Legislature(1993 - 1994)
05/01/1993 10:40 AM Senate FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
MINUTES SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE May 1, 1993 10:40 a.m. TAPES SFC-93, #71, Side 1 (490-end) SFC-93, #71, Side 2 (575-475) CALL TO ORDER Senator Drue Pearce, Co-chair, convened the meeting at approximately 10:40 a.m. PRESENT All committee members (Co-chairs Pearce and Frank and Senators Jacko, Kelly, Kerttula, Rieger, and Sharp) were present. ALSO ATTENDING: Representative Ron Larson; Judy Mathis, aide to Representative Larson; and aides to committee members and other members of the legislature. SUMMARY INFORMATION HB 113 - CHARITABLE & TELEPHONIC SOLICITING/SALES Discussion was had with Representative Larson and Judy Mathis. The bill was HELD in committee for testimony from legal staff. HB 158 - APPROP: CONTRACT SETTLEMENT COSTS SCS CSHB 158 (L&C) (totaling $9,075,408) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" recommendation. HB 209 - COMMUNITY HEALTH AIDE GRANTS The bill was REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" recommendation and zero fiscal note from the Dept. of Health and Social Services. CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 158(L&C) An Act making appropriations for contract settlement costs and cost-of-living adjustments for public employees who are members of certain collective bargaining units; and providing for an effective date. [Mechanical problems with tape deck. This portion of the minutes reflects transcription of shorthand notes.] Co-chair Pearce directed that CSHB 158 (L&C) be brought on for discussion. She then noted the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee Substitute and queried members concerning disposition of the bill. Senator Kelly MOVED that SCS CSHB 158 (L&C) pass from committee with individual recommendations. No objection having been raised, SCS CSHB 158 (L&C) was REPORTED OUT of committee. Co-chairs Pearce and Frank and Senators Kelly, Rieger, and Sharp signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. Senator Kerttula signed "no rec." Senator Jacko signed "Hold until 264 moves." HOUSE BILL NO. 209 An Act relating to community health aide grants. Co-chair Pearce directed that HB 209 be brought on for consideration. Senator Rieger MOVED that it pass from committee with individual recommendations. No objection having been raised, HB 209 was REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero fiscal note from the Dept. of Health and Social Services. Co-chairs Pearce and Frank and Senators Jacko, Kelly, and Rieger signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. Senators Kerttula and Sharp signed "no rec." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 113(FIN) An Act regulating the solicitation of contributions by charitable organizations and paid solicitors and the solicitation of sales by telephonic means; and amending Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure 79 and 82. Co-chair Pearce directed that CSHB 113 (Finance) be brought on for discussion and noted interest in the bill by the Cancer Society. Senator Kerttula attested to instances in which individuals have lost money to telephonically conducted scams. Co-chair Pearce observed that the bill would provide a "cooling off" period for telemarketing. [Recording problems were corrected at this point in time. The remainder of the minutes reflect tape transcription.] REPRESENTATIVE RON LARSON, sponsor of the legislation, came before committee. Senator Rieger asked if the bill would provide for notations in phone directories advising customers that they could choose no to be solicited by phone. Representative Larson explained that that provision was contained within legislation sponsored by Representative Brown. While inclusion within HB 113 was discussed, the provision was not added. Senator Kelly referenced the $5,000 limitation and asked if those seeking to raise over that amount would be subject to provisions of the bill. Representative Larson responded affirmatively. JUDY MATHIS, aide to Representative Larson, added that reporting requirements merely consist of filling out a registration form for filing with the Dept. of Law. As background information, Representative Larson explained that the bill originated as a result of a national meeting of the American Cancer Society. Concern was raised, at that time, that "look alike organizations" were "ripping off" legitimate charities. The proposed bill is patterned after legislation enacted in several other states to address the problem of telephonic solicitation by illegal means. Under the bill, the Dept. of Law would be given the power to extradite illegal telephonic solicitors from out of state to Alaska for trial. Senator Kelly voiced support for the thrust of the legislation. He expressed concern, however, regarding the $5,000 limit, suggesting that it is not high enough. He spoke to possible adverse impact on smaller charities that might not have the wherewithal to become knowledgeable of state regulations and additional bookkeeping associated with reporting requirements. Co- chair Frank concurred and questioned whether there was need for a threshold. Senator Rieger referred to language at page 10, lines 20 and 21, and advised of his understanding that a church or religious organization would be exempt from the legislation and able to raise any amount it chooses. Representative Larson concurred. Co-chair Frank inquired concerning the "cooling off" period for telemarketing contracts. Judy Mathis explained that under bill provisions a telemarketer would be required to send a contract to the purchaser of goods. The sale does not become valid until the purchaser signs the contract. End, SFC-93, #71, Side 1 Begin, SFC-71, Side 2 A telemarketer may not simply obtain the customer's credit card number over the phone and conclude the transaction. This provides a cooling off period for purchasers who subsequently feel they were pressured by the telemarketer into buying something they did not want. Both Senator Kelly and Co-chair Frank voiced need for testimony from staff at the Dept. of Law and Legislative Legal Services regarding the effect of Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure changes contained within the bill. Co-chair Pearce advised that the meeting would soon be recessed for majority and minority caucuses. She suggested that a teleconference be scheduled with Jim Forbes, Assistant Attorney General, Fair Practices Section, Dept. of Law, in Anchorage and that he testify before committee later in the day. Co-chair Frank posed an additional question regarding "prohibited presentations" at page 3. Representative Larson explained that the language is intended to prohibit telemarketers from listing licenses, qualifications, and other credentials intended to entice the customer into buying. Co-chair Frank suggested that if the credentials and representations are valid, there should be no problem in presenting them. Representative Larson noted instances where false or misleading information is given in an effort to establish legitimacy. In response to a question from Senator Rieger, Judy Mathis explained that the legislation relates to calls made by telemarketers to customers. It would not apply to situations whereby the customer calls to obtain a price (airline fares were used as an example) or purchase an item. Senator Rieger questioned whether language at page 1 was clear on that issue. RECESS Co-chair Pearce directed that the meeting be recessed, subject to a call of the chair. The meeting was recessed at approximately 11:10 a.m.