Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

05/12/2019 04:00 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
04:00:54 PM Start
04:01:10 PM SB83
04:13:56 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Continued from Sat. 5/11/19 --
+= SB 83 TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATION/EXEMPTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCS SB 83(L&C) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                          May 12, 2019                                                                                          
                           4:00 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Adam Wool, Chair                                                                                                 
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 83                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to  the   Regulatory  Commission  of  Alaska;                                                               
relating to  the public utility regulatory  cost charge; relating                                                               
to the regulation of  telecommunications; relating to exemptions,                                                               
charges,  and rates  applicable to  telecommunications utilities;                                                               
relating  to regulation  of telephone  services; and  relating to                                                               
alternate operator services."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCS SB 83(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  83                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATION/EXEMPTIONS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) BIRCH                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
03/11/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/11/19       (S)       L&C                                                                                                    
03/26/19       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/26/19       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/26/19       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/02/19       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
04/02/19       (S)       Moved SB 83 Out of Committee                                                                           
04/02/19       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/03/19       (S)       L&C RPT 4DP                                                                                            
04/03/19       (S)       DP: REINBOLD, GRAY-JACKSON, COSTELLO,                                                                  
                         BIRCH                                                                                                  
04/15/19       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/15/19       (S)       VERSION: SB  83                                                                                        
04/16/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/16/19       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/17/19       (H)       JUD REPLACES FIN REFERRAL                                                                              
05/01/19       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
05/01/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/01/19       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/08/19       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
05/08/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/08/19       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/11/19       (H)       L&C AT 11:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                             
05/11/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/11/19       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/12/19       (H)       L&C AT 4:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CHRIS BIRCH                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   As prime  sponsor, offered  comments during                                                             
the hearing on SB 83.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BOB PICKETT, Commissioner                                                                                                       
Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                                                                 
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on SB
83.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:00:54 PM                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR  ADAM WOOL  called the  House Labor  and Commerce  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  back to  order at  4:00 p.m.   Representatives                                                               
Talerico, Stutes, Revak,  and Wool were present at  the call back                                                               
to order.   Representatives Hannan arrived as the  meeting was in                                                               
progress.  Representative Claman joined in the audience.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
        SB  83-TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATION/EXEMPTIONS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:01:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
SENATE  BILL  NO.   83,  "An  Act  relating   to  the  Regulatory                                                               
Commission of  Alaska; relating to the  public utility regulatory                                                               
cost charge;  relating to  the regulation  of telecommunications;                                                               
relating  to   exemptions,  charges,  and  rates   applicable  to                                                               
telecommunications   utilities;   relating   to   regulation   of                                                               
telephone   services;   and   relating  to   alternate   operator                                                               
services."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL moved to adopt Amendment 8, [labeled 31-LS0563\M.11,                                                                 
Fisher, 5/12/19], which read:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 4, following "services;":                                                                                   
          Insert "relating to exempt employees;"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, following line 14:                                                                                                 
          Insert new bill sections to read:                                                                                     
        "* Sec. 2. AS 39.25.110 is amended to read:                                                                         
          Sec. 39.25.110. Exempt service. Unless otherwise                                                                    
     provided by  law, the following positions  in the state                                                                    
     service constitute  the exempt  service and  are exempt                                                                    
     from  the  provisions of  this  chapter  and the  rules                                                                    
     adopted under it:                                                                                                          
               (1)   persons  elected  to  public office  by                                                                    
     popular vote or appointed  to fill vacancies in elected                                                                    
     offices;                                                                                                                   
               (2)    justices,   judges,  magistrates,  and                                                                    
     employees  of the  judicial branch  including employees                                                                    
     of the judicial council;                                                                                                   
               (3)   employees of the state  legislature and                                                                    
     its agencies;                                                                                                              
               (4)   the head  of each  principal department                                                                    
     in the executive branch;                                                                                                   
