Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/20/1995 08:09 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                            
                         April 20, 1995                                        
                           8:09 a.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                         
 Representative Scott Ogan, Vice Chair                                         
 Representative Ed Willis                                                      
 Representative Caren Robinson                                                 
 Representative Ivan Ivan                                                      
 Representative Joe Green                                                      
 Representative Brian Porter                                                   
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 HB 224:     "An Act relating to the state plumbing code.                      
             HEARD AND HELD                                                    
 * HB 304:   "An Act relating to geographical differentials for                
             the salaries of certain state employees who are not               
             members of a collective bargaining unit; relating to              
             periodic salary surveys and preparation of an annual              
             pay schedule regarding certain state employees;                   
             relating to certain state aid calculations based on               
             geographic differentials for state employee salaries;             
             and providing for an effective date.                              
             SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                           
 HB 270:     "An Act relating to retirement incentive programs for             
             the public employees retirement system and the                    
             teachers retirement system; relating to separation                
             incentives for certain state employees; and providing             
             for an effective date.                                            
             SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                           
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE VIC KOHRING                                                    
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 428                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 Telephone: 465-2186                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 224                                         
 MIKE TIBBLES, Legislative Assistant                                           
 Representative Vic Kohring                                                    
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 428                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 Telephone: 465-2186                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information of HB 224                            
 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant                                             
 Office of Commissioner                                                        
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 Telephone: 465-2700                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 224                                          
 MARY LOU VILANDRE                                                             
 803 Halibut Point Road                                                        
 Sitka, Alaska 99835                                                           
 Telephone: 747-8086                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 224                                         
 PAT KNOWLES, Owner                                                            
 Mountain Mechanical                                                           
 8427 Mentra Street                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska 99518                                                       
 Telephone: 344-0700                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 224                                          
 EUGENE RUTLAND, Executive Director                                            
 Mechanical Contractors of Fairbanks                                           
 1066 Badger Road                                                              
 North Pole, Alaska 99705                                                      
 Telephone: 456-8347                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 224                                            
 ROGER COURTNEY, Plumbing and Mechanical Inspector                             
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 3030 Brookridge Circle                                                        
 Anchorage, Alaska 99504                                                       
 Telephone: 338-4394                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 224                                          
 STEVE SHUTTLEWORTH, Building Official                                         
 City of Fairbanks                                                             
 2588 Riverview Drive                                                          
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                       
 Telephone: 459-6725                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 224                                            
 TOM GERVAIS, President                                                        
 Alkota Plumbing and Heating                                                   
 P.O. Box 222412                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99522                                                       
 Telephone: 563-5325                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 224                                          
 LARRY LONG, Plumbing Inspector                                                
 City of Fairbanks                                                             
 326 Baranof Ave.                                                              
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                       
 Telephone: 452-5859                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 224                                            
 LEONARD KIMBALL, Building Official                                            
 City and Borough of Kodiak                                                    
 P.O. Box 1397                                                                 
 Kodiak, Alaska 99615                                                          
 Telephone: 486-8070                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 224                                         
 LES BURNETT, President                                                        
 K&L Plumbing and Heating, Inc.                                                
 P.O. Box 773871                                                               
 Eagle River, Alaska 99577                                                     
 Telephone: 696-2441                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 224                                          
 JOHN BUTLER, Owner                                                            
 Johns Heating Service                                                         
 1235 Mill Bay Road                                                            
 Kodiak, Alaska 99615                                                          
 Telephone: 486-3706                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 224                                         
 JEFF BOVEE, President                                                         
 Alaska Best Plumbing and Heating, Inc.                                        
 1845 Caribou Way                                                              
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                       
 Telephone: 455-6506                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 224                                         
 ROYAL BIDWELL                                                                 
 1507 Scenic Loop                                                              
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                       
 Telephone: 479-4377                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 224                                         
 MICHAEL HIRT, Mechanical Contractor                                           
 P.O. Box 81863                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99708                                                       
 Telephone: 479-3771                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 224                                         
 STEVE ANDERSON, Plumbing Contractor                                           
 807 Cloud Road                                                                
 North Pole, Alaska 99705                                                      
 Telephone: 488-1697                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 224                                         
 BILL SAGER, Owner                                                             
 Chandler Heating and Plumbing                                                 
 650 9th Avenue                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                       
 Telephone: 456-4816                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 224                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG                                                  
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 110                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone: 4650-4968                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HB 224                            
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 224                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: STATE PLUMBING CODE                                              
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOHRING,Green                                   
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 03/03/95       564    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/03/95       564    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE                                  
 03/22/95              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 03/27/95              (H)   L&C AT 05:15 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 03/29/95              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 04/10/95              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 04/10/95              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                       
 04/12/95      1281    (H)   L&C RPT  CS(L&C) 2DP 4NR                          
 04/12/95      1281    (H)   DP: KOTT, ROKEBERG                                
 04/12/95      1281    (H)   NR: MASEK, KUBINA, ELTON, SANDERS                 
 04/12/95      1281    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LABOR)                          
 04/12/95      1281    (H)   REFERRED TO RULES                                 
 04/13/95      1327    (H)   STA REFERRAL ADDED                                
 04/20/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 BILL:  HB 304                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: GEOGRAPHIC PAY DIFFERENTIALS                                     
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                  
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 04/07/95      1174    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/07/95      1174    (H)   STA, L&C, FINANCE                                 
 04/07/95      1174    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                     
 04/07/95      1174    (H)   2 FISCAL NOTES (ADM, GOV-ALL DEPT)                
 04/20/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 BILL:  HB 270                                                              
 SHORT TITLE: RETIREMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM                                     
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                  
 JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                ACTION                                      
 03/20/95       813    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/20/95       814    (H)   STA, L&C, FINANCE                                 
 03/20/95       814    (H)   2 FISCAL NOTES (ADM)                              
 03/20/95       814    (H)   INDETERMINATE FN (GOV/ALL DEPTS)                  
 03/20/95       814    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                     
 03/30/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/01/95              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/01/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/04/95              (H)   STA AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/20/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 95-51,  SIDE A                                                           
 Number 000                                                                    
 The meeting of the House State Affairs Standing Committee was                 
 called to order by Chair Jeannette James at 8:09 a.m.  Members                
 present at the call to order were Representatives James, Ogan,                
 Willis, Robinson, Green, and Porter.  Representative Ivan arrived             
 at 8:12 a.m.                                                                  
 HB 224 - STATE PLUMBING CODE                                                
 Number 014                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES announced the first bill on the agenda was HB 224 and             
 called bill sponsor Representative Vic Kohring to provide the                 
 sponsor statement for the bill.                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VIC KOHRING, Sponsor of HB 224, stated the intent of           
 the bill was to give the Department of Labor the authorization to             
 implement the 1994 plumbing code.  He stated this was the last of             
 the plumbing codes needing to be implemented by the legislature.              
