03/15/2022 03:00 PM House STATE AFFAIRS
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE March 15, 2022 3:05 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Chair Representative Matt Claman, Vice Chair Representative Geran Tarr Representative Andi Story Representative Sarah Vance Representative James Kaufman Representative David Eastman MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 396 "An Act restricting certain investments of state funds in certain Russian entities; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD & HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 291 "An Act extending the termination date of the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSHB 291(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 218 "An Act relating to the inspection and testing of fire dampers, smoke dampers, combination fire and smoke dampers, and smoke control systems; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD & HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 316 "An Act providing for a standardized improvement tracking system for state agencies." - HEARD & HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 309 "An Act exempting candidates for municipal office and municipal office holders in municipalities with a population of 15,000 or less from financial or business interest reporting requirements; relating to campaign finance reporting by certain groups; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD & HELD PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION BILL: HB 396 SHORT TITLE: DIVEST INVESTMENTS IN RUSSIAN ENTITIES SPONSOR(s): STATE AFFAIRS 03/09/22 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 03/09/22 (H) STA, FIN 03/10/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 03/10/22 (H) Heard & Held 03/10/22 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/15/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 BILL: HB 291 SHORT TITLE: EXTENDING COUNCIL ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SPONSOR(s): TARR 01/27/22 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS
01/27/22 (H) STA, FIN 02/17/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 02/17/22 (H) Heard & Held 02/17/22 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/22/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 02/22/22 (H) Heard & Held 02/22/22 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/08/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 03/08/22 (H) Heard & Held 03/08/22 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/15/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 BILL: HB 218 SHORT TITLE: SMOKE/FIRE DAMPERS & SMOKE CTRL SYSTEMS SPONSOR(s): TUCK 05/19/21 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 05/19/21 (H) STA, FIN
01/18/22 (H) SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED
01/18/22 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS
01/18/22 (H) STA, FIN 03/10/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 03/10/22 (H) Heard & Held 03/10/22 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/15/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 BILL: HB 316 SHORT TITLE: STANDARDIZED IMPROVEMENT TRACKING SYSTEM SPONSOR(s): KAUFMAN 02/11/22 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 02/11/22 (H) STA, FIN 03/15/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 BILL: HB 309 SHORT TITLE: APOC; CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS/REPORTING SPONSOR(s): KREISS-TOMKINS 02/07/22 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 02/07/22 (H) CRA, STA 03/03/22 (H) CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124 03/03/22 (H) Heard & Held 03/03/22 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 03/08/22 (H) CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124 03/08/22 (H) Heard & Held 03/08/22 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 03/10/22 (H) CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124 03/10/22 (H) Moved CSHB 309(CRA) Out of Committee 03/10/22 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 03/14/22 (H) CRA RPT CS(CRA) 1DP 1NR 3AM 03/14/22 (H) DP: MCCARTY 03/14/22 (H) NR: SCHRAGE 03/14/22 (H) AM: DRUMMOND, MCCABE, HANNAN 03/15/22 (H) STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 WITNESS REGISTER EDUARDO SARAVALLE New York City, New York POSITION STATEMENT: Provided invited testimony during the hearing on HB 396. REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided introductory remarks on proposed CSHB 218, Version W,, as the prime sponsor. JENS SCHURIG, Organizer Sheet Metal Workers Local 23 Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 218, Version W, and answered questions from committee members. MIKE MASON, Staff Representative Chris Tuck Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions during the hearing on CSHB 218, Version W, on behalf of Representative Tuck, prime sponsor. RICHARD BOOTHYBY, Alaska State Fire Marshal Division of Fire and Life Safety Department of Public Safety Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions during the hearing on CSHB 218, Version W. ED MARTIN Kenai, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 218. DON JAGER Alaska Fire Chiefs Association Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 218. BEN ANGLEN Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 218. JUSTIN CARPENTER, Service Technician Cool Air Mechanical Sheet Metal Union Local 23 Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 218. CHRIS MILLER, Board Member Alaska Professional Design Council POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 218. CHRISTINE NESS, Senior Fire Protection Engineer Respec Company POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 218. MATTHEW HARVEY, Staff Representative James Kaufman Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided a PowerPoint presentation on HB 316, on behalf of Representative Kaufman, prime sponsor. CLAIRE GROSS, Staff Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced CSHB 309(CRA), on behalf of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins, prime sponsor. HEATHER HEBDON, Executive Director Alaska Public Offices Commission Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions during the hearing on CSHB 309(CRA). CLAY WALKER, Mayor Denali Borough Healy, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided invited testimony during the hearing on CSHB 309(CRA). JOHN HANDELAND, Mayor Nome Nome, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided invited testimony during the hearing on HB 309. ACTION NARRATIVE 3:05:55 PM CHAIR JONATHAN KREISS-TOMKINS called the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:05 p.m. Representatives Vance, Tarr, Kaufman, Eastman, Story, Claman, and Kreiss-Tomkins were present at the call to order. HB 396-DIVEST INVESTMENTS IN RUSSIAN ENTITIES 3:07:03 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 396, "An Act restricting certain investments of state funds in certain Russian entities; and providing for an effective date." 3:09:05 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS invited Mr. Saravalle to share opening remarks on private entities divesting from Russian assets and the extent to which it had a sanctioning effect on Russia. 