Legislature(2011 - 2012)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/12/2012 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE

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+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                       April 12, 2012                                                                                           
                         9:06 a.m.                                                                                              
9:06:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair   Hoffman  called  the   Senate  Finance   Committee                                                                   
meeting to order at 9:06 a.m.                                                                                                   
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Lesil McGuire, Vice-Chair                                                                                               
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative   Paul   Seaton;  Michael   Paschall,   Staff,                                                                   
Representative  Eric Feige; Richard  Etheridge, Second  Vice-                                                                   
President,   Alaska   Fire   Chiefs    Association,   Juneau;                                                                   
Representative    Reggie    Joule;     Representative    Anna                                                                   
Fairclough;  Kate   Burkhart,  Executive  Director,   Suicide                                                                   
Prevention  Council,   Juneau;  Gayle  Trivette,   Volunteer,                                                                   
Juneau   Suicide   Prevention  Coalition,   Juneau;   Yasmine                                                                   
Habash, Staff,  Representative Craig Johnson;  Representative                                                                   
Bob  Lynn;  Ed Fogels,  Deputy  Commissioner,  Department  of                                                                   
Natural Resources                                                                                                               
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Bryan  Fisher,  Chief  of Operations,  Division  of  Homeland                                                                   
Security  and  Enforcement,  Fort  Richardson;  David  Gibbs,                                                                   
Fairbanks  North   Star  Borough,  Fairbanks;   Greg  Conrad,                                                                   
Executive  Director,  Interstate Mining  Compact  Commission,                                                                   
Washington D.C.                                                                                                                 
CSHB 21(FIN)   SUICIDE PREVENTION COUNCIL MEMBERS                                                                               
          CSHB 21 (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in                                                                                   
          Committee for further  consideration.                                                                                 
CSHCR 23(FIN)  ALASKA ARCTIC POLICY  COMMISSION                                                                                 
          CSHCR 23 (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in                                                                                  
          Committee for further  consideration.                                                                                 
CSHB 115(TRA) NAMING WALTER J. HICKEL EXPRESSWAY                                                                                
          CSHB 115 (TRA) was HEARD and HELD in                                                                                  
          Committee for further  consideration.                                                                                 
CSHB 302(FIN)am CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PFD: UNIV/AUDITS                                                                             
          CSHB 302 (FIN)am was HEARD and HELD in                                                                                
          Committee for further consideration.                                                                                  
HB 360    INTERSTATE MINING COMPACT & COMMISSION                                                                                
          HB 360 was HEARD and HELD in                                                                                          
          Committee for further  consideration.                                                                                 
HB 366    DISASTER PLANNING AND SERVICES                                                                                        
          HB 366 was HEARD and HELD in                                                                                          
          Committee for further  consideration.                                                                                 
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 302(FIN) am                                                                                             
     "An  Act  requiring each  campus  of the  University  of                                                                   
     Alaska to apply to be included  on the contribution list                                                                   
     for   contributions  from   permanent  fund   dividends;                                                                   
     requiring  a university  to pay  an application  fee for                                                                   
     each campus  separately listed on the  contribution list                                                                   
     for  contributions from  permanent  fund dividends;  and                                                                   
     repealing  certain   audit  requirements   for  entities                                                                   
     receiving contributions from  permanent fund dividends."                                                                   
9:07:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL  SEATON, introduced HB 302.  He explained                                                                   
that the  legislation  would repeal the  audit provision  for                                                                   
any  non-profit   with  a  total  budget  of   $250,000.  The                                                                   
provision  was problematic  because  the average  cost of  an                                                                   
audit  was $8000  to $12,000,  which  was significantly  more                                                                   
than the majority  of non-profits received through  the Pick,                                                                   
Click, Give  program. He provided  the example of  the Seward                                                                   
Senior  Citizen Centre,  which had been  receiving less  than                                                                   
$2000 per  year, but  the audit was  costing then  $8,000. He                                                                   
furthered that the Juneau Arts  Council had stopped using the                                                                   
program  because  it  was  not  cost  effective,  which  made                                                                   
regular  donors  think it  was  no  longer a  certified  non-                                                                   
profit. He referred to the Sponsor  Statement (copy on file):                                                                   
     HB   302    allows   greater   participation    in   the                                                                   
     Pick.Click.Give  program by small non-profits  that meet                                                                   
     all  of the  eligibility requirements  for the  program,                                                                   
     but  cannot  participate  due to  the  cost  prohibitive                                                                   
     audit requirement.                                                                                                         
     The creation  of the popular Pick.Click.Give  program by                                                                   
     the  25th  Alaska  State  Legislature  gave  Alaskans  a                                                                   
     simple and convenient option  to donate to charities and                                                                   
     non-profits of their choice.  These organizations, which                                                                   
     provide important  services to our communities,  rely on                                                                   