 He mentioned the most recent code to be implemented was the                   
 electrical code in 1993.  It passed the House 37 to 3 and the                 
 Senate 16 to 2.  Thus, he thought there was evidence of strong                
 support for this process to implement the current codes from the              
 legislature.  Explaining the history of the bill, he said it                  
 initially had only one referral to the Labor and Commerce Committee           
 and passed after considerable testimony and discussion.  Then,                
 rather than going to the House floor for a vote, he agreed to have            
 it heard in the State Affairs Committee at the request of Chair               
 James.  He mentioned his legislative aide, Mike Tibbles, was with             
 him to help answer any questions on the bill.  He stated he would             
 be glad to answer any questions from the committee.                           
 Number 023                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER asked if he could give a summary of the           
 Labor and Commerce committee substitute for HB 224.                           
 MIKE TIBBLES, Legislative aide, Representative Vic Kohring,                   
 answered that the committee substitute sought to find a compromise            
 on a particular issue of concern with the original bill, although             
 he emphasized that Representative Kohring still felt the thrust of            
 the bill was to give the Department of Labor the authority to adopt           
 and amend the plumbing code and these single issues of concern                
 should be addressed at the level of the department and not in the             
 REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS verified he was saying that the original             
 bill was the one they preferred.                                              
 MR. TIBBLES replied he was correct, although there was a technical            
 amendment added in the committee substitute that amended the                  
 plumbing code to be considered both a publication and any                     
 amendments the Department of Labor adds through the regulatory                
 process.  They were just changing the word publication to the                 
 minimum plumbing code.  He stated the bill sponsor supported this             
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked what was the specific compromise                  
 included in the committee substitute.                                         
 MR. TIBBLES answered the compromise was a grandfather clause that             
 would allow individuals with single wall heat exchangers to have              
 them replaced with a double wall heat exchanger over a three year             
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN verified whether this provision was in the           
 original or the committee substitute.                                         
 MR. TIBBLES replied that was in the committee substitute from the             
 Labor and Commerce Committee.                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what was in the original version of the            
 MR. TIBBLES stated the original bill just contained the section               
 allowing the Department of Labor to update the plumbing code.                 
 Number 138                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if in either version, the Department of           
 Labor could adopt regulations that would be regional in effect,               
 with different considerations for an Arctic environment from those            
 of Southeast Alaska.                                                          
 MR. TIBBLES said he was not sure if this was the case.  He thought            
 maybe the Department of Labor could answer better.                            
 Number 152                                                                    
 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant, Office of Commissioner,                    
 Department of Labor, answered that should they be given the                   
 authority to adopt the updated code by regulation rather than by              
 statute, they would go through the normal regulatory hearing                  
 process to determine where changes needed to be made.  He also                
 mentioned that individuals could apply for waivers to particular              
 provisions of the code.  He stated it was sometimes just a case of            
 common sense.                                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER verified that there were different                      
 considerations given for a community such as Barrow versus                    
 MR. PERKINS responded that he could not say definitely that they              
 would make changes in the code on a regional basis, as it is a                
 statewide code, but that he could say there were waivers given for            
 alternative methods of compliance that did not meet the standard of           
 the code.                                                                     
 Number 204                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN thought the current wording of HB 224 set a              
 minimum statewide standard that would then lock in the Department             
 of Labor into giving individual waivers instead of one general                
 exception, such as on a regional basis.                                       
 MR. PERKINS stated that was correct.                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if the original version of the bill also           
 prohibited the Department of Labor from granting a general variance           
 for regional concerns.                                                        
 MR. PERKINS replied that was also correct.  He pointed out that the           
 code was adopted for the entire state, but because of regional                
 variations, there are waivers granted for particular provisions of            
 the code.  He stated that as long as there were no public safety              
 concerns, he did not see why it would not be granted.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN explained the reason for his questions, was              
 that it seemed to him that a variance should be given to a region,            
 because concerns that affected the whole area, such as climate.  He           
 thought it would be more advantageous to adopt a statewide code               
 that allowed for regional differences.                                        
 Number 243                                                                    
 MR. PERKINS stated this code was considered the minimum standards             
 for the state.  He added that a local municipality could be more              
 strict than the state code, but not less stringent.  He said that             
 most local governments do adopt stricter requirements.  He                    
 emphasized this was just supposed to be the minimum standard                  
 allowed under state law.  He said the Department of Labor would               
 like to see the plumbing code adopted by regulation rather than               
 statute, because of the longer period of time it takes to get                 
 things through the legislative process.  He pointed out the 1994              
 code was already out, but they were still using the 1991 version.             
 He stated they would like to be able to update to the new code and            
 be current.                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN pointed out that even a nationally applicable            
 code may not be functional for circumstances north of the Arctic              
 Circle, as an example.  He asked if there was not some way that the           
 department could adopt the majority of the code as a minimum and              
 still allow for regional variances when necessary.  He thought this           
 could take one of several forms:  1) A general exception for a                
 particular geographical region; 2) establishing a minimum standard            
 that was less strict and then allowing for stricter requirements to           
 be established by regulation for specific areas.  He mentioned that           
 he thought it was meritorious to want to establish a minimum                  
 standard, and in most cases it worked, but there was a large                  
 segment of this state where the standard did not work.  He thought            
 there ought to be a way around this situation.                                
 MR. PERKINS commented that through the regulatory process, he was             
 confident this situation would be addressed.  He assured the                  
 committee that there would be a fair and open process for taking              
 testimony from those that would be affected by this code and that             
 their concerns would be taken into consideration.                             
 Number 295                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if there were not provisions in the               
 code to allow for regional variances to address these concerns.               
 MR. PERKINS stated he could not cite a particular portion of the              
 code where this would be the case, but in the event there was a               
 need for a variance due to climatic conditions, he thought that the           
 waiver process would be appropriate.                                          
 Number 311                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES commented that the issue was regarding single wall heat           
 exchangers versus double wall heat exchangers.  She said the                  
 interior of Alaska uses and feels very strongly that single wall              
 heat exchangers are safe.  Those people in the Anchorage area feel            
 that they are not.  She argued that the disagreement had nothing to           
 do with climate, but whether single wall heat exchangers are safe             
 and if the extra expense was warranted to install double wall heat            
 exchangers, which were also a third less efficient.  She pointed              
 out that there was information contained in the committee packets,            
 which documented that New Jersey had accepted single wall heat                
 exchangers and found them to be safe.  This was not an issue of               
 climatic conditions, she stated.  She said the real issue was                 
 whether single wall heat exchangers were safe and whether the state           
 should require double wall heat exchangers that may or may not be             
 more safe.  She stated she wanted to clarify this point.  She                 
 commented that Mr. Perkins' response to the questions coming from             
 Representatives Green and Porter seemed to indicate that in                   
 adopting the Uniform Plumbing Code by regulation, the department              
 was setting a minimum standard that allowed local governments to be           
 more strict, but not less strict.  She mentioned that both the                
 National Plumbing Code and the International Plumbing Code allowed            
 for single wall heat exchangers and asked if she was understanding            
 him correctly.                                                                
 MR. PERKINS replied she was correct.                                          
 CHAIR JAMES asked if the Department of Labor would be able to give            
 a waiver to an entire municipality or if it would have to be given            
 on a case-by-case basis.                                                      
 Number 374                                                                    
 MR. PERKINS answered that he would think that a waiver would be               
 given to an individual, although he added that should a waiver be             
 given to a municipality, that once given, it is there.                        