3:09:42 PM EDUARDO SARAVALLE, a former researcher for the Energy, Economics & Security program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), answered yes, ever since the first escalation of U.S. sanctions against Russia, there had been a voluntary worldwide divestment from the Russian market, which was in turn, destabilizing the Russian economy. He noted that voluntary actions could be helpful to the U.S. policy; however, they could also be counterproductive. He encouraged private entities or state governments to align their actions with U.S. policy and opined that HB 396 was well-thought out in that respect. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS sought to confirm that divestment policy should include a "stick and carrot" approach that included a "renormalization" mechanism to reinvest in Russia. MR. SARAVALLE answered yes, to ensure that the entity or state government was being as constructive as possible in fostering U.S. policy. 3:13:38 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR asked how the legislature should consider its actions relative to unintended consequences or other disruptions in the marketplace that wouldn't achieve that long- term goal. MR. SARAVALLE acknowledged that the risk of a less ethical investor profiting from divestment policy was a concern in any divestment campaign. Nonetheless, he pointed out that the concern about other actors swooping in and taking advantage of a strong principal move would likely be from jurisdictions that weren't complying with sanctions or ones that were skeptical of sanctions. 3:19:07 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked how to approach the political decision of instructing APFC or other state agencies to divest from Russian assets, which were worth very little, with no place to sell them. He questioned the practicality of that scenario. MR. SARAVALLE acknowledged that uncertainty was harming the value of Russian assets, as well as the intermediaries of global security transactions, which were extremely risk averse and limited the ability to change ownership. Finally, Russia was imposing limitations on transactions as well. He explained that all of those factors combined were lowering the price of Russian assets and making them "uninvestable" and illiquid. He acknowledged the difficulty of the situation, adding that any divestment scenario would have to confront the mechanics of selling low price shares and changing ownership. He pointed out that any decision would have to wait and see how the situation developed, as issuing a blanket divestment order would be difficult. REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked whether there was a secondary market for Russian stocks in other parts of the world. MR. SARAVALLE said he was unsure. He cautioned that other intermediaries would be even more risk averse than a Russian- based exchange. 3:24:22 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked for a contrasting analysis of Chinas support for the Russian invasion of Georgia [in 2014] versus China's support for the Russian incursion into Ukraine. Additionally, he asked how likely it was that China would invest in place of those who were divesting. MR. SARAVALLE pointed out that it was a highly fluid situation. He noted that the sanctions in 2014 were significantly lighter, making it relatively easy for China to invest and circumvent the sanctions. He stated that if China was interested in helping Russia now, it would be a "different ballgame," as current sanctions were much heavier. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN recalled that Mr. Saravalle had mentioned the need for a "clear ask" when stipulating divestment policy. He asked what the clear ask was in terms of U.S. sanctions and who the sanctions were designed to harm. MR. SARAVALLE indicated that the U.S. ask was still developing. Potential options included the recognition of Eastern Ukraine as independent, as well as the de-annexation of Crimea and reparation or support for the reconstruction of Ukraine. He reminded the committee that sanctions were a bargaining measure, adding that those in the administration were carefully ensuring that the sanctions did not impose unnecessary harm. Nonetheless, he pointed out that there were likely multiple targets, noting the so-called "oligarch sanctions" were intended to turn those closest to President Vladimir Putin against him. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN referenced a report that suggested that President Putin's support had increased since the conflict began. He asked whether sanctions were working. MR. SARAVALLE explained that the shared experience of suffering could bring a "rally around the flag" effect. He reiterated that sanctions were intended to alter the decision making of the president, as opposed to causing a revolution. He noted that they could have the potential to change the calculus of leadership. 3:37:52 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR sought to confirm that the purpose of sanctions was to put pressure on leaders to negotiate. MR. SARAVALLE answered yes. 3:39:14 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked what should be included or avoided in terms of crafting divestment policy. MR. SARAVALLE recommended keeping it specific, targeted, and clear. He noted that more clarity would make the policy easier to "technically undo." He provided an example. He addressed the uncertainty in regard to the mechanics of divestment and recommended clarifying "the how" as well. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS sought to confirm that a trigger for renormalization should be included, as well as narrowly prescribed policy. Additionally, proper flexibility should be included to account for "wonky" market mechanics. He asked if that was accurate. MR. SARAVALLE answered yes. 3:43:21 PM REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN sought to confirm that by divesting, an opportunity would be created for the worst actors who lacked qualms about buying Russian shares at fire sale prices. He asked if that was correct. MR. SARAVALLE answered yes, that would be a potential risk. 3:44:28 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked how many states had divested in Russia. MR. SARAVALLE did not know the answer. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE expressed concern about backlash due to Alaska's geopolitical position. MR. SARAVALLE acknowledged that any sanctioned action may likely lead to backlash. However, as Russia was involved in a physical invasion, he pointed out that the country would have to stabilize its economy before considering backlash. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE recalled that since 2013 or 2014, Russia had embargoed Alaska seafood, which was costing the state millions. She expressed her concern about Russia's "long memory" and asked whether there could be backlash that directly impacted the Alaska seafood industry. MR. SARAVALLE acknowledged that Russia could impose counter sanctions that could be detrimental to the Alaskan economy. He emphasized the need to include the lifting of sanctions in the U.S. ask, adding that it would be a matter of diplomacy for the U.S. government to clearly articulate. 