               (5)      officers   and  employees   of   the                                                                    
     University of Alaska;                                                                                                      
               (6)          certificated    teachers     and                                                                    
     noncertificated  employees   employed  by   a  regional                                                                    
     educational attendance  area established  and organized                                                                    
     under   AS 14.08.031   -   14.08.041   to   teach   in,                                                                    
     administer, or  operate schools under the  control of a                                                                    
     regional educational attendance area school board;                                                                         
               (7)   certificated  teachers employed  by the                                                                    
     Department  of  Education   and  Early  Development  as                                                                    
     correspondence  teachers,  teachers  in  skill  centers                                                                    
     operated  by  the  Department of  Education  and  Early                                                                    
     Development  or   by  the   Department  of   Labor  and                                                                    
     Workforce Development, or in Mt. Edgecumbe School;                                                                         
               (8)   patients and inmates employed  in state                                                                    
     institutions;                                                                                                              
               (9)    persons  employed  in  a  professional                                                                    
     capacity to make a temporary  or special inquiry, study                                                                    
     or examination as authorized by the governor;                                                                              
               (10)    members  of boards,  commissions,  or                                                                    
     authorities;                                                                                                               
               (11)    the  officers and  employees  of  the                                                                    
     following boards, commissions, and authorities:                                                                            
               (A)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                  
               (B)  Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation;                                                                          
               (C)     Alaska  Industrial   Development  and                                                                    
     Export Authority;                                                                                                          
               (D)     Alaska  Commercial   Fisheries  Entry                                                                    
     Commission;                                                                                                                
               (E)    Alaska   Commission  on  Postsecondary                                                                    
     Education;                                                                                                                 
               (F)  Alaska Aerospace Corporation;                                                                               
               (G)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                  
               (H)   Alaska Gasline  Development Corporation                                                                    
     and  subsidiaries  of  the Alaska  Gasline  Development                                                                    
     Corporation;                                                                                                               
               (12)    the  executive  secretary  and  legal                                                                    
     counsel of the Alaska Municipal Bond Bank Authority;                                                                       
               (13)    the  state medical  examiner,  deputy                                                                    
     medical  examiner,  and   assistant  medical  examiners                                                                    
     appointed  under   AS 12.65.015  and   pharmacists  and                                                                    
     physicians  licensed  to  practice in  this  state  and                                                                    
     employed  by  the  Department   of  Health  and  Social                                                                    
     Services or by the Department of Corrections;                                                                              
               (14)    petroleum   engineers  and  petroleum                                                                    
     geologists employed  in a professional capacity  by the                                                                    
     Department of  Natural Resources and by  the Alaska Oil                                                                    
     and Gas Conservation Commission;                                                                                           
               (15)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                 
               (16)   persons  employed by  the division  of                                                                    
     marine  transportation as  masters and  members of  the                                                                    
     crews  of vessels  who operate  the state  ferry system                                                                    
     and  who   are  covered  by  a   collective  bargaining                                                                    
     agreement provided in AS 23.40.040;                                                                                        
               (17)   officers  and employees  of the  state                                                                    
     who reside in foreign countries;                                                                                           
               (18)     employees  of  the   Alaska  Seafood                                                                    
     Marketing Institute;                                                                                                       
               (19)      emergency  firefighting   personnel                                                                    
     employed by  the Department of Natural  Resources for a                                                                    
     fire  emergency  or  for fire  prevention  and  related                                                                    
     activities conducted under AS 41.15.030;                                                                                   
               (20)     employees  of  the  Office   of  the                                                                    
     Governor  and the  office of  the lieutenant  governor,                                                                    
     including the staff of the governor's mansion;                                                                             
               (21)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                 
               (22)   youth  employed by  the Department  of                                                                    
     Natural  Resources  under   the  Youth  Employment  and                                                                    
     Student Intern programs;                                                                                                   
               (23)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                 
               (24)     students   employed  by   the  state                                                                    
     institutions in which the students are enrolled;                                                                           
               (25)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                 