     donations to function.                                                                                                     
     One criterion that must be  met by organizations wishing                                                                   
     to  participate often  stops  smaller Alaskan  charities                                                                   
     and  non-profits  from applying.  This  is the  required                                                                   
     financial  audit for organizations  with a total  budget                                                                   
     of  $250,000  or  greater.  The  cost  of  the  required                                                                   
     financial audit  for groups with $250,000  annual budget                                                                   
     is  much greater  than the donations  received  by these                                                                   
     groups through  the Pick.Click.Give program.  This makes                                                                   
     participation    in   the   program    impractical   for                                                                   
     organizations  of this  size.  Not only  does this  mean                                                                   
     that  these smaller  groups will  not receive  donations                                                                   
     through  the  program,  some   groups  have  found  that                                                                   
     exclusion  from the program  gives their supporters  the                                                                   
     mistaken  impression that they  are no longer  certified                                                                   
     This   bill  eases   the  financial   burden  on   these                                                                   
     organizations  and  allows   Alaskans  a  more  complete                                                                   
     choice  of organizations  by  eliminating the  financial                                                                   
     audit  requirement.  This   does  not  remove  financial                                                                   
     accountability.     All    Pick.Click.Give.     Donation                                                                   
     recipients must  be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt  organizations,                                                                   
     which are  required to file  the form 990  annually with                                                                   
     the  IRS. Organizations  are  also required  to have  an                                                                   
     audit  if  they  expend  $500,000  or  more  in  federal                                                                   
     awards.  Entities  that  expend less  than  $500,000  in                                                                   
     federal  funds  still  must  still  make  their  records                                                                   
     available for review by the federal government.                                                                            
     This bill  further requires the University  of Alaska to                                                                   
     pay  the  $250 application  fee  to participate  in  the                                                                   
     program, just as all other eligible organizations do.                                                                      
     The Pick.Click.Give program  encourages Alaskans to give                                                                   
     back  to their  community  by bringing  the many  worthy                                                                   
     state  programs  right  to  their doorstep.  It  is  the                                                                   
     smaller  non-profits which  nourish Alaskan  communities                                                                   
     on  a personal level,  which open  pathways for  budding                                                                   
     artistic   talents    and   provide    the   educational                                                                   
     opportunities that fit just  right with community needs.                                                                   
     These  organizations  deserve   the  chance  to  connect                                                                   
    through Pick.Click.Give to the Alaskans they serve.                                                                         
9:09:42 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman noted  the  one previously  published  zero                                                                   
fiscal note from the Department of Revenue (DOR).                                                                               
CS HB 302 (FIN)  was HEARD and HELD in committee  for further                                                                   
HOUSE BILL NO. 366                                                                                                            
     "An  Act establishing  an Alaska  intrastate mutual  aid                                                                   
     system  and  relating  to   the  duties  of  the  Alaska                                                                   
     division of  homeland security and emergency  management                                                                   
     and the  duties of the  Alaska State Emergency  Response                                                                   
9:10:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL   PASCHALL,   STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE   ERIC   FEIGE,                                                                   
disclosed  that Representative  Feige  was the  Chief of  the                                                                   
Chickaloon Volunteer  Fire Department.  He added that  he was                                                                   
the Assistant  Chief and  board member  of the Rural  Deltana                                                                   
Volunteer   Fire  Department   and   that   he  chaired   the                                                                   
Delta/Greely   Local   Emergency   Planning   Committee.   He                                                                   
furthered  that  he was  a  member  of the  State  Inoperable                                                                   
Communications Committee; all  of the mentioned organizations                                                                   
could be related to the legislation.                                                                                            
9:11:38 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Paschall   explained  that  according  to   the  Federal                                                                   
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  mutual aid agreements and                                                                   
systems   agreements   were  agreements   between   agencies,                                                                   
organizations,  and jurisdictions  that provided a  mechanism                                                                   
to  quickly  obtain  emergency  assistance  in  the  form  of                                                                   
personnel equipment materials  and other associated services.                                                                   
The  primary objective  was to  facilitate rapid,  short-term                                                                   
deployment of  emergency support prior to, during,  and after                                                                   
an incident. He stated that through  the Emergency Management                                                                   
Assistance  Compact (EMAC),  all 50 states,  the District  of                                                                   
Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and  the U.S. Virgin Islands had                                                                   
an  agreement   that  established  guidelines   across  state                                                                   
borders. He referred to the Sponsor Statement (copy on                                                                          
     In 2004  the National  Emergency Management  Association                                                                   
     (NEMA)  in   conjunction  with  the   Federal  Emergency                                                                   
     Management  Agency  (FEMA)   and  a  host  of  emergency                                                                   
     response organizations,  began developing  and promoting                                                                   