 CHAIR JAMES asked what he meant specifically, when he said it is              
 MR. PERKINS responded that he meant that once a waiver is granted             
 to a municipality, then it is in place.  Regarding individual                 
 waivers, he said they are treated on a case-by-case basis.                    
 CHAIR JAMES inquired that should this bill pass and the Department            
 of Labor upgrades the plumbing code by regulation, which then only            
 allows for local variances that are more strict, then would the               
 reason that a single wall heat exchanger is less expensive be                 
 considered by the department as cause to grant a waiver.                      
 MR. PERKINS stated he did not know the answer.  He said that what             
 was being proposed was not just the allowance for single wall heat            
 exchangers, but this allowance based upon the use of propylene                
 glycol in them.  He agreed this substance had been found to be                
 nontoxic.  Under this scenario, he said its not a bad idea.                   
 Number 417                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated he had a bill being heard in Finance             
 Committee and apologized for having to leave.  He argued this                 
 situation demonstrated to him the need to put the plumbing code               
 into statute.  He said he did not know enough about propylene                 
 glycol or single wall heat exchangers to make an intelligent                  
 decision.  Nor did he feel they had the time to study this issue as           
 a collective group.  He thought there was a difference of opinion             
 regarding this issue and argued there was enough concern raised               
 that he would tend to support the committee substitute version from           
 the Labor and Commerce Committee.                                             
 CHAIR JAMES responded that she felt that if the legislature did not           
 allow for single wall heat exchangers at this stage, then they                
 would not be allowed by the Department of Labor, except on a case-            
 by-case basis.  She stated it was her personal opinion that if the            
 reason for requesting a waiver was because of expense, that a                 
 waiver would not be granted.                                                  
 MR. PERKINS replied that should this version of the bill pass                 
 through the legislature, the department will go to the users of               
 this code and act on their input to determine what is best needed             
 for the state of Alaska.  He said it would be erroneous for him to            
 agree to allow for this exemption before the department was even              
 granted the authority to make this decision.  He thought this would           
 lead to accusations that the department did not follow the                    
 regulatory process correctly.  He wanted to assure the committee              
 that the department would make a good rational decision.                      
 Number 466                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES asked if there was a divided interest in this state,              
 then shouldnt the state law, if it is truly the minimum standard,             
 be less strict than all the various interests of the state.  She              
 argued this would allow for those local areas that wanted a                   
 stricter standard to adopt one on their local level.  To require              
 the state code to have more restrictive requirements for compliance           
 would not allow the local municipalities to have less restrictive             
 policies.  She thought that a state code trying to reach the lowest           
 common denominator of allowance, should truly set the minimum                 
 standards statewide and allow the individual local communities set            
 higher standards where appropriate in their areas.                            
 Number 490                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN thought this issue was one of safety and            
 not climate.  He stated the concern was over single wall or double            
 wall, because of fear of contaminants getting into the potable                
 water and poisoning people.  He argued that if it was safe for one            
 area of the state, it should be safe for all areas of the state.              
 He suggested that climatic conditions were not an issue, because              
 these units were in the house next to the boiler.  He felt the                
 basic motivation for an exemption in a particular area was simply             
 Number 506                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he would take an exception to the prior             
 speaker, but would agree on the fact that it was an issue of                  
 safety.  He asked if there had been a problem with single wall heat           
 exchangers that have killed or poisoned people.  He pointed out               
 that single wall heat exchangers have been the norm for many years.           
 He also mentioned that he saw in the committee packet, that                   
 propylene glycol was used in things such as ice cream and salad               
 dressings.  He did not think that anyone would be placing poisonous           
 substances, even in low quantities, in food products such as these.           
 Thus, he was concerned that we might be jumping on the bandwagon,             
 because it was a popular thing to do in other states.  He pointed             
 out that Alaska was probably the most diverse state in the country            
 and our regional differences were more acute.  He stated he was               
 concerned about establishing such a requirement under the guise of            
 safety reasons, when no one could cite any evidence of a safety               
 problem.  He failed to understand why we would require a more                 
 expensive alternative with no justified reason other than that                
 Alaska wanted to adopt the Uniform Code and be like everyone                  
 Number 527                                                                    
 MR. PERKINS said that under AS 18.60.735, there is given the                  
 authority of local municipalities to adopt plumbing codes that are            
 not any less stringent than the ones adopted by the state.  He                
 stated this does not mean they have to adopt the Uniform Plumbing             
 Code, as long as their requirements are as strict as those of the             
 UPC.  Regarding the single wall/double wall issue, he reiterated              
 the department could not be put in the position of being forced to            
 make a decision before they even go through the regulatory process.           
 Number 552                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN emphasized it was not an issue of the                    
 Department of Labor making a commitment before going through the              
 regulatory process.  He stated the real question was why the                  
 requirements had to be set so strict in the first place, instead of           
 at a lower level.  If the reasons were for safety issues, then he             
 would like to hear examples of where there have been safety                   
 Number 573                                                                    
 MR. PERKINS answered there was one incident where an individual put           
 ethylene glycol, rather than propylene glycol, into their system.             
 The heat exchanger then had a problem that allowed the ethylene               
 glycol to get into the potable water and it was ingested.  He said            
 he could not recall the specifics.                                            
 MR. TIBBLES stated he did know of a situation in Anchorage, where             
 there was a pinhole leak in a heat exchanger that allowed the                 
 propylene glycol to get into the drinking water.                              
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what the results of this incident were.            
 He asked if someone was killed or made violently sick or what?                
 MR. TIBBLES said the written testimony was that the person said he            
 was not feeling so well.                                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated the point he was trying to get at, was            
 whether or not this was creating a situation of overkill.  He                 
 mentioned that when someone violates a traffic law and kills                  
 someone else, the state then does not prohibit all people of that             
 same age group from driving on the highway.  He felt this was what            
 this bill was trying to do.  Because of the remote situation where            
 an individual puts in the wrong type of fluid or has a pinhole                
 leak, the state is then deciding that it is necessary to enforce              
 these stricter, more expensive requirements on everyone who puts in           
 a heat exchanger.  He emphasized that he was in favor of safety,              
 but was also in favor of rationale.  He said he could not see that            
 the state was acting responsibly to force public compliance, when             
 there has not been a problem in the past.  Had there been several             
 situations of poisoning or failures, then he could see this as a              
 real needed remedy, but this situation seemed worse to him, than              
 throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Thus, he thought that             
 there may need to a lower statewide requirement or some type of               
 regional exception.                                                           
 CHAIR JAMES asked if there were any other questions from the                  
 committee, and mentioned that there were people on teleconference             
 waiting to testify.  She called on Mary Lou Vilandre to testify               
 from Sitka.                                                                   
 Number 625                                                                    
 MARY LOU VILANDRE, resident of Sitka, stated she had both some                
 questions and testimony.  She asked if the code had not been                  
 upgraded from 1979 to 1991, which was 12 years, then why rush into            
 this code change.  She also asked if local municipalities were                
 allowed to be exempt, then who would be legally responsible for any           
 liability, the state or the local government?  Finally, she asked             
 for a definition for the proposed amendment phrase of practically             
 CHAIR JAMES asked the bill sponsor if he could answer the question            
 of why it was necessary to rush into making these changes in the              
 plumbing code.                                                                
 MR. TIBBLES answered that he did not feel that they were rushing              
 into adoption of a new code, but were just giving the Department of           
 Labor the authority to make that upgrade and amend the code to make           
 it more applicable to Alaska.  He stated the bill does not say that           
 the department will adopt the 1994 code, but just has the authority           
 to upgrade and amend the code when necessary.                                 