3:50:29 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 396 was held over. 3:51:17 PM The committee took a brief at-ease. HB 291-EXTENDING COUNCIL ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 3:53:15 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 291, "An Act extending the termination date of the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee, adopted as the working draft on 3/8/22, was proposed committee substitute (CS), labeled 32-LS1425\G, Radford, 3/2/22 ("Version G").] 3:54:00 PM The committee took a brief at-ease. 3:54:31 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE moved to adopt Amendment 1, [labeled 32- LS1425\G.1, Radford, 3/12/22], which read: Page 1, lines 8 - 9: Delete "and one of whom shall be a member of an Alaska Native organization" Page 2, lines 15 - 18: Delete all material. Page 2, line 19: Delete "(2)" Delete "7,500" Insert "3,500 [7,500]" Page 2, lines 20 - 21: Delete "or with a population of 3,500 or less that is connected by road or rail to Anchorage or Fairbanks" Insert "[OR WITH A POPULATION OF 3,500 OR LESS THAT IS CONNECTED BY ROAD OR RAIL TO ANCHORAGE OR FAIRBANKS]" REPRESENTATIVE TARR, prime sponsor of HB 291, objected. 3:54:45 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE expressed her concern about the requirement for one appointment to be a member of an Alaska Native organization. She indicated that her intent was to avoid designation based on race or ethnicity. Nonetheless, she concurred with the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault's (CDVSA's) desire to have an Alaska Native woman on the council. Consequently, Amendment 1 would further define "rural Alaska" to only include a population of 3,500 or less that is connected by road or rail to Anchorage or Fairbanks. She believed that would capture the Bush Alaska perspective that was needed on the board. 3:56:47 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY was unsure how redefining "rural Alaska" would guarantee Alaska Native representation; further, she opined that prescriptive language would be helpful in this case, as it was apparent that the council was lacking specific representation. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE said she was comfortable with the language in Version G that advised the governor to consult the Alaska Network on Domestic violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA) and the Alaska Native Women's Resource Center. She opined that from a broader policy perspective, designating appointments based on race or ethnicity could be dangerous. She reiterated that her preference was to base eligibility on regionality. 3:58:40 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked whether Version G represented the CDVSA's recommendations. REPRESENTATIVE TARR answered yes. REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN appreciated the intent of the proposed amendment; nonetheless, he expressed his desire to trust the board's recommendations. He believed that obtaining a Alaska Native voice on the board was critical. For those reasons, he expressed his opposition to Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE TARR noted that a review of current boards and commissions found 18 with a specific seat that was designated for an Alaska Native representative. Further, a handful of recently convened taskforces formed by the governor included the same position. She stated her opposition to the Amendment 1, explaining that the existing language, which called for a member from a rural area, did not result in an Alaska Native representative on the board. She believed that Amendment 1 would have the same result and reiterated the need for more specific language. 4:02:07 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN opined that advising the governor to consult with the Native organizations was a big enough ask and went far enough in expressing the legislature's recommendations. He expressed his concern about designation based on race or ethnicity. 4:03:53 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR maintained her objection. 4:04:04 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE pointed out that not all the boards and commissions that called for Alaska Native representation had been through the legislative process. She argued that although the Equal Protection Clause had not been challenged, it could come up in the future. 4:05:40 PM] A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Vance, Kaufman, and Eastman voted in favor of the adoption of Amendment 1. Representatives Tarr, Story, Claman, and Kreiss-Tomkins voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 1 failed by a vote of 3-4. 4:06:18 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS invited final comments on HB 291. 4:06:44 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY expressed her appreciation for the council and the work that they do. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS aligned himself with Representative Story's comments. 4:07:12 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN moved to report CSHB 291, Version 32- LS1425\G, Radford, 3/2/22, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 291(STA) was moved from the House State Affairs Standing Committee. HB 218-SMOKE/FIRE DAMPERS & SMOKE CTRL SYSTEMS 4:07:32 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the next order of business would be SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 218, "An Act relating to the inspection and testing of fire dampers, smoke dampers, combination fire and smoke dampers, and smoke control systems; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee, adopted as the working draft on 3/10/22, was proposed CS, labeled 32-LS0931\W, Bannister, 3/7/22 ("Version W").] 4:08:11 PM REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK, Alaska State Legislature, prime sponsor, provided introductory remarks on Version W. He paraphrased the sponsor statement [included in the committee packet], which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: As a result of Alaska's cold climate, nearly every commercial, industrial, and public building must be heated. The goal of House Bill 218 is to ensure that the fire life safety components as part of the HVAC systems in these buildings are functioning as designed. These components include fire dampers, smoke dampers, and smoke control systems. House Bill 218 requires technicians and contractors to obtain a certification recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under the ISO/IEC 17024 standard to perform inspections and testing of fire dampers, smoke dampers, and smoke control systems. Alaska law follows the International Fire Code by requiring the HVAC fire life safety components within the commercial, industrial, and public buildings to be inspected and tested consistent with the developed standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Currently, sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers in Alaska are inspected by a technician and/or contractor that must be certified. House Bill 218 would create a similar requirement for a technician and/or contractor to perform periodic inspections of fire dampers, smoke dampers, and smoke control systems. NFPA standards 80 and 105 require fire and smoke dampers to be inspected within one year of initial installation and every four years thereafter, except for hospitals which must be inspected once every six years. NFPA standard 92 requires dedicated smoke control systems to be tested every six months and non- dedicated smoke control systems to be tested annually. House Bill 218 is a public safety bill that will help ensure that the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning fire life safety components utilized and installed in commercial, industrial, and public structures in Alaska are safe and in good working order. 