     model legislation  for an  intrastate mutual  aid system                                                                   
     (IMAS). The goal  of IMAS is to provide  a framework for                                                                   
     all  political subdivisions  within a  state to  receive                                                                   
     and render  aid to other subdivisions within  a state in                                                                   
     times of need.                                                                                                             
     HB  366  will  implement  this model  legislation  in  a                                                                   
     manner that will be beneficial  for Alaskan communities.                                                                   
     The system  detailed in HB 366 will provide  a framework                                                                   
     for mutual assistance among  the participating political                                                                   
     subdivisions  - regions,  boroughs, municipalities,  and                                                                   
     other  local  jurisdictions  -  in  the  prevention  of,                                                                   
     response  to,  and  recovery   from  any  disaster  that                                                                   
     results  in  a  formal  declaration  of  local  disaster                                                                   
     The  employees and  volunteers  who  serve in  emergency                                                                   
     services recognize that emergencies  transcend political                                                                   
     jurisdictional boundaries.  They, and the local agencies                                                                   
     they    serve,   understand    that    intergovernmental                                                                   
     coordination  is essential for  the protection  of lives                                                                   
     and  property  and for  best  use of  available  assets.                                                                   
     Currently,  the  Alaska Disaster  Act  does provide  for                                                                   
     political subdivisions to  create mutual aid agreements,                                                                   
     which, in practice, works  well for neighboring entities                                                                   
     or  service areas  that have an  established history  of                                                                   
     providing mutual aid to one  another. These local mutual                                                                   
     aid agreements  vary widely in  their scope and  may not                                                                   
     all address  key issues  of liability and  compensation.                                                                   
     Further, they may not encompass  all emergency services.                                                                   
     Through   HB  366,  a   statewide  agreement   would  be                                                                   
     developed  to  supplement  existing  regional  or  local                                                                   
     agreements by  establishing a comprehensive,  integrated                                                                   
     system of mutual  aid at a state level  that will ensure                                                                   
     an efficient  and effective response to  all hazards and                                                                   
     HB  366  would  allow  all   political  subdivisions  to                                                                   
     automatically  be included in  the statewide  mutual aid                                                                   
     system.  A political subdivision  may elect  to withdraw                                                                   
     by enacting  an appropriate resolution by  its governing                                                                   
     body. This  legislation would not prevent  participating                                                                   
     entities  from  entering into  supplementary  agreements                                                                   
     with   other  political   subdivisions  or  impact   any                                                                   
     existing  or  future  agreements.   If  a  participating                                                                   
     entity  cannot   provide  assistance  to   a  requesting                                                                   
     entity, they are not obligated or bound to provide                                                                         
9:14:35 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Thomas  wondered  if  HB 366  participation  in  the                                                                   
system was mandatory.                                                                                                           
Mr. Paschall  replied that  the way the  law was  written all                                                                   
political sub-divisions,  which would include  communities in                                                                   
the state,  were a part of  the agreement. He added  that any                                                                   
community  or  municipality could  vote  to  opt out  of  the                                                                   
agreement. He noted  that no one was required  to participate                                                                   
in  the event  of an  emergency.  He stressed  that the  bill                                                                   
simply  provided the  mechanism for  understanding where  the                                                                   
liability lands during an emergency situation.                                                                                  
9:16:20 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman noted  the  one previously  published  zero                                                                   
fiscal  note from  the Department  of  Military and  Veterans                                                                   
Co-Chair Hoffman OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
9:16:51 AM                                                                                                                    
BRYAN  FISHER,  CHIEF  OF  OPERATIONS,   ALASKA  DIVISION  OF                                                                   
HOMELAND  SECURITY AND  EMERGENCY  MANAGEMENT, DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                   
MILITARY and  VETERANS AFFAIRS,  FORT RICHARDSON,  ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
(via  teleconference), testified  in  support of  HB 366.  He                                                                   
stated that  interstate mutual  aid was his agencies  mission                                                                   
and  the standing  mission of  the  State Emergency  Response                                                                   
Commission.  He noted  that his  agency  provided the  direct                                                                   
staff  support  to the  commission  already,  hence the  zero                                                                   
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
9:17:58 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  GIBBS,  DIRECTOR OF  EMERGENCY  OPERATIONS,  FAIRBANKS                                                                   
NORTH STAR BOROUGH (via teleconference),  spoke in support of                                                                   
HB 366. He  added that interstate mutual aid  legislation was                                                                   
a legislative  priority for the  borough in 2010.He  believed                                                                   
that  the  bill  was well  crafted  policy  that  provided  a                                                                   
framework for a consistent and  integrated mutual aid system.                                                                   
He  shared  that   the  myriad  of  issues   with  regard  to                                                                   
authorities,   compensation,  and   liability  affected   the                                                                   
ability to provide,  and receive, timely assistance  in times                                                                   
of disaster.                                                                                                                    