 CHAIR JAMES asked  Ms. Vilandre if she could stay on teleconference           
 and they would try to get the answers to her questions later in the           
 MS. VILANDRE said she could and stated she would rather have a                
 public hearing in the legislative process, when a new code is                 
 adopted and not just to go through the regulatory process.                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING mentioned that Representative Norm Rokeberg,           
 Chair of the subcommittee that heard this bill in the Labor and               
 Commerce Committee, was present and asked that he be allowed to               
 come to the table and be available to answer questions.                       
 CHAIR JAMES invited Representative Rokeberg to the committee table.           
 She called Pat Knowles to testify via teleconference from                     
 Number 663                                                                    
 PAT KNOWLES, Owner, Mountain Mechanical,  stated he would try to              
 answer some of the questions he heard asked earlier.  He commented            
 he could cite examples of situations that had occurred, but did not           
 think that was the point.  He argued the reason for the requirement           
 for double wall boilers was to try to prevent a danger should an              
 individual put ethylene glycol in their boiler, which then                    
 contaminated the potable water supply.  He said the cost of                   
 ethylene glycol was about a third of the cost of propylene glycol,            
 which he felt was an incentive for many people to try to use it in            
 their boiler.  He argued that there was no difference in cost for             
 installation of a double wall heat exchanger from a single wall               
 heat exchanger and argued there was not a very large loss of                  
 efficiency between a single wall unit and a double wall unit.  He             
 said the only difference in cost was for the initial purchase of              
 the unit.  He claimed the beauty of the double wall system was that           
 should there be a failure of the system, it dumped the fluids onto            
 the floor.  You did not have this indicator in a single wall heat             
 TAPE  95-51, SIDE B                                                           
 Number 000                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES asked if it was not true, that should there be a leak             
 in a single wall heat exchanger, that the pressure of the water in            
 the water lines is so much more than the pressure of the water in             
 the boiler, that the direction of travel would be from the water              
 lines to the boiler, which would cause the relief valve to be                 
 Number 040                                                                    
 MR. KNOWLES commented that he realized he was talking to someone              
 that was knowledgeable on this subject.  He agreed that in most               
 instances this was the case.  He said that even if the relief valve           
 failed, someone monitoring the boiler would notice that the                   
 pressure was higher.  He stated that unfortunately, these relief              
 valves sit unused for years and corrode shut.  He could foresee a             
 situation where should there be a lime deposit covering a pinhole,            
 that should the water pressure be shut off such as during a repair,           
 this pinhole would be opened and could allow contamination into the           
 potable water.  He thought the question that needed to be                     
 considered was whether someone wanted to drink the substance they             
 were using to heat their domestic water supply.                               
 Number 087                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES pointed out that the National Plumbing Code allows the            
 use of single wall heat exchangers, with three conditions that must           
 be met.  One of these conditions requires that it be posted what              
 substances are allowed to be put into the boiler.  She asked if he            
 felt it was necessary to require double wall heat exchangers,                 
 because people could not be trusted to read those signs.  She asked           
 if he thought it was necessary for government to be their big                 
 MR. KNOWLES replied that one could think of it that way, but argued           
 that when many of those installing these systems do not know the              
 difference, then how can it be expected that the average homeowner            
 will?  He thought that when there was a system that would prevent             
 contamination of the water supply, then why would you want to use             
 any other system?                                                             
 Number 140                                                                    
 EUGENE RUTLAND, Executive Director, Mechanical Contractors of                 
 Fairbanks, stated their organization was engaged in the plumbing              
 and heating industry in Fairbanks.  He said their organization                
 supported the use of single wall heat exchangers.  He argued that             
 the requirement of a double wall heat exchanger in the Uniform                
 Plumbing Code, was a solution looking for a problem.  He                      
 mentioned the cumulative experience of their organizations                    
 membership totalled hundreds of years, virtually all of it in the             
 Arctic area.  Their members had no first hand knowledge of any                
 death or illness caused by a single wall heat exchanger.  He stated           
 that the Corps of Engineers follows the National Standard Plumbing            
 Code, which does not require the use of double wall heat                      
 exchangers, and so all military bases in the state of Alaska use              
 single wall heat exchangers for the heating of domestic hot water.            
 He said their organization would like to see the use of single wall           
 heat exchangers allowed in HB 224, as they would feel more                    
 comfortable with this allowance in statute than in regulation.                
 Additionally, their members opposed allowing the Department of                
 Labor to adopt and amend the Uniform Plumbing Code by regulation,             
 as it governs such an important part of their industry.  He wanted            
 to urge the committee to listen to the people in the industry, who            
 use and understand plumbing codes and have actual experience of the           
 results from the requirements of these codes.                                 
 Number 190                                                                    
 ROGER COURTNEY, a plumber in Anchorage, supported the concept of              
 adopting the plumbing code by regulation, rather than by statute.             
 REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG asked if he was not the building                 
 official and chief plumbing inspector for the municipality of                 
 MR. COURTNEY responded he was not the building official.  He stated           
 he was the plumbing and mechanical inspector for the city of                  
 Anchorage, but was speaking only on behalf of himself.                        
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if he sat on the committee that wrote           
 the relevant codes for the Uniform Plumbing Code.                             
 MR. COURTNEY said he was.                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what his position was regarding                 
 exemptions for single wall heat exchangers.                                   