4:10:59 PM REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN considered a scenario in which a small HVAC business wanted to get a technician certified. He asked what that process would look like. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK deferred to Mr. Schurig. 4:12:16 PM JENS SCHURIG, Organizer, Sheet Metal Workers Local 23, said it could be done in several ways: A mechanical engineer or a fire protection engineer could be employed; the business could go through the sheet metal workers union to get the individual trained and certified; or the business could create its own curriculum for testing and inspecting fire smoke dampers and control systems and have it accredited by the American National Standards Institute. 4:13:05 PM REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN inquired about the cost of creating a curriculum. MR. SCHURIG said it would depend on variety of factors, including the number of employees and the extent of the curriculum. REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN inquired about the cost going the union route. MR. SCHURIG said it would not cost the company anything to sign up with the union; however, the company would have to pay its employees "the package," which was prorated at 16 cents per hour for training. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK clarified that union contractors were automatically paid 16 cents per hour for all training, so it wouldn't cost the contractor any additional money. REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN asked whether there was a method for small operators to access the system and the appropriate training. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK offered to follow up with the requested information. REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN reiterated his interest in understanding the cost of curriculum development for a small business. He asked whether there was a provision for an individual to work under a fire protection engineer. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK answered no. REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN asked whether there were other sources of training for this kind of work outside the union. MR. SCHURIG shared his understanding that out-of-state companies offered the necessary training for the inspection and testing of fire dampers, smoke dampers, and smoke control systems. 4:19:14 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY expressed concern about the impact of the proposed legislation on areas with fewer inspectors. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK imagined that the cost would be similar to the existing cost for inspections of sprinkler systems and separate inspections of fire alarm notifications. REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked whether rural areas that lacked a local mechanical engineer or fire protection engineer had current protocols in place. 4:21:01 PM MIKE MASON, Staff, Representative Chris Tuck, Alaska State Legislature, on behalf of Representative Tuck, prime sponsor, explained that if the bill were to pass, training availability would be increased to allow for more people to get certified. He deferred to Mr. Boothby to explain current practices. 4:21:44 PM RICHARD BOOTHYBY, Alaska State Fire Marshal, Division of Fire and Life Safety, Department of Public Safety (DPS), reported that [building] owners were responsible for the testing of fire dampers in a specific timeframe. REPRESENTATIVE STORY sought to confirm that currently, in rural areas, the [building] owners were responsible for finding a qualified person to perform the proper inspections. MR. BOOTHBY confirmed. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK clarified that current standards identified the correct process; however, it wasn't being followed, which was the reason for the proposed legislation. REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked how violations were handled and reported. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said there were no reporting standards at present. He noted the bill included reporting provisions. MR. BOOTHBY said to date, he had not received any reported violations since he began the job as fire marshal in 2019. 4:25:18 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN recalled that a business could ask someone with working knowledge of the facilities, smoke dampers, and equipment to conduct the inspection. He asked how many people were qualified to conduct the inspections in Alaska at present versus if the bill were to pass. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK did not know how many mechanical engineers with fire protection accreditation were in the state of Alaska at this time. He noted that the legislation would require out- of-state travel or online course work to get certified. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked how many people in Alaska had a current fire and life safety certification. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK did not know the answer. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked Mr. Schurig if he knew the answer. MR. SCHURIG reported that there were 41 certified smoke damper technicians in Alaska; however, there were additional mechanical engineers and fire protection engineers who could also complete the job, per the changes in Version W. He anticipated that the number of certified smoke damper technicians would double in the year of implementation if the bill were to pass. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN inquired about the number of deaths in Alaska due to fire and smoke damper failure and asked whether the bill would reduce that number. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK deferred to Mr. Boothby. MR. BOOTHBY said there were no reported fatalities from fire system failure. 4:31:14 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked why the bill was limited to mechanical engineers, as opposed to including civil engineers as well. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said there was a suggestion to include electrical engineers; however, he didn't feel that it was necessary to include different types of engineers, they don't deal with the physical properties of fire dampers specifically. 