         
City of Kenai;                                                                                                                  
National Emergency Number Association (NENA) - Alaska Chapter                                                                   
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified   that  HB  249  addresses  the                                                               
flexibility  necessary for  municipalities  to address  increased                                                               
enhanced 911 system demands.                                                                                                    
ED OBERTS, Mayor's Assistant                                                                                                    
Office of the Mayor                                                                                                             
Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                                                                         
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Expressed  appreciation  for  HB 249,  but                                                               
noted concerns with Section 3(j).                                                                                               
DAVID GIBBS, Emergency Manager/911 Administrator                                                                                
Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                                                                         
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing  of HB 249, expressed concern                                                               
with regard to the inclusion of  the Division of Public Safety in                                                               
enhanced 911 service agreements                                                                                                 
LINDA FREED, City Manager                                                                                                       
City of Kodiak                                                                                                                  
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  in  support  of  HB  249,  but                                                               
expressed some concerns.                                                                                                        
JIM ROWE, Director                                                                                                              
Alaska Telephone Association                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Expressed  hope that  HB  249,  which  he                                                               
characterized as good legislation, could be passed.                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR TOM ANDERSON  called the House Labor  and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  4:29:50  PM.    Representatives                                                             
Anderson,  Kott,  LeDoux,  Lynn, Rokeberg,  and  Guttenberg  were                                                               
present at the call to order.                                                                                                   
HB 157-ELEC/PHONE COOP & OTHER ENTITIES                                                                                       
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE  BILL NO. 157, "An Act clarifying                                                               
the  powers  of  electric  or telephone  cooperatives  to  become                                                               
members of or own stock in other entities."                                                                                     
CHAIR  ANDERSON  reminded  the committee  that  there  have  been                                                               
negotiations on this legislation over  the past few weeks, but it                                                               
seems  to no  avail.   In  fact,  there is  now  a House  Finance                                                               
Committee referral,  with which he expressed  frustration.  Chair                                                               
Anderson  expressed his  desire to  forward HB  157 to  the House                                                               
Finance  Committee and  opined that  there is  merit in  what the                                                               
field distributors have discussed.                                                                                              
4:30:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ANDERSON,  upon  determining  there  were  no  amendments,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
4:31:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX moved  to report  CSSSHB 157,  Version 24-                                                               
LS0562\X, out  of committee  with individual  recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being no objection, CSSSHB
157(L&C) was reported from the  House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                               
HB 249-ENHANCED 911 SURCHARGES & SYSTEMS                                                                                      
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  249,  "An  Act  relating  to  enhanced  911                                                               
surcharges imposed by a municipality."   [Before the committee is                                                               
CSHB 249(CRA).]                                                                                                                 
4:31:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE HAWKER,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
reminded the  committee that  legislation similar  to HB  249 was                                                               
considered in the last legislature.   Due to its importance it is                                                               
before the  legislature again this  year.   Representative Hawker                                                               
said   that  HB   249  is   the  "911   bill";  it   would  allow                                                               
municipalities the ability to add  a surcharge to telephone bills                                                               
in order  to pay  for enhanced  911 systems.   He  encouraged the                                                               
committee to  remember that HB  249, is first and  foremost about                                                               
saving  lives.   When  someone  dials 911  they  do  so with  the                                                               
expectation that  someone will be  there to answer during  a time                                                               
of crisis.   Access to a modern 911 system  can be the difference                                                               
between life and death, he emphasized.                                                                                          
4:33:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER specified  that HB  249 would  authorize a                                                               
funding  mechanism  for  enhanced  911 services,  which  are  the                                                               
additional system  features and  capabilities.   Those additional                                                               
features  and  capabilities allow  the  dispatcher  to know  from                                                               
where the call originated and the  number from which the call was                                                               
made, which allows the dispatcher to call back.                                                                                 
4:34:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER  requested  that  the  committee  adopt  a                                                               