 MR. COURTNEY stated he was on a committee that approved the change            
 in that code section, that did not allow single wall heat                     
 exchangers.  He said the reason the committee came up with that               
 recommendation was because of the inability of any government                 
 agency to control the types of solutions being put into these                 
 boilers.  They thought that the double wall heat exchanger was the            
 safer way to go.                                                              
 Number 240                                                                    
 STEVE SHUTTLEWORTH thanked the committee for the opportunity to               
 address HB 224 and the single wall heat exchanger amendment.  He              
 mentioned he had recently sent down some information from the Fuel            
 Merchants Association of New Jersey.  He stated the amendment                 
 allowing for the single wall heat exchanger was derived from the              
 efforts of this organization and the National Association of                  
 Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors.  He commented these               
 provisions were ultimately incorporated into the 1991 National                
 Standard Plumbing Code and are the same identical verbatim                    
 amendments as adopted by the city of Kodiak in 1992 and the city of           
 Fairbanks in 1994.  He noted that this association has 300                    
 companies and supplies fuel for the entire state of New Jersey and            
 parts of New York and the upper New England area.  Regarding the              
 safety issue, he read from a presentation to the National                     
 Association of Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors from a              
 New York law firm hired by the Fuel Merchant Association of New               
 Jersey.  He said this presentation documented that they have not              
 had a situation of glycol poisoning in four years, which covered 10           
 million installations.  He stated these figures were from the                 
 Department of Commerce in the federal government.  He argued the              
 reason was that there were so many independent and unlikely things            
 that have to come together, that the chances are so minuscule, as             
 not to be measurable.  He mentioned that Representative Green was             
 correct, that everything had to go wrong for a long time to                   
 contaminate the water supply.  To create a problem:  1) The wrong             
 type of material had to be introduce into the system, with odds of            
 1 in 50; 2) there must be a failure in the heat exchanger system,             
 with odds of 1 in 10; 3) there must be a leak or leaks in gaskets,            
 with odds of 1 in 2; 4) a leak in the heat exchanger coil must be             
 undetected, with odds of 1 in 100; 5) the pressure of the water               
 supply must fall below the boiler pressure, with odds of 1 in 1000;           
 6) there must be failure to detect the problem, with odds of 1 in             
 100; and 7) at the time all of this is going wrong, the system has            
 to be functional for culinary purposes, with odds of 1 in 64.  He             
 commented there were odds of 1 in 10 of failure to detect a change            
 in odor and color at the tap source.  When all of this is                     
 calculated, the chance of glycol poisoning is 1 in 6.4 trillion.              
 He argued that even if it was thought that these odds were                    
 inflated, there was still a 1 in 3.2 trillion chance of glycol                
 poisoning if you cut the odds in half.  He thought the safety issue           
 had been addressed, but was simply being ignored for the purposes             
 of this discussion.  He stated the result of this presentation was            
 the National Association of Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling                    
 Contractors supported single wall coil heat exchangers with the               
 same provisions implemented and adopted by the cities of Kodiak and           
 Fairbanks for the last several years.  He felt there would be a               
 rippling effect of this bill on other Alaska statutes.  He said               
 that Administrative Act AS 118.269 required that all Alaska Housing           
 Finance Corporation projects meet minimum construction standards,             
 including the 1991 Uniform Plumbing Code, which has not been                  
 amended.  Any building funded in part or whole by the corporation             
 is required to comply with this code, which does not allow for                
 single wall coil heat exchangers.  AS 18.60.705 exempts the                   
 application of the Uniform Plumbing Code to villages with a                   
 population under 2500 people.  He argued this was contradictory, in           
 that if there was a problem with glycol poisoning in the urban                
 areas, it will exist in the rural areas as well.  He asserted that            
 the only examples cited by the Department of Labor of problems with           
 glycol poisoning were in the rural villages.  He asked if we were             
 writing the Alaska Native off.  He felt this was not the case, but            
 that the state was not really addressing the problem.  He thought             
 it was conveniently trying to legislate itself out of a problem.              
 In closing, he urged the committee to support the use of single               
 wall heat exchangers.  He mentioned the city of Fairbanks had                 
 received the support of the Alaska State Professional Engineers               
 Association, Interior Builders Association, City of Valdez, and the           
 City and Borough of Kodiak on this issue.  He encouraged the                  
 committee to closely consider the alleged safety issue and offered            
 to answer any questions from the committee.                                   
 Number 410                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON asked whether copies of the proposed            
 amendment had been sent to the Legislative Information Offices.               
 CHAIR JAMES stated she would check with her staff.                            
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING commented that the discussion seemed to be             
 centering on whether single wall coil heat exchangers were safe.              
 He thought this discussion would be more appropriate on the level             
 of the regulatory public hearing process, once the Department of              
 Labor were granted the authority to adopt the plumbing code by                
 CHAIR JAMES responded this was a public hearing and that the                  
 legislature was charged with writing the laws of this state.  She             
 thought this was an appropriate place to address this problem and             
 pointed out that the public hearings for the regulatory process               
 were not the same as those of the legislature.                                
 TOM GERVAIS, President, Alkota Heating and Plumbing, expressed his            
 opinion that if there was a slight chance for contamination in the            
 potable water with a single wall coil heat exchanger, then he would           
 prefer that people not be at risk when there is a device available            
 to protect the public from this danger.  He felt we should not wait           
 for someone to die before this is addressed as a safety issue.                
 Number 425                                                                    
 LARRY LONG, Plumbing Inspector, City of Fairbanks, said he was                
 representing the city of Fairbanks as its plumbing inspector for              
 the past 13 years.  He commented he was a resident of Fairbanks for           
 35 years and that he had drank water from a single wall coil heat             
 exchanger with no adverse health effects.  He said he faces these             
 types of problems every day.  He thought HB 224 presents more                 
 problems than it solves.  He stated his concerns were:  1) This               
 bill limits the state of Alaska to only one choice of a plumbing              
 code, which will prevent the state from selecting another code that           
 may better suit its needs; 2) the Department of Labor will be                 
 allowed to amend the code when it is in the best interest of the              
 state.  He argued that he would rather do his job for the best                
 interests of the citizens of this state, not the state itself; 3)             
 the transfer of power from the legislative branch to the regulatory           
 agencies, seemed regressive to him, in that the national trend was            
 towards less government and more local control.  He argued the                
 single wall/double wall coil heat exchanger debate speaks for                 
 itself.  He stated the proposed amendment that allowed the use of             
 a single wall coil heat exchanger to be phased out over a three               
 year period was nonsense, saying that single wall heat exchangers             
 will be safe for the next three years, but not after that point.              
 He said he did not know what would change about these coils in the            
 next three years, considering that these systems had been in use              
 for over one hundred years.  He reiterated he thought the safety              
 issue for single wall coil heat exchangers speaks for itself.  He             
 mentioned the city of Fairbanks had 14 proposed amendments to the             
 Uniform Plumbing Code and was concerned that they would have to               
 apply for individual waivers for each of these amendments.  He                
 argued the Department of Labor did have the authority to grant                
 exceptions to the code, and quoted AS 18.67.010, which listed the             
 duties of the department, including and may grant exceptions from             
 specific code.  He urged the committee to give the ability to the             
 local governments, where there is a building department in place,             
 to establish building codes appropriate for their area, rather than           
 establishing one general provision for the entire state.                      
 Number 486                                                                    
 LEONARD KIMBELL, Building Official, City and Borough of Kodiak,               
 emphasized that the city and borough of Kodiak have both requested            
 an exception from the Uniform Plumbing Code to allow the use of               
 single wall coil heat exchangers.  This system has worked well for            
 over four decades without report of injury.  He argued that to                
 outlaw a system with this strong of a track record runs contrary to           
 the intent of building codes, which is to provide a minimum                   
 standard of safety for the public.  He stated the majority of this            
 countrys plumbing codes allow the use of a single wall coil heat              
 exchanger.  He urged the committee to adopt the amendment proposed            
 by Chair Jeannette James to allow the use of single wall coil heat            
 exchangers.  There was a real effort to establish a single building           
 and plumbing code for the entire nation.  The heat exchanger issue            
 was not limited to the state of Alaska, but is a national issue.              