               (26)   investment officers in  the Department                                                                    
     of Revenue;                                                                                                                
               (27)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                 
               (28)   persons engaged in employment  or pre-                                                                    
     employment   training   programs    operated   by   the                                                                    
     Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs;                                                                              
               (29)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                 
               (30)   a  person  employed as  an actuary  or                                                                    
     assistant actuary  by the division of  insurance in the                                                                    
     Department   of  Commerce,   Community,  and   Economic                                                                    
     Development;                                                                                                               
               (31)  [REPEALED]                                                                                                 
               (32)   a participant in the  Alaska temporary                                                                    
     assistance   program  under   AS 47.27   who  holds   a                                                                    
     temporary position  with the  state in order  to obtain                                                                    
     job training or experience;                                                                                                
               (33)   a person employed as  a convener under                                                                    
     AS 44.62.730  or as  a  facilitator under  AS 44.62.760                                                                    
     related  to  a  negotiated  regulation  making  process                                                                    
     under AS 44.62.710 - 44.62.800;                                                                                            
               (34)     the  chief  executive   officer  and                                                                    
     employees of  the Alaska Mental Health  Trust Authority                                                                    
     employed under AS 47.30.026(b);                                                                                            
               (35)    the  assistant adjutant  general  for                                                                    
     space    and    missile   defense    appointed    under                                                                    
     AS 26.05.185;                                                                                                              
               (36)    the   victims'  advocate  established                                                                    
     under AS 24.65.010 and the advocate's staff;                                                                               
               (37)   employees of the Alaska  mental health                                                                    
     trust land unit established under AS 44.37.050;                                                                            
               (38)   the executive director of  the Council                                                                    
     on  Domestic Violence  and  Sexual Assault  established                                                                    
     under AS 18.66.010;                                                                                                        
               (39)   the  executive director  and employees                                                                    
     of  the  Knik  Arm  Bridge  and  Toll  Authority  under                                                                    
     AS 19.75.051 and 19.75.061;                                                                                                
               (40)  the chair of the Workers' Compensation                                                                     
     Appeals Commission (AS 23.30.007);                                                                                         
               (41)  the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act                                                                          
     coordinator appointed under AS 43.90.250;                                                                                  
               (42)  oil and gas audit masters employed in                                                                      
     a professional  capacity by  the Department  of Revenue                                                                    
     and the Department of Natural  Resources to collect oil                                                                    
     and  gas  revenue   by  developing  policy,  conducting                                                                    
     studies,   drafting  proposed   regulations,  enforcing                                                                    
     regulations,  and  directing  audits  by  oil  and  gas                                                                    
     revenue auditors;                                                                                                          
               (43)      the    in-state   gasline   project                                                                    
     coordinator appointed under AS 38.34.010;                                                                                  
               (44)  the executive director and employees                                                                       
     of the Alaska State Council  on the Arts employed under                                                                    
     AS 44.27.054 and 44.27.055;                                                                                            
               (45)  utilities analyst masters employed in                                                                  
     a  professional capacity  by the  Regulatory Commission                                                                
     of Alaska under AS 42.04.050(a).                                                                                       
        * Sec. 3. AS 42.04.050(a) is amended to read:                                                                         
          (a)  The chair of the commission is responsible                                                                       
     for  directing  the  administrative  functions  of  the                                                                    
     commission and carrying out the  policies as set by the                                                                    
     commission. The commission  chair may employ engineers,                                                                    
     hearing    examiners,   administrative    law   judges,                                                                    
     arbitrators,  mediators, experts,  clerks, accountants,                                                                    
     a number of utilities  analyst masters corresponding to                                                                
     the number  of commissioners,  not to exceed  five, and                                                                
     other  agents  and   assistants  considered  necessary.                                                                    
     Employees of the  commission who are not  in the exempt                                                                    
     service  under  AS 39.25.110  or the  partially  exempt                                                                    
     service  under  AS 39.25.120   are  in  the  classified                                                                    
     service under AS 39.25.100."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL  explained that Amendment  8 adds a utility  master to                                                               
the list of  exempt employees, which would allow the  RCA to hire                                                               
a utilities analyst  master in an exempt capacity.   He said that                                                               