committee substitute  (CS) that  is essentially equal  to similar                                                               
legislation [SB 100] moving through the Senate.                                                                                 
4:35:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  moved  to   adopt  CSHB  249,  Version  24-                                                               
LS0853\F, Cook,  4/21/05, as the  working document.   There being                                                               
no objection, Version F was before the committee.                                                                               
4:35:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   HAWKER   explained   that   Section   1   merely                                                               
accommodates  the sections  of HB  249  that are  added to  other                                                               
statutes.  The  legislation then provides changes  in the amounts                                                               
that  a  municipality  may  authorize  for  the  charges.    This                                                               
legislation  is  different  from  past  legislation  in  that  it                                                               
establishes a  limit on the  charge the municipality  can request                                                               
the phone company to bill  on the municipality's behalf.  Version                                                               
F provides  a $2  a month limit  for each telephone  line.   If a                                                               
city wants to  go beyond that, it must be  put before the voters.                                                               
Furthermore,  when a  municipality  imposes a  911 surcharge  the                                                               
customers  must be  notified and  provided an  explanation as  to                                                               
why.   There  is also  language that  provides restrictions  with                                                               
regard to what the [surcharge funds]  can be used for.  Section 4                                                               
provides  restrictions on  multi-line  systems.   He opined  that                                                               
this  legislation provides  reasonable protections  for consumers                                                               
and  taxpayers  while still  providing  an  adequate 911  system.                                                               
This legislation  would apply  to all home  rule and  general law                                                               
4:37:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG referred  to Section  4 regarding  the                                                               
multi-line communications systems and inquired  as to how it will                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  deferred to  Mr. Doolittle,  the technical                                                               
expert on the systems with the Municipality of Anchorage.                                                                       
4:39:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG   asked  if  Representative   Hawker  is                                                               
familiar  with   the  March  10,  2005,   Federal  Communications                                                               
Commission (FCC) document 8098170  regarding the truth in billing                                                               
format  matter.    He  clarified  that  it's  about  mandated  or                                                               
nonmandated service charges.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER said that he is not aware of it.                                                                          
4:39:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  highlighted the  following language  on page                                                               
3, lines  3-4, which  read:   "The surcharge  revenue may  not be                                                               
used  for   any  capital  or  operational   costs  for  emergency                                                               
responses  that  occur  after  the  call  is  dispatched  to  the                                                               
emergency responder."                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER addressed  the general  question regarding                                                               
the allowable costs.   He said although this language  may not be                                                               
the choice of the emergency  responders, they believe it provides                                                               
a strong restriction that would allow  the core of the service to                                                               
be put in place to operate the response system.                                                                                 
4:41:08 PM                                                                                                                    
WALT MONEGAN,  Chief, Anchorage  Police Department,  related that                                                               
he likes HB 249 because it  parallels SB 100, which the Anchorage                                                               
Police Department supports.   He further related  that he concurs                                                               
with  all  of  Representative  Hawker's  comments  and  concerns.                                                               
Chief Monegan said  that HB 249 will allow  [the Anchorage Police                                                               
Department]  to  operate and  maintain  a  system that  basically                                                               
helps  everyone.    The  present  surcharge of  $.50  has  to  be                                                               
subsidized from other  portions of the budget in  order [have the                                                               
911  system].   This  legislation  will  enhance the  ability  to                                                               
operate and  maintain the  911 system while  freeing money  to be                                                               
used elsewhere.  Chief Monegan  concluded by urging the committee                                                               
to pass HB 249.                                                                                                                 
TIM  ROGERS,   Alaska  Municipal   League  (AML),   informed  the                                                               
committee that AML  strongly supports HB 249.   Although it isn't                                                               
everything  AML had  hoped  for, the  legislation  does strike  a                                                               
balance between  the needs of  local government and  the concerns                                                               
of  the legislature  and the  telecommunications  industry.   Mr.                                                               
Rogers  highlighted  that  this legislation  doesn't  make  local                                                               
governments  whole in  regard  to  the cost  of  operating a  911                                                               
system, and  therefore other general government  revenues will be                                                               
required to operate the system.   However, HB 249 does offset the                                                               
loss of revenues previously provided by  the state in the form of                                                               
the revenue  sharing safe communities programs  and the community                                                               
matching grant program.  He then  pointed out that HB 249 doesn't                                                               
assess a fee on those who  don't receive enhanced 911 services in                                                               
rural  areas.   He  further pointed  out that  HB  249 will  help                                                               
prevent  delays in  the implementation  of important  upgrades to                                                               
the enhanced  911 system  that will  allow the  identification of                                                               
the  location of  enhanced  911  cell phone  users.   Mr.  Rogers                                                               
explained  that  the  new  systems  are very  much  like  a  more                                                               
sophisticated   caller   identification   program   than   what's                                                               
available on telephones.  Depending  upon one's service provider,                                                               
the  cost for  a caller  identification  (ID) program  on a  home                                                               
telephone is $5.00-$6.00 a month.   "What we're asking for is the                                                               
ability  to provide  a vital  lifesaving service  and be  able to                                                               
charge  an amount  significantly less  than what  telephone users                                                               
are paying for their home caller ID service," he stated.                                                                        
4:45:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROGERS  then turned to  the FCC  docket that was  referred to                                                               
earlier.     That   document   specifically  addresses   cellular                                                               
telephones.   Although  that document  doesn't prevent  state and                                                               
local governments from assessing fees  and taxes on the telephone                                                               
bill,  it specifies  that  state and  local  governments may  not                                                               
dictate to  a cellular telephone  company what items appear  on a                                                               
billing  statement.   Therefore, that  FCC document  doesn't have                                                               
any impact on  HB 249 beyond preventing the  state from requiring                                                               
the telephone company to have a  line item on the bill specifying                                                               
the 911 surcharge.                                                                                                              
4:46:14 PM                                                                                                                    
BILL   DOOLITTLE,   Project   Manager,  Enhanced   911   Program,                                                               
Municipality of  Anchorage, noted  that there  may be  a conflict                                                               
between language  on page  4, line 24,  which specifies  that the                                                               
Regulatory  Commission  of   Alaska  (RCA)  identifies  generally                                                               
accepted industry  standards.  However,  in the  current statute,                                                               
AS   29.35.131(c),  the   RCA  is   precluded  from   having  any                                                               
involvement with a 911 system.   Therefore, in the last few years                                                               
that  language has  been interpreted  very strictly  and the  RCA                                                               
hasn't been involved with 911 systems.                                                                                          
4:48:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ANDERSON  inquired as  to how Mr.  Doolittle would  want to                                                               
change that language.                                                                                                           
MR. DOOLITTLE  explained that  the preference  would be  to allow                                                               
the  RCA  to have  some  involvement  with the  technology  being                                                               
provided  by the  carriers.   Current  statutes, he  highlighted,                                                               
include the  following language:   "The Regulatory  Commission of                                                               
Alaska may not consider the  enhanced 911 surcharge as revenue of                                                               
the telephone  company and has  no jurisdiction over  an enhanced                                                               
911  system."    The  aforementioned has  been  interpreted  very                                                               
strictly  and thus  the  RCA has  stayed out  of  the 911  system                                                               
statewide.  However,  Mr. Doolittle opined that there  would be a                                                               
contribution from the RCA in  the deployment of technology, which                                                               
the language in HB 249 opens up.                                                                                                
4:49:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  inquired as  to whether  the generally                                                               
accepted  industry standards,  if  not defined  by  the RCA,  are                                                               
defined elsewhere.                                                                                                              
MR.  DOOLITTLE answered  that the  alternative would  be for  the                                                               
generally accepted industry standards to  be defined at the local                                                               
level.   He  noted  that  there are  national  standards for  the                                                               
provision   of    private   switch   ALI    [automatic   location                                                               
identification].   He  related  his preference  for  there to  be                                                               
language that would make that statewide.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  commented that  the language  had received                                                               
much scrutiny.   He related his understanding that  the intent of                                                               
the  language was  to  create a  requirement  for a  standardized                                                               
4:51:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHUCK  KOPP,  Chief,  Kenai Police  Department,  City  of  Kenai;                                                               
Chair,  National Emergency  Number  Association  (NENA) -  Alaska                                                               
Chapter,  began by  thanking Representative  Hawker for  bringing                                                               
forward  HB 249,  which NENA  believes addresses  the flexibility                                                               
necessary for  municipalities to  address increased  enhanced 911                                                               
system demands.   The rapid  rate of technology  being introduced                                                               
to the  public has  outpaced public safety's  ability to  keep up                                                               
with providing  emergency service communications.   Therefore, HB
249   provides  municipalities   the   flexibility  and   funding                                                               
mechanism  to  address  the rising  expectation  of  the  public.                                                               
Moreover, the  language structuring  what enhanced  911 surcharge                                                               
revenues may  be used for  is "right on  the money."   Chief Kopp                                                               
noted that  he also supports  the requirement  for municipalities                                                               
and  boroughs  to  establish agreements  regarding  enhanced  911                                                               
expenditures when they share those systems.                                                                                     
4:52:51 PM                                                                                                                    
ED  OBERTS,  Mayor's  Assistant,   Office  of  the  Mayor,  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula  Borough,   related  his   appreciation  for   HB  249.                                                               
However,  he expressed  concern with  the language  of subsection                                                               
(j) on page 3, line 29,  which specifies that the [borough] won't                                                               
be able to  use enhanced 911 surcharge revenue  until the borough                                                               
enters into  agreements with  the city,  and probably  the Alaska                                                               
State Troopers  as well.   From practical experience,  Mr. Oberts                                                               
relayed the difficulty in working  with various legal departments                                                               
to reach  agreements and  approval by  all the  governing bodies.                                                               
Ideally,  statutes  help clarify  not  create  more confusion  or                                                               
workload.  Therefore, he encouraged  the committee to review that                                                               
language in an attempt to provide more clarity.                                                                                 
4:54:20 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID   GIBBS,   Emergency   Manager/911   Administrator,   Kenai                                                               
Peninsula Borough,  suggested, with regard to  Section 3(j), that                                                               
on page  3, line  30, the  language "before  the borough  may use                                                               
revenue from  an enhanced  911 surcharge"  be deleted.   Although                                                               
the [borough]  fully supports sharing  the enhanced  911 revenues                                                               
with  the cities,  [the borough]  has been  involved in  a fairly                                                               
lengthy process trying to negotiate  cost sharing agreements with                                                               
them.  He also suggested that on page 4, line 3:                                                                                
     We would like to see  the language read basically:  "If                                                                    
     the Department of Public  Safety also provides services                                                                    
     as  part  of the  enhanced  911  service" and  add  the                                                                    
     phrase  "and incurs  cost" deleting  the  rest of  that                                                                    
     sentence:   "the  department  must be  a  party to  the                                                                    
MR.  GIBBS opined  that  the Department  of  Public Safety  (DPS)                                                               
provides law enforcement services,  not necessarily 911 services.                                                               
He then  expressed the need to  be sure that the  Kenai Peninsula                                                               
Borough's 911  program continues pending agreements  because "the                                                               
effect of  ... inclusion of  this language actually may  have the                                                               
net effect of  causing us to basically shut down  our system"  He                                                               
informed  the  committee that  the  [borough]  is incurring  911-                                                               
related costs now and this  language may potentially preclude the                                                               
borough from  using any  of its  surcharge revenue  for providing                                                               
those services.                                                                                                                 
4:56:38 PM                                                                                                                    
LINDA FREED,  City Manager,  City of  Kodiak, began  by informing                                                               
the  committee that  the  City  of Kodiak  is  the public  safety                                                               
answering  point (PSAP)  for those  portions of  the region  that                                                               
receive  enhanced  911  service.    Although  the  Kodiak  Island                                                               
Borough is  the entity  that levies  the enhanced  911 surcharge,                                                               
the City  of Kodiak is  the direct  service provider.   Ms. Freed                                                               
related that the City of Kodiak supports  HB 249, as it is a good                                                               
compromise that  meets the current  needs of that portion  of the                                                               
Kodiak  region  receiving enhanced  911  service.   However,  Ms.                                                               
Freed  expressed  concern  with  regard   to  DPS  and  what  the                                                               
definition  would  be for  "uses  the  enhanced 911  system"  [as                                                               
specified on  page 4, line 4].   Ms. Freed explained  that all of                                                               
the  Kodiak region's  enhanced 911  calls come  into the  City of                                                               
Kodiak dispatch center and DPS  troopers are dispatched for calls                                                               
outside the  [city's] jurisdiction.   However, DPS  doesn't incur                                                               
any cost directly related to the  enhanced 911 system.  Ms. Freed                                                               
informed the  committee that the  City of Kodiak and  the borough                                                               
have a good  agreement that meets the current needs  of the area,                                                               
and therefore she wasn't sure of  the necessity of DPS signing on                                                               
to that  because the  City of  Kodiak has  operational agreements                                                               
with DPS  that are  separate from  the enhanced  911 system.   In                                                               
conclusion, Ms. Freed announced support  for HB 249 and expressed                                                               
the  hope  for it  to  pass  this year  as  it  provides a  great                                                               
framework for local governments  to provide this important public                                                               
safety service.                                                                                                                 
4:59:07 PM                                                                                                                    
JIM  ROWE,  Director,  Alaska  Telephone  Association,  began  by                                                               
informing the committee that the  association represents 14 rural                                                               
local exchange telephone  companies in the state.   Most of these                                                               
areas  are   already  assessing   surcharges.     Currently,  the                                                               
surcharge  in communities  with  100,000 residents  is capped  at                                                               
$.50 while  in those areas  with higher populations,  it's capped                                                               
at  $.75.     Version  F  would  propose  an   increase  for  the                                                               
Municipality of Anchorage  four-fold.  Mr. Rowe  emphasized:  "We                                                               
have an  aversion to  any taxing,  which is  what we're  doing as                                                               
telephone  companies -  it's perceived  by  customers that  we're                                                               
collecting  this,   that  we're  raising  rates.     Also,  we're                                                               
interested  in  the  state of  increasing  the  penetration,  not                                                               
having  people feeling  like  they can't  afford  it.   Emergency                                                               
services are something  we're very interested in.   We also would                                                               
like to  see legislation pass  this year."   Mr. Rowe  then noted                                                               
agreement with  the sponsor's  comments regarding  the compromise                                                               
that  has occurred  with HB  249.   However, he  highlighted that                                                               
there are  locales in Alaska  that don't have  a PSAP to  which a                                                               
911 call can be sent, which remains to be addressed.                                                                            
5:01:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROWE turned  to the discussion of the amount  of the rate and                                                               
highlighted that the  cap in HB 249 can be  increased upon a vote                                                               
of  the people  in  the area  impacted.   Mr.  Rowe reminded  the                                                               
committee of  Abraham Lincoln's comments  at his  first inaugural                                                               
address  in 1861,  specifically  the following:   "This  country,                                                               
with  its institutions,  belongs to  the people  who inhabit  it.                                                               
Whenever they shall  grow weary of the  existing government, they                                                               
can exercise their  constitutional right of amending  it or their                                                               
revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."                                                                              
5:04:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROWE, in  response to Chair Anderson,  informed the committee                                                               
that $1.50 will  double to triple the amount some  of the members                                                               
of the  Alaska Telephone  Association will be  billed.   He noted                                                               
that the association would support an increase of $1.50.                                                                        
5:05:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ANDERSON  noted a conversation  he had with  Senator Bunde,                                                               
sponsor of SB 100, in which  Senator Bunde agreed to HB 249 being                                                               
the vehicle  for the  enhanced 911 surcharge.   He  recalled that                                                               
Senator  Bunde,  when  asked,  said  that  he  didn't  have  "any                                                               
druthers"  regarding whether  the  surcharge should  be $1.50  or                                                               
$2.00.  However,  Senator Bunde noted that his  legislation had a                                                               
$1.50 surcharge.                                                                                                                
MR. ROWE interjected his thanks to  those who have worked on this                                                               
issue in  the House and the  Senate.  He expressed  his hope that                                                               
this  legislation, which  he characterized  as good  legislation,                                                               
could be passed.                                                                                                                
5:05:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  if current  statute requires  the                                                               
members  of   the  Alaska  Telephone  Association   to  charge  a                                                               
surcharge at  all.   He also  asked if  [Version F]  includes the                                                               
[population] differential.                                                                                                      
MR. ROWE  answered that when  a municipality has an  enhanced 911                                                               
system,  the [surcharge]  is mandated.   In  further response  to                                                               
Representative Rokeberg,  Mr. Rowe  explained that  federal rules                                                               
require  that 911  be available  everywhere in  the country.   He                                                               
clarified  that  911 dialing  can  be  done everywhere,  but  [in                                                               
Alaska]  there  are  some  communities  for  which  there  is  no                                                               
location to send the call.   Mr. Rowe reminded the committee that                                                               
last  year he  attempted to  have the  state establish  a default                                                               
PSAP  so that  an  emergency  call could  at  least be  recorded.                                                               
However, that was  found to be unacceptable.   Mr. Rowe clarified                                                               
that surcharges can only be  assessed where there is enhanced 911                                                               
service.    In  response  to   Representative  LeDoux,  Mr.  Rowe                                                               
confirmed that some  of the areas in her district  don't have 911                                                               
service.   He offered to provide  the committee with a  list.  He                                                               
recalled  that  last  year  Aniak   had  a  group  that  answered                                                               
emergency calls during the hours of  8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. while                                                               
emergency calls at any other time would be routed to Bethel.                                                                    
5:09:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROWE agreed with Representative  LeDoux that in some areas in                                                               
her district a 911 call is  routed nowhere even though there is a                                                               
village public safety officer (VPSO)  in the community.  However,                                                               
he pointed out  that the VPSO are sometimes out  in the community                                                               
and  aren't  sitting  by  the   telephone  waiting  for  a  call.                                                               
Furthermore,  a  VPSO  is  a single  individual,  which  isn't  a                                                               
permanent place.                                                                                                                
5:10:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT referred to the  language on page 2 requiring                                                               
the telephone company  to notify its customers in  writing when a                                                               
surcharge is changed or imposed.   The language further specifies                                                               
that  the  notification will  go  through  the telephone  company                                                               
servicing the area.                                                                                                             
MR.  ROWE opined  that the  aforementioned  is a  challenge.   He                                                               
appreciated the concept  that the notification should  be left up                                                               
to  the municipality  when it  makes a  change in  the surcharge.                                                               
However, again it will be a challenge.                                                                                          
5:11:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER  reminded the  committee  that  HB 249  is                                                               
permissive legislation that provides for  a surcharge up to $2.00                                                               
per line.   Furthermore, a surcharge above $2.00  would require a                                                               
vote of  the impacted  community.  He  reiterated that  the $2.00                                                               
surcharge  is  a  compromise,  which  he  opined  is  fair.    He                                                               
appreciated  that the  telephone  companies don't  want  to be  a                                                               
taxing  entity for  the government.   Representative  Hawker then                                                               
referred to  statements from various  telephone providers  in the                                                               
state  that   recognized  this   legislation  as   a  compromise.                                                               
Representative Hawker then  turned to the statewide  need for 911                                                               
services  as  is  the  case  for all  of  the  state's  statewide                                                               
infrastructure needs.   With regard to  the legislation requiring                                                               
consumer notification  of a surcharge, the  language requires the                                                               
telephone  company to  distribute  the  notification because  the                                                               
municipality  isn't privy  to  the  telephone company's  consumer                                                               
database.    However, the  language  further  specifies that  the                                                               
municipality  has   to  pay  any  reasonable   incremental  costs                                                               
associated with the notification.                                                                                               
CHAIR ANDERSON announced that HB 249 would be held over.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  questioned  whether  there  have  been  any                                                               
letters  from  constituents  saying  they have  bought  into  the                                                               
compromise [as presented in HB 249].                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  indicated that his constituents  [in Eagle                                                               
River] do support this legislation.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  turned  attention  to  the  issue  of                                                               
multiple lines within a household  versus within large commercial                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  pointed out that Section  4 addresses that                                                               
issue.   He highlighted  that it allows  local control  and self-                                                               
determination on that issue.   Representative Hawker acknowledged                                                               
that deciding  that each  individual line would  be the  base for                                                               
the surcharge  was a policy  call, but he highlighted  the desire                                                               
for the responder to know the location from which one calls 911.                                                                
5:19:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG turned the  committee's attention to page                                                               
4,  line 24,  and  pointed  out that  "E911"  should actually  be                                                               
"enhanced  911".   He then  requested that  a letter  be obtained                                                               
regarding  whether  there  are any  generally  accepted  industry                                                               
standards as  defined by  the RCA.   He noted  a conflict  of law                                                               
issue with the ".131(c)" provisions.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked whether  any consideration was given to                                                               
excluding  the   current  statute   that  exempts   those  larger                                                               
companies with 100 or more lines.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER said  it  was his  personal preference  to                                                               
follow  Representative  Kott's counsel  on  the  matter, but  the                                                               
compromise has left the 100-line limit in place.                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON reminded  the committee that HB 249  would be held                                                               
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Labor and  Commerce Standing Committee  meeting was  adjourned at                                                               
5:22:23 PM.                                                                                                                   

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