 He said there were three building code organizations in the United            
 States and four plumbing code organizations.  The federal                     
 government has become disturbed with having to design projects and            
 write specifications for projects in different parts of the                   
 country, each with their own code.  Thus, they are encouraging the            
 model code organizations to establish a single code for the entire            
 nation.  He said there was a new plumbing code, the International             
 Plumbing Code, that has received the endorsement of the model                 
 plumbing code organizations and by the Council of American Building           
 Officials, which is the organization representing all of the major            
 model code groups.  He stated he had just attended a conference               
 where the Uniform Plumbing Code was described as the cadillac of              
 plumbing codes.  He argued that Alaska could not afford Cadillacs             
 anymore.  He thought it may be premature to outlaw the use of                 
 single wall heat exchangers.  If a national plumbing code is                  
 adopted, he said it looked like their proposed amendment allowing             
 the use of single wall heat exchangers would be adopted in this               
 code word for word.  He reiterated these systems have operated                
 safely for over four decades and are still allowed in most of the             
 country.  He thanked the committee for their consideration of this            
 Number 533                                                                    
 LES BURNETT, President, K&L Plumbing and Heating, Inc., stated he             
 thought that the main problem was money and the lack of education             
 of people as to the possibilities of what may or may not happen.              
 He asked if it was worth saving a few dollars at the expense of an            
 individual or their familys life.  He said there were several                 
 instances of cases where there were problems, and he could take               
 people to places in Eagle River where people were putting ethylene            
 glycol in boilers.  Fortunately, some of these were not tied into             
 the potable water system, he said.  He claimed there was nothing to           
 prevent people from putting regular car antifreeze in their                   
 boilers and heat exchangers.  Regarding the plumbing code, he said            
 the Uniform Plumbing Code was one of the most accepted in the                 
 world.  He did not see why the state should even consider changing            
 to something less.                                                            
 JOHN BUTLER, Owner, Johns Heating Service, commented that he had              
 heard a legislator state in a prior teleconference, that they would           
 not like to have the liability for a single wall coil heat                    
 exchanger.  He stated it was sad that most of the people passing              
 judgement did not work in the field and see what was required in              
 order to make these coils work, even when they are single wall.               
 He said he often had to run boilers up to 220 degrees.  He felt               
 that if double wall coil heat exchangers were required, that he               
 would have to run boilers up to 240 degrees.  He thought this was             
 a potentially dangerous situation, commenting that they already had           
 to bypass some of the safety mechanisms to prevent people from                
 scalding themselves.  He said that the trade journals were full of            
 articles of people suing manufacturers as long as 10 years after              
 getting burned on a boiler or water heater.  He thought this bill             
 would take a system that was barely efficient now, and substitute             
 it with something that was less efficient.  He reiterated he was              
 totally supportive of the single wall coil heat exchanger.                    
 JEFF BOVEE, President, Alaska Best Plumbing and Heating, Inc., said           
 the Uniform Plumbing Code was the most restrictive of the plumbing            
 codes.  Thus, he argued it was not a minimum standard, but a                  
 maximum.  He mentioned the boiler manufacturers do not ship double            
 wall coil heat exchangers as standard equipment, but only offer it            
 as an after market product for the boilers installed in Alaska.  He           
 argued that the manufacturers do not see a danger in the single               
 wall coil heat exchangers and have accepted the liability for them.           
 He stated he had been told that in order to make the change to                
 allow for single wall heat exchangers, he had to petition the court           
 system or the legislature.  He urged the legislature to grant this            
 change to allow for single wall coil heat exchangers.                         
 Number 598                                                                    
 ROYAL BIDWELL stated he was opposed to HB 224, with or without the            
 single wall coil heat exchanger amendment.  He felt if this bill              
 passed, then those affected by the regulations of the Department of           
 Labor would not have any voice in the regulations imposed upon                
 them.  He said he began working in the plumbing and heating                   
 wholesale business in 1967 and had been buying and selling single             
 wall coil heat exchangers ever since.  This amounted to many                  
 thousands of units.  He said he was not aware of a single case                
 where someone even got sick from glycol that contaminated their               
 drinking water.  The only rumor of such an incident turned out                
 recently to be false.  He reminded the committee that propylene               
 glycol, the type used in residential heating systems, is found in             
 many different food items.  It is of very low toxicity when drank             
 directly and is diluted by about 60 percent when mixed with water             
 in a boiler system.  He recognized that someone could not be                  
 prevented from using ethylene glycol in their heat exchanger, but             
 argued that an individual could not be prevented from using a                 
 single wall coil heat exchanger in their boiler system either.  He            
 said the most popular size of a double wall coil heat exchanger for           
 residential boilers cost the homeowner about $1500 installed.  He             
 thought they were inefficient, using roughly twice the amount of              
 tubing to get the same output of a single wall coil heat exchanger            
 system.  He mentioned he had talked to an individual who had used             
 the double wall coil system on a project and had to remove them               
 because of inefficiency.  This individual also stated that the                
 double wall tankless coil that replaces the single wall coil in a             
 boiler, costs three to four times the cost of a single wall coil              
 system.  He commented that the cost of a double wall coil heat                
 exchanger system for a commercial boiler costs roughly double that            
 of a comparable single wall coil system.  He mentioned a quote he             
 had given a contractor of $16,000 for the double wall coil system,            
 which had a deduct of $6,900 for the comparable single wall coil              
 system.  This amounted to a 43 percent difference in price, he                
 said.  He argued that banning single wall coil heat exchangers                
 would be banning the best heat exchange technology available today.           
 He commented this technology was being used all over Europe, where            
 safety and environmental issues were much stricter than in the                
 United States.  This technology is spreading very rapidly in the              
 northeastern states and in the Rocky Mountain region.  He felt                
 there was no real health or safety issue, yet we are applying                 
 restrictions and controls that are difficult to comply with and               
 expensive.  He stated that as an engineering student, his                     
 instructors encouraged them to apply the KISS formula.  This meant            
 Keep It Simple Stupid.  He thought this was a good example of where           
 this formula needed to be applied.                                            
 Number 547                                                                    
 MICHAEL HIRT, Mechanical Contractor, noted that this bill promoted            
 the idea of the Department of Labor having the ability to adopt and           
 amend the plumbing code by regulation.  He said the department has            
 created a lot of friction in the Fairbanks area by their attempts             
 to control the administration of the code.  He mentioned the city             
 of Fairbanks has successfully challenged these attempts in court.             