the industry is  paying competitive wages that the  RCA is unable                                                               
to  compete with;  accordingly,  this would  allow  them to  hire                                                               
exempt  staff in  order  to compete  with  the private  industry.                                                               
Amendment 8 would allow them to hire up to 5 [positions].                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:02:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL  proposed a conceptual  amendment to Amendment 8.   He                                                               
explained that, currently, the RCA  has five commissioners and if                                                               
they were to fill the 5  exempt staff positions in the future and                                                               
then  subsequently  lose  a commissioner,  this  amendment  would                                                               
safeguard those 5 exempt staff members.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WOOL  moved Conceptual  Amendment  1  to Amendment  8,  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 29                                                                                                            
          Delete "corresponding to the number of commissioners                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL  announced that, there being  no objection, Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1 to Amendment 8 was adopted.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:04:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  voiced her enthusiasm for  Amendment 8 and                                                               
said she was interested in hearing the bill sponsor's opinion.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:04:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CHRIS  BIRCH, Alaska State Legislature,  as prime sponsor                                                               
of SB  83, said Amendment  8 addresses  a serious concern  of the                                                               
Regulatory Commission of Alaska  (RCA) and provides them latitude                                                               
to secure the  staffing and resources necessary to  do their job.                                                               
He offered his understanding that  it would be revenue neutral to                                                               
the state.   He said  that after indirect conversations  with the                                                               
commission, they  find this amendment  acceptable.   He concluded                                                               
by stating his support for Amendment 8 as amended.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WOOL added  that  the  RCA is  self-funded  by charges  on                                                               
utilities.  He  said this will give them flexibility  on how they                                                               
use their funding and will not add to the budget.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:05:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BOB PICKETT, Commissioner, Regulatory  Commission of Alaska, said                                                               
he is very pleased to see  this amendment come forward.  He added                                                               
that it  will absolutely  address a very  critical need  that the                                                               
RCA has had for the last 12 years.   It will let them better deal                                                               
with  many  of  the  issues  that  have  been  discussed  in  the                                                               
telecommunications bill and in the electric sector.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:05:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN asked  how many  of these  staff positions                                                               
the commission currently employs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PICKETT  stated  that, outside  several  administrative  law                                                               
judge positions,  they do not  have anything that fits  into this                                                               
category.   He said this will  be helpful in finding  the kind of                                                               
technical  and professional  expertise  that they  have not  been                                                               
able to attract thus far.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:06:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked for  Mr.  Pickett  to describe  the                                                               
RCA's current employees.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PICKETT replied  that  they have  employees  in the  finance                                                               
sector, engineering sector, and in tariffs.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN   asked  how  many  staff   are  currently                                                               
employed at the commission.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PICKETT stated  there's  approximately  55 positions  across                                                               
sectors                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  for  further  explanation  of  the                                                               
sectors.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. PICKETT  said they  have a tariff  section, a  common carrier                                                               
section,  a   finance  section,   an  engineering   section,  and                                                               
administrative law  judges with a  number of paralegals,  as well                                                               
as support staff in their records department.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:08:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES withdrew  her objection.   There  being no                                                               
further objection, Amendment 8, as amended, was adopted.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:10:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN questioned  whether the  bill will  have a                                                               
fiscal note  even though  Amendment 8 is  revenue neutral,  or if                                                               
the RCA will need receipt authority to bill the utilities.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL said  they still get the same amount  of funding.  The                                                               
intention is that they can use  those funds to hire an individual                                                               
on a higher  salary if several of their 55  employees retire.  He                                                               
noted that,  currently, the commission  doesn't have  that hiring                                                               
authority.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:11:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  said  that   the  discussion  has  been                                                               
educational, and he is anxious to see the bill moved.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WOOL concurred.   He offered his belief that  the impact of                                                               
this bill will make utilities and the RCA more efficient.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:12:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  moved  to   report  HCS  SB  83,  Version                                                               
LS0563\M,   as  amended,   out  of   committee  with   individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no objection, HCS SB 83(L&C) was  reported out of the House Labor                                                               
and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:13:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the Labor                                                               
and  Commerce Standing  Committee meeting  was adjourned  at 4:13                                                               
p.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 83.Backup Amendment 8.pdf HL&C 5/12/2019 4:00:00 PM
SB 83