4:32:33 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE inquired about the wait time for an initial fire inspection in a building. MR. BOOTHBY answered 2-3 years for a normal inspection. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked what the timeline would be for continued inspections if the bill were to pass. MR. BOOTHBY shared his understanding that if the bill were to pass, the state fire marshal's office would no longer do the inspections. Instead, those performing the inspections would notify the fire marshal of any failures or issues and corrective action would be taken. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE considered a scenario in which a building did not pass the initial inspection. She asked what the corrective action would entail. MR. BOOTHBY said typically, failures or issues with fire systems should be fixed within 30-60 days. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked whether a business would be shut down if it did not pass the inspection. MR. BOOTHBY said closing the building would be a last resort. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked how often that occurred. MR. BOOTHBY said not very often, adding that the goal was compliance rather than building closure. 4:36:23 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened public testimony on HB 218. 4:36:59 PM ED MARTIN expressed his surprise that the invited testifiers did not have an answer to all of the committee member's questions. In response to Representative Kaufman's questions about training and certification, he reported that it took one year and three months for his son's CDL school to create a curriculum. He opined that the bill would create a monopolized system for certain individuals and that the required training would be difficult to access for the private sector. 4:40:40 PM DON JAGER, Alaska Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA), stated that after reviewing the bill, the fire chiefs voted in opposition to HB 218 at AFCA's annual meeting. He said AFCA supported increasing fire safety at every opportunity; however, the bill missed the mark by the inspector certification requirements, he opined. If pass, the bill would place unfunded enforcement liability on all jurisdictions across the state due to the required certification. He explained that the fire chiefs opposed the bill because the certification requirement would create a limited pool of inspectors in a vast state. Further, the state fire marshal and local municipalities already had the authority to adopt inspection requirements to the fire code, making the legislation redundant, he opined. He believed that the lack of fire losses or fatalities indicated that this was not a significant problem in Alaska. He pointed out that if passed, the bill would create a large number of buildings across the state that were no longer in compliance with fire code based on inspector certification. In conclusion, he requested that the inspection authority remain with the state fire marshal and local municipalities to regulate. 4:43:11 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked whether Mr. Jager had considered the CSHB 218, Version W, [adopted 3/10/22]. MR. JAGER said he had not. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE said she would appreciate further feedback from AFCA on Version W. 4:43:57 PM BEN ANGLEN shared that in his experience, fire dampers were often propped open with a screw or some other contraption due to a lack of training, which resulted in damper malfunction in the case of a catastrophic fire. From his perspective, he said, the codes were not being met. 4:46:41 PM MR. SCHURIG emphasized that this was a public safety bill. He anecdotally reported that the vast majority of fire dampers were not working. He stated that the bill would essentially mandate training, thereby initiating an informational campaign, which would create more knowledgeable and capable individuals. He reiterated his belief that HB 218 would fix the problem. Further, he pointed out that there were enough engineers in Alaska to do this work, adding that eventually, the training would be offered to everyone. 4:49:11 PM JUSTIN CARPENTER, Service Technician, Cool Air Mechanical; Sheet Metal Union Local 23, shared his experience testing smoke and fire dampers across the state, noting that the majority did not function properly. He concluded that proper training was lacking. 4:51:21 PM CHRIS MILLER, Alaska Professional Design Council, stated his opposition to the bill, opining that the statutory language would be redundant, as fire departments were already required to perform these inspections. Nonetheless, he agreed that the education and training on fire safety life systems could be improved upon. 4:53:28 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked whether Version W, which would allow mechanical engineers to perform the inspections, changed Mr. Miller's position on the bill. MR. MILLER answered no; nonetheless, he acknowledged that the provision in question was an improvement. REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN directed attention to page 2, line 19 of Version W and asked whether the language should be broadened by replacing "mechanical engineer" with "engineer". MR. MILLER pointed out that "architect" would work too, as the systems could be inspected and understood by other types of technicians. He recommended keeping it as broad as possible. 4:56:21 PM CHRISTINE NESS, Senior Fire Protection Engineer, in response to Mr. Miller, pointed out that an architect may not be skilled in the mechanical systems that were required for this type of work. She opined that fire and smoke damper installers should be responsible for testing and installing these systems. 4:57:47 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS closed public testimony and announced that the bill was held over. HB 316-STANDARDIZED IMPROVEMENT TRACKING SYSTEM 4:58:01 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 316, "An Act providing for a standardized improvement tracking system for state agencies." 4:58:17 PM The committee took a brief at-ease. 4:58:35 PM REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN, prime sponsor, introduced HB 316. He indicated that the bill would create an action tracker within the executive branch that would track critical items in a methodical way to allow for better organization. 