 He felt the city was consistently being bombarded by the attempts             
 of the state to rule and administer the local government.  He                 
 argued it was never the intent of the Constitution of the state of            
 Alaska to give such centralized power to such an entity.  He quoted           
 Article 1, Section 2: All political powers inherent in the people,            
 all government originates with the people, is founded upon their              
 will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as             
 a whole.  He stated that when the idea of a borough was                       
 considered, the delegates drafting its conception deliberately                
 eliminated the word county, as they felt it lacked the power they             
 wanted boroughs to have.  Article 10, Section 1, states The                   
 purpose of this article is to provide for a maximum local self                
 government with a minimum of local government units.  Article 10,             
 Section 2, states All local government powers shall be vested in              
 boroughs and cities.  Article 10, Section 6, gives power to the               
 legislature only where a lack of organization exists.  Article 10,            
 Section 11, states A home-rule borough or city may exercise all               
 legislative power not prohibited by law or by charter.  He thought            
 it was clear that a political subdivision, such as a city or                  
 borough that shows itself to be responsible should not have this              
 constant interference from the Department of Labor.  Referring to             
 AS 18.60.735, he commented on a contradictory part of the statute,            
 which he felt should be eliminated.  He argued it was the source of           
 the usurpation of power by state officials.  This section is where            
 the statute states, no less stringent than those established under            
 AS 18.60.705.  He felt that the idea of less stringent strengthens            
 the thought that the legislature holds the ultimate power and it is           
 not the intent of home-rule entities.  He asked if the people at              
 the legislative level were somehow more competent, careful, or                
 capable than those people at the city or borough level.  He argued            
 they were not.  An example of where the less stringent issue                  
 causes a problem, is section 1007E of the Uniform Plumbing Code,              
 that states that all relief valves shall be extended outside and              
 allowed to release on the ground.  They have chosen to be less                
 stringent in the Fairbanks area, because if they did not, the                 
 dripping relief valves could freeze the drain pipe shut, creating             
 a very lethal and destructive bomb.  Section 1008C2 of the Uniform            
 Plumbing Code states that underground copper piping should be                 
 brazed.  This does not work in the Arctic environment, as when                
 brazed piping freezes, it is very brittle.  To avoid damage from              
 freezing, the Fairbanks area is less stringent and requires brass             
 flare fittings to be used.  After citing other examples of where              
 they needed to be less stringent, he stated that with regard to the           
 issue of single wall and double wall coil heat exchangers, they               
 were less stringent and would continue to be, because the dangers             
 were hypothetical and not real.  He felt they were less dangerous             
 than electricity at home or driving a car.  He stated that AS                 
 18.67.010, already gives regulatory power to the Department of                
 Labor, which is the stated intent of HB 224.  This section also               
 states that the department is responsible for the administration of           
 the code.  He thought that to comply with Alaskas Constitution,               
 this section only applies to where a city or borough is not                   
 organized, or fails to administer the code.  Even when the                    
 Department of Labor is looking out for the public welfare, it                 
 cannot impose an undue financial burden on citizens.  In closing,             
 he cited several examples of where the government requires                    
 compliance, but the private sector provides the expertise to insure           
 that it works.  He reiterated his opposition to HB 224, because of            
 its redundancy with state statutes and its contradictions with                
 Alaskas Constitution.                                                         
 Number 706                                                                    
 STEVE ANDERSON, plumbing contractor, stated his opposition to the             
 outlawing of the single wall coil heat exchanger and the adoption             
 of plumbing code by regulation.  He said he was not a government              
 official, engineer, or qualified in design, but thought that he had           
 heard substantial testimony to influence his decision in support of           
 the single wall coil heat exchanger.  He felt this bill should only           
 be considered after detailed communication with those who will be             
 using and complying with this code on a daily basis.  He stated               
 this bill would force him to require compliance by his customers,             
 that will cost them a considerable amount of money, without any               
 demonstration of increased protection from a significant health               
 threat or other significant benefit.  He thought that this position           
 would undermine both his personal integrity and the minimum trust             
 that the public needs to have in their government.  He stated he              
 had worked in the industry as a plumbing contractor for 21 years.             
 TAPE 95-52, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES mentioned that due to time constraints, it seemed                 
 unlikely that the committee would be hearing either HB 304 or HB
 270.  She urged those on teleconference to fax their opinions or              
 written testimony to her fax number at 465-2381.  She said these              
 bills would be rescheduled and they would be able to testify at a             
 later date.                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN commented he wished he could have heard              
 testimony from his home area.  He pledged to follow this bill and             
 seek feedback from his district as to how this bill would affect              
 local construction jobs and home building in this type of rural               
 area.  He asked if anyone could answer his concerns as to what type           
 of impact this legislation would have on rural Alaska, with regard            
 to plumbing codes.                                                            
 CHAIR JAMES asked how many people lived in the largest communities            
 in his district.                                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN replied that Bethel had about 5000-6000 people.           
 CHAIR JAMES stated this bill would apply to Bethel, explaining                
 there was an exemption to those communities under 2500 people.  She           
 said she did not know whether they were using single wall or double           
 wall coil heat exchangers in Bethel.                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING asked Mr. Perkins, representative of the               
 Department of Labor, if he agreed with the statements of Chair                
 MR. PERKINS agreed that in communities under 2500 people, the                 
 provisions of the Uniform Plumbing Code were not enforced.                    
 Number 043                                                                    
 BILL SAGER, Owner, Chandler Plumbing and Heating, expressed his               
 opposition to the requirement of a double wall coil heat exchanger            
 in the 1994 Uniform Plumbing Code.  He mentioned he had been active           
 in the plumbing and heating industry since 1954.  He stated he was            
 not aware of any failures of single wall coil heat exchangers that            
 created health problems.  He emphasized there was only a small                
 degree of safety to be achieved with the double wall coil heat                
 exchanger, with a very large expense.  He asked how much safety the           
 state and public could afford.  In closing, he stated his belief              
 that this and other codes should be adopted by the statutory                  
 process and not by regulation.                                                
 Number 098                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if there was a scheduled date when              
 the committee would be hearing HB 304 and HB 270.  She asked if               
 they would be meeting on Saturday.                                            
 CHAIR JAMES replied that she did not plan to meet on Saturday,                
 because there may be a conflict with the time of session.  Thus,              
 she was planning on these bills being rescheduled for Tuesday,                
 April 25, 1995.  She stated there would be a public notice of this            
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated the Labor and Commerce committee               
 heard substantial testimony on this bill and referred it to a                 
 subcommittee.  He said they were trying to reach a compromise                 
 situation.  He said the Labor and Commerce committee substitute for           
 this bill:  1) Brings those installations of single wall heat                 
 exchangers up to code with the 1991 code; and 2) gives specific               
 authority for municipal governments or boroughs with building codes           
 to request a waiver for the use of single wall coil heat                      
 exchangers.  The areas that are not covered under this version of             
 the bill are those areas outside of these jurisdictions in the                
 unorganized boroughs of the state or areas that are not covered by            
 a building code, such as the Fairbanks North Star Borough.  This              
 was the compromise of the committee because of the concerns for               
 public safety and the potential liability of the state in adopting            
 a plumbing and making it applicable everywhere in the state.  He              
 said there was also testimony stating that the full exemption for             
 single wall coil heat exchangers, as suggested by Chair James,                
 would influence the code proceedings currently underway in the                
 municipality of Anchorage, as they are between the board review and           
 the assembly's adoption of the plumbing code in Anchorage.  He                
 thought they were pitting Anchorage against Fairbanks and a few               
 outlying areas.  After hearing the testimony, he hoped this                   
 committee would agree with the recommendations of the Labor and               
 Commerce Committee, to meet over the interim and develop a                    
 regulatory system for all building codes and plumbing codes that              
 would be adopted for the state and allow for an orderly procedure             
 for local amendments under these codes.  He stated this was their             
 intention and the reason for the provision of a three year sunset             
 of single wall coil heat exchangers.  He said it was their                    
 intention to remove from the legislature this regulatory writing              
 and their wasted time in discussing a local amendment to a                    
 building code.  He added that the current regulatory procedure does           
 not provide for the orderly review of building code amendments.  He           
 reemphasized that they allowed the municipalities to create                   
 waivers as they are restricted by state law to only adopt codes               
 that are more stringent than that of the state law.  He mentioned             
 there were existing waivers and exemptions under current state                
 statute.  Under 18.60.710, there is the ability of the department             
 administering the code to make exemptions from this code.  He                 
 reiterated the intent of this bill was to adopt the Uniform                   
 Plumbing Code for Alaska.  He was concerned about this bill getting           
 caught up in controversy and not getting adopted.  He suggested an            
 amendment to page 3, line 8, Subsection B, under Section 4 of the             
 Labor and Commerce committee substitute for HB 224, to add the                
 language and the Department of Labor may grant an exemption under             
 AS 18.60.710.  This provision allows the department to take into              
 consideration where implementation is impractical and special                 
 consideration to outlying villages and slightly populated areas.              