9:19:05 AM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD ETHERIDGE, SECOND VICE-PRESIDENT,  ALASKA FIRE CHIEFS                                                                   
ASSOCIATION,  JUNEAU, urged  support  for HB  366. He  opined                                                                   
that there currently were delays in responding to disasters                                                                     
in outlaying communities. He felt that the bill would                                                                           
streamline operations to provide for faster response.                                                                           
Co-Chair Hoffman CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
HB 366 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 23(FIN)                                                                                
     Establishing  and relating to  the Alaska Arctic  Policy                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE REGGIE JOULE, introduced HCR 23. He referred                                                                     
to the Sponsor Statement (copy on file):                                                                                        
     The  Alaska  Northern  Waters  Task  Force  (ANWTF)  was                                                                   
     established  in 2010 to  identify the opportunities  and                                                                   
     challenges  if a  changing  Arctic.  Arctic Nations  are                                                                   
     anticipating   the  development  of  northern   shipping                                                                   
     routes,  mineral extraction,  oil  and gas  exploration,                                                                   
     commercial fisheries,  and tourism. Some of  this change                                                                   
     has  already stated  to occur. The  ANWTF completed  its                                                                   
     final report  on January  30, 2012. The report  includes                                                                   
     recommendations in six Arctic  policy areas: Governance,                                                                   
     Oil   &   Gas   Development,    Marine   Transportation,                                                                   
     Fisheries, Infrastructure,  and Research. The  report is                                                                   
     one of the  most detailed statements of  Alaska's Arctic                                                                   
     policy to date,  yet much work remains  to fully expound                                                                   
     upon all the diverse issues  that the Task Force brought                                                                   
     While the  United States has an official  written Arctic                                                                   
     Policy (National Security  Presidential Directive (NSPD-                                                                   
     66), Alaska  does not. Most of the other  Arctic Nations                                                                   
     and the  Northwest Territories already  have established                                                                   
     Arctic  policies.  As the  jurisdiction  that makes  the                                                                   
     United  States an  Arctic nation  and ad  the only  U.S.                                                                   
     state  that is home  to Arctic  residents, Alaska  needs                                                                   
     and Arctic  policy of its own. Alaska needs  to position                                                                   
     itself  now  regarding  the  nation's  Arctic  policy  -                                                                   
     Alaska   cannot  take  that   leadership  role   without                                                                   
     understanding  what its own  priorities should  be. This                                                                   
     is  especially critical  considering  the United  States                                                                   
     will be chairing the Arctic  Council from 2015-2017. The                                                                   
     Arctic  Policy Commission  will provide the  legislature                                                                   
     an opportunity  to remain engaged in the  ongoing Arctic                                                                   
     dialogue  and  to  help   shape  future  Alaskan  Arctic                                                                   
     Toward  this  end, HCR  23  creates in  the  legislative                                                                   
     branch  an  Alaska  Arctic Policy  Commission.  The  16-                                                                   
     member Commission would include:                                                                                           
        · 3 senators appointed by the Senate President (one                                                                     
          acting as Co-Chair)                                                                                                   
        · 3 representatives appointed by the House Speaker                                                                      
          (one acting as Co-Chair)                                                                                              
        · 1 member from the executive branch appointed by                                                                       
          the Governor                                                                                                          
        · 9 members appointed jointly by the President and                                                                      
          the Speaker representing:                                                                                             
          o The federal government                                                                                              
          o A tribal entity                                                                                                     
          o The mining industry                                                                                                 
          o The oil & gas industry                                                                                              
          o The University of Alaska                                                                                            
          o Fisheries                                                                                                           
          o A local government                                                                                                  
          o A costal government                                                                                                 
          o An international Arctic organization                                                                                
     Over  the  course  of  two   years,  the  Arctic  Policy                                                                   
     Commission  will hold  meetings in  Arctic areas  of the                                                                   
     state   as  well   as  Anchorage   and  Fairbanks.   The                                                                   
     Commission   is   tasked  with   providing   preliminary                                                                   
     recommendations  on Alaska's  Arctic  policy by  January                                                                   
     30, 2014 and  delivering a final report  by January, 30,                                                                   
9:22:51 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Thomas  felt that language pertaining  to the state's                                                                   
recommendations  regarding  the law  of  the  seas should  be                                                                   
included in the bill.                                                                                                           
Representative Joule  replied that the  issue was one  of the                                                                   
top recommendations  from the Northern Waters  Task Force. He                                                                   
furthered that  one year  ago both the  house and  the senate                                                                   
had  sent  a resolution  to  Congress,  which  was  currently                                                                   
keeping  the recommendation  alive  and  well. He  understood                                                                   
that the issue  was slated to