5:00:14 PM MATTHEW HARVEY, Staff, Representative James Kaufman, Alaska State Legislature, on behalf of Representative Kaufman, prime sponsor of HB 316, summarized the sponsor statement [included in the committee packet], which read as follows: HB 316 addresses the need for a standardized improvement tracking system throughout the executive branch. Audit findings and internal issues have been growing in quantity, age, and magnitude across Alaska's State Government meaning that something must be done to improve outcomes. Organizations seeking to refine and optimize their operations to improve outcomes do so using a variety of methods, but action trackers are one of the most important tools in the continuous improvement toolkit. Having a formal tracking system in place enables organizations to identify opportunities for improvement and track them to completion. Each improvement opportunity has merit and should be reviewed, but not all can be worked to completion. A select few improvement opportunities will be deemed priorities based on impacts to operations, a rough cost/benefit analysis, age of issue, and resources available. These high-priority improvement opportunities will then be treated like a project with one or multiple actions and a scheduled completion date. This tracking system will make next steps and progress visible which will lead to realized benefits across state government. Reports will also include success stories of opportunities and actions that have been completed. These successes should be celebrated, and the executive branch could likely find creative ways to incentivize the closure of these items. Action items registered in such a system are often referred to as corrective and preventative actions, sometimes using the acronym CA/PA, with corrective action referring to actions taken to remedy what has already occurred, while preventative actions are taken to prevent a future occurrence. The benefits of a standardized system will be dependent upon the extent to which the organization uses the system, but there is a possibility to increase transparency and accountability across agencies and programs while improving the function of the organization and delivery of value to customers of various services. MR. HARVEY directed attention to the PowerPoint presentation on HB 316 [hard copy included in the committee packet], beginning on slide 2, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: OVERVIEW Problem Statement: Audit Findings and internal issues grow in quantity and in magnitude when there is not a standardized system in place to facilitate planning and progression of actions. Improvement Tracking System purpose Improvement Tracking System core attributes Government Examples Committee Substitute in-progress 5:01:20 PM MR. HARVEY continued to slide 3, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: PURPOSE A standardized improvement tracking system for each state agency Must enable tracking of status, progress, and closure of actions Actions may arise from • Audit findings • Internal Corrective and preventive action requests • Improvement opportunities identified by agency employees • Opportunities by other internal or external auditors • Opportunities identified by customers • Opportunities identified by customers 5:02:17 PM MR. HARVEY turned to slide 4, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: IMPROVEMENT TRACKINGSYSTEM MUST: Include the ability to uniquely track each improvement opportunity for each state agency Validate each opportunity to check whether it is unique or exists in the system in some form Identify various elements which are important when pursuing prioritization and closure of opportunities Provide mechanism for state agencies to • Perform a Root Cause Analysis, determine corrective actions, develop an implementation schedule, and evaluate implementation Ensure evaluation of effectiveness of plans and assess improvements Provide for status reports to relevant stakeholders 5:03:20 PM MR. HARVEY advanced to slide 5, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: STATUS REPORTING Quarterly status reports to heads of agencies Annual status reports from the Governor to the legislature Reports must include: • Quantity of open and closed items • Aging of items approaching or beyond scheduled completion date • Cost or benefit of items closed during the reporting period and fiscal year to date • Details of higher criticality items closed within reporting period • Details of higher criticality items extended or expected to extend beyond original due date • Action plans for higher criticality items beyond their scheduled closure date 5:04:13 PM MR. HARVEY proceeded to slide 6, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: GAO EXAMPLE Priority Recommendations • As GAO issues reports/testimonies, included recommendations are tracked in this database • Certain recommendations are deemed priority recommendations Action Tracker • These priority recommendations are assigned actions, which are tracked and progressed in the action tracker Month-In-Review • A summary of audits, reports, progress, and more 5:05:24 PM MR. HARVEY continued to slide 7, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: GAO EXAMPLE Priority Recommendations • https://www.gao.gov/reports- testimonies/recommendations-database Action Tracker • https://www.gao.gov/reports-testimonies/action- tracker Month-In-Review • https://www.gao.gov/reports-testimonies/month-in- review 5:05:31 PM MR. HARVEY concluded on slide 8, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE IN PROGRESS Requested Changes to reduce the administrative burden and increase effectiveness of the system Prioritize opportunities and only progress high- priority, actionable opportunities that can be completed with available resources Refine the list in the newly created AS 44.66.100 (c)(3) • Reducing this list to critical components and adding an open-ended component which would allow the system administrator to add information as deemed necessary Add a requirement to publicize high-priority opportunities/actions and quarterly reports on a single website 5:06:51 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS sought to confirm that the CS was being drafted. MR. HARVEY answered yes. 5:07:00 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked how the reporting requirements would be made available on a website and whether that would be clarified in the CS. MR. HARVEY said the forthcoming CS would clarify that the status reports would be made available on a website. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked whether the website already existed or whether it needed to be created. MR. HARVEY said that had not been decided upon, adding that the Office of Management & Budget's (OMB's) website was being considered, as well as other ideas. 5:08:10 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked which state agencies had looked over this plan and whether they had indicated that the administrative burden was too high, thus necessitating the forthcoming CS. MR. HARVEY said the bill had been socialized with OMB and a legislative auditor. He explained that the bill in its current form suggested that the goal was to track everything, which was not the sponsor's intent. REPRESENTATIVE STORY requested to hear from state agencies at a future bill hearing about how the proposed legislation would impact them. 5:10:10 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked whether there was a fiscal note. MR. HARVEY said it was forthcoming. REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked whether a fiscal note would be submitted from every state department. MR. HARVEY did not know which departments would be submitting a fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN believed that there was merit to the notion of improving the system; however, he pointed out that when corporations implemented this type of system, it required a significant outlay of time and money. He opined that in reality, implementing such a system would be difficult. 5:11:19 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked whether conversations were had with the administration or the Department of Administration (DOA) regarding the directive to streamline state agencies, which seemed like a similar ask. MR. HARVEY responded that certain departments had implemented the departmental improvement directive more than others, which was why a standardized system would help, he opined. He noted that the bill proposed a middle ground between departments that had implemented the directive in a large-scale way and those that had done little to streamline. 5:12:51 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 316 was held over. HB 309-APOC; CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS/REPORTING 5:13:24 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the final order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 309, "An Act exempting candidates for municipal office and municipal office holders in municipalities with a population of 15,000 or less from financial or business interest reporting requirements; relating to campaign finance reporting by certain groups; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee was CSHB 309(CRA).] 5:13:41 PM The committee took a brief at-ease. 5:14:15 PM CLAIRE GROSS, Staff, Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Alaska State Legislature, on behalf of Representative Kreiss- Tomkins, prime sponsor, presented the sponsor statement for CSHB 309(CRA), which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: HB 309 seeks to remedy two issues that will make the Alaska Public Offices Commission more effective. HB 309 provides a campaign disclosure reporting exemption for smaller groups who don't intend to raise or spend more than $2,500 in a calendar year ($5,000 during an 18-month election cycle). The bill also exempts these groups from the electronic filing requirement for these reports. This is beneficial as smaller groups generally require much more APOC staff time and interaction because they are usually novices who are only interested in a single topic on a ballot, unlike ongoing groups that participate every year. A similar exemption already exists for judicial retention candidates and municipal candidates. HB 309 would also exempt smaller communities (population of 15,000 or less), from Public Official Financial Disclosure (POFD) reporting requirements. There is already a minimum population exemption for campaign disclosures, but none for a POFD filing. Many of the smaller communities who struggle with clerk turnover, connectivity, and regular mail service often find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to timely notifications and filing. This results in disproportionate civil penalties for these rural areas where most, if not all, of their municipal officers are serving in a volunteer capacity. 5:16:22 PM MS. GROSS noted that the bill was 10 sections long; however, only three - Section 1, Section 2, and Section 5 - were substantive. She directed attention to the PowerPoint presentation on HB 309 [hard copy included in the committee packet], beginning on slide 1, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: HB 309 There already exists an exemption from POFD filing requirements for candidatesrunning for municipal office in municipalities with populations of 1000 or less. There is NOT currently any population threshold exemption for POFD filing requirements for elected or appointed municipal officers. This is the change we are making in Section 5 of HB 309 by adding a POFD reporting threshold for candidates and elected/appointed municipal officers in municipalities with populations of 15,000 or less. 5:18:38 PM MS. GROSS provided a comparative analysis of current law and HB 309 on slide 2, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: HB 309 BEFORE AND AFTER Current Law • All municipal candidates in municipalities with populations of 1,000 and above subject to POFD filing requirements. • All municipal officials in communities of any size, who have not opted out, are subject to POFD filing requirements (currently 30 municipalities). Under HB 309 • All candidates and municipal officials I municipalities with populations of 15,000 or less are EXEMPT from POFD filing requirements. • 25 municipalities formerly subject to POFD filing requirements, now exempt. • 5 municipalities still subject to POFD filing requirements for both municipal candidates and officials: • Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, and Juneau City and Borough still 5:20:04 PM MS. GROSS turned to slide 3, which provided a list of municipalities that had opted out of the public official financial disclosure (POFD) filing requirements for municipal candidates and officers (136 total). She concluded on slide 4, which listed the municipalities currently subject to POFD filing requirements (30 total). The 25 municipalities (shown in red) would be exempt from POFD filing requirements for candidates and elected officials if HB 309 were to pass. It would leave 5 municipalities (shown in black) still subject to POFD filing requirements. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS welcomed questions from committee members. 5:21:21 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN, referring to slide 4, asked whether the 25 municipalities weren't allowed to opt out or whether they chose not to opt out. MS. GROSS shared her understanding that they chose not to opt out. 5:21:52 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN surmised that if the 25 municipalities decided to file the opt-out provisions, the 5 larger municipalities could choose not to opt out without passing the legislation. MS. GROSS confirmed, adding that theoretically, all 30 communities on slide 4 could choose to file the opt-out provisions. 5:22:21 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked whether Fairbanks was excluded from the list because the city had chosen to opt out. MS. GROSS confirmed that Fairbanks had already opted out of the requirements. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked whether the 25 municipalities could opt back in if the bill were to pass. MS. GROSS believe that the answer was yes. She deferred to Ms. Hebdon for further explanation. 5:23:19 PM HEATHER HEBDON, Executive Director, Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), said there was nothing in statute that would preclude the 25 communities, which were exempted under HB 309 from the POFD filing requirements, from self-directing their own financial disclosure reporting. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked whether they could opt in using the state's website. MS. HEBDON said in theory, yes. 5:25:09 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY said she was confused. She asked why the legislature would take action on this if the communities could already choose to opt out. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS said that question was a good segway into invited testimony. He welcomed Clay Walker, the mayor of the Denali Borough. 5:26:00 PM CLAY WALKER, Mayor, Denali Borough, argued that transparency was important to ensure public trust; further that policy should encourage public service. He explained that the current financial disclosure process was onerous and invasive for small municipalities. He recalled that many communities, including the Denali Borough, opted out when the state changed its financial disclosure laws making them more burdensome. He reported that the Denali Borough created its own financial disclosure form, which was based on the state's prior financial disclosure form from 1999. He explained that the form included associations and sources of revenue but excluded details such as loan amounts and children's revenue. He recommended exempting municipalities, thus allowing them the ability to self-govern. 5:29:57 PM JOHN HANDELAND, Mayor, Nome, expressed his support for HB 309 and urged its passage from committee. Additionally, he aligned his comments with Mayor Walker's testimony, noting that Nome was one of few communities that chose not to opt out because the municipality didn't realize it was an option. He opined that the reporting requirements had an adverse effect on people's involvement in government service. He believed that Alaskan's value their right to privacy. He anecdotally reported that only one or two citizens had ever requested a physical copy of the disclosure report in Nome, surmising that people make their decisions based on other factors. He suggested amending the effective date to July 1, 2022. 5:34:24 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked whether Nome would choose to opt out since realizing it was an option, as permitted under current statute. MAYOR HANDELAND said it would be something to consider. 5:35:29 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR said she tended to favor transparency and believed that citizens had the right to know who their public officials were and what their financial interest were. She asked how the process could be fixed to better accommodate individuals seeking public office. MAYOR HANDELAND recommended setting up a local process for financial disclosure. REPRESENTATIVE TARR asked whether part of the issue was that the reports were public and questioned whether keeping them private would be a solution. MAYOR HANDELAND agreed that keeping the financial disclosures private would help. Further, he argued that some of the categories on the form weren't necessary, pointing out that in congress, income was reported by range. 5:45:02 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked whether the City of Nome practiced recusal from votes if there was a conflict of interest. MAYOR HANDELAND answered yes, members must declare a conflict of interest. 5:48:39 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS inquired about the civil penalties for a late filer. MS. HEBDON answered that the maximum civil penalty daily rate was $10 for a public official's financial disclosure. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked how many civil penalties had been assessed for municipal filers in years passed. MS. HEBDON was unsure. She offered to follow up with the requested information. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked how the POFD process differed for municipal candidates versus elected officials. MS. HEBDON stated that APOC published a POFD for the following people on its website: the governor, lieutenant governor, state legislators, and candidates for state municipal offices. She noted that for anyone excluded from those categories, the POFD would not be published on APOC's website; however, it was a public document and could be obtained upon request. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked for the commission's rational for excluding certain people's POFD from the website MS. HEBDON said the rationale was the potential for a chilling effect on volunteer boards and commissions; difficulty in recruiting appointed members of the executive branch; and matters of security for judicial officers. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked how many annual public requests were received for the POFDs not published on the website. MS. HEBDON answered less than 10, noting that the majority of public POFD requests were for executive and judicial branch officials. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked whether there was a single instance of a municipal POFD request in Ms. Hebdon's tenure at APOC. MS. HEBDON answered no, she could not recall any requests for municipal POFDs. 5:53:45 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked why CSHB 309(CRA) would exempt groups that raised or expended no more than $2,500 in a calendar year. 5:54:07 PM MS. GROSS deferred to Ms. Hebdon. MS. HEBDON shared her understanding that the purpose was to exempt and unburden smaller groups that formed around a local grassroots ballot proposition, which didn't typically continue after one specified election but required a significant amount of staff time and intricate reporting. She said it was similar to an existing exemption for local candidates who didn't intend on having a lot of financial activity. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked whether $2,500 was sufficient for these types of groups. MS. HEBDON said $2,500 was reached based on the current exemption that existed for candidates, as previously mentioned. 5:56:55 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN commented on small grassroots groups and expressed his support for excluding them so as to avoid burdening them with financial disclosure requirements. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS shared a personal anecdote on his experience participating in small group efforts in Sitka, noting that the APOC requirements were a significant dissuasion. 5:59:30 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY recalled that the Denali Borough had created its own financial disclosure form. She asked whether other municipalities had done the same. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS recalled that the North Slope Borough had determined that they wanted POFD disclosure requirements. He offered to follow up with more information. MAYOR WALKER did not know the answer. REPRESENTATIVE TARR requested a copy of the form used by the Denali Borough. 6:02:14 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE recalled that the Homer City Council required a more thorough financial disclosure than the state. She argued that local municipalities would be fully capable of self-governance on this issue if the state were to remove its requirements. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS said it was clear that current POFD requirements were not working, as more than 80 communities had opted out. He questioned the purpose of a POFD that sits unused in a city office building. He pointed out that if the legislature decided to make them publicly available, so that the goal of transparency was fulfilled, there would also have to be an awareness that a chilling effect may follow. 6:05:18 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that CSHB 309(CRA) was held over. 6:05:31 PM ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 6:05 p.m.