 He stated he wanted to meet the concerns of Chair James, while not            
 holding up this bill.  He said that he had one final point, that              
 this bill allowed for replacement of an existing system, during               
 this three year period, with a single wall coil heat exchanger, but           
 required new installations to be a double wall coil heat exchanger            
 boiler system.  This was his recommended fix for this problem, as             
 opposed to Chair James' proposed amendment.                                   
 Number 260                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES responded that she agrees that the legislature should             
 not be making regional exemptions.  She said that was not her                 
 intent.  Her intent was to have a state law that was at the minimum           
 and not the maximum.  She also stated that recognizing the                    
 diversity of this state, that as a legislator, she felt the                   
 legislature should be passing laws that were the lowest common                
 denominator.  She thought it should be expected that a law should             
 be in effect for the entire state and if local areas wish to make             
 their rules more strict, then they should have that right.  She did           
 not feel it was good public policy to set state law at the highest            
 common denominator and then allow local governments to exempt                 
 themselves.  She did not feel that issue was whether or not they              
 were addressing a specific regional concern, but whether it was in            
 the best interest of the state to have the lowest common                      
 denominator law and then allow the local municipalities to apply              
 stricter standards, if appropriate.  She reiterated that she agreed           
 they should not be addressing a regional concern, and argued this             
 was not what she was doing, but that she was putting forth a                  
 position of the lowest common denominator of law.  She stated she             
 thought the issue was how safe they could afford to be.  Her                  
 personal philosophy with regard to rules, regulations and laws, was           
 that the closer to the people they could get when making rules and            
 regulations, the better they would be.  Thus, she would hope to               
 have most of those decisions made at the local level.  She stated             
 she would like to trust those people as they were closer to the               
 people and this government was supposed to be of and by the people.           
 Throughout the course of this session, she had been trying to make            
 regulations less restrictive and more responsive to the public and            
 with legislative oversight.  She stated this bill was in opposition           
 to her personal philosophy, in that it gives carte blanche                    
 authority to the Department of Labor to write these regulations,              
 without any mechanism for legislative oversight.  Thus, she opposes           
 implementing any code by regulation, believing it is something the            
 legislature should be listening to the entire state on.  She also             
 disagreed that they could not make a good decision, as they were              
 not plumbers or mechanical contractors.  She said that was why they           
 had the public process to take testimony from experts in the                  
 community.  She thought that as legislators, they have been                   
 assigned to make decisions on what state laws are necessary, and              
 should feel competent to make those decisions.  She stated she                
 would take Representative Rokebergs recommendations under                     
 advisement and hold this bill until the next meeting, as they were            
 out of time.                                                                  
 Number 332                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG mentioned that he understood it was                   
 necessary to move this bill quickly, in order to accommodate those            
 people that were not in compliance with the 1991 code.  He pointed            
 out that under the 1991 code, single wall coil heat exchangers are            
 absolutely forbidden in this state, without exception.                        
 CHAIR JAMES agreed this was the case, but stated it was a matter of           
 whether you wanted to take the pill with water or whether you want            
 to take the pill with sour grapes.  She reminded the committee                
 that the only reason this bill was filed, as testified by the                 
 sponsor, was to allow the Department of Labor to adopt the updated            
 1994 plumbing code by regulation.  She said that the issue of                 
 single wall or double wall coil heat exchangers had not been a                
 problem, as the Department of Labor had not been active in                    
 enforcing penalties for violations of this section of the code.               
 She stated that the people in her district were willing to continue           
 with the status quo and work on this problem in the interim.                  
 Should there be resistance to a solution that is the lowest common            
 denominator, then maybe the other alternative is to do nothing at             
 Number 360                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING reminded the committee that they were just             
 simply trying to upgrade the code and that the Department of Labor            
 already had a version of the code they were currently                         
 administering.  He felt Representative Rokebergs suggestions were             
 reasonable solutions to this issue.                                           
 CHAIR JAMES said the language was not before her, and she hesitated           
 to make a conceptual decision on an issue that was so substantial.            
 She stated she would be willing to look at this language, once it             
 was drafted, and see if it is a fair solution.  She was also                  
 concerned whether they could legally allow municipalities to take             
 a lesser standard than that of the state.  Should that be the                 
 intent, she did not feel that it would work.  Secondly, she was               
 concerned that this bill would obligate the Department of Labor to            
 enforce the entire Uniform Plumbing Code, without exception.                  
 Additionally, the question needed to be answered whether there                
 could be a waiver granted for the whole municipality, or whether it           
 would need to be granted on a case-by-case basis.  She thought a              
 waiver was intended to be granted to a particular person and not a            
 particular situation.  She said those were her questions, but she             
 would be willing to look at their recommendations and see if there            
 was a way to find a workable compromise.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING requested the committee hear this bill at              
 the next meeting, as it was his understanding that this bill would            
 pass out at this meeting.                                                     
 CHAIR JAMES replied that was her intent, but things did not work              
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING stated they would have the recommended                 
 language drafted for the next meeting.                                        
 CHAIR JAMES said she would appreciate that and stated she would be            
 willing to work with him to try and find a solution to present at             
 the next meeting.                                                             
 CHAIR JAMES adjourned the meeting at 10:09 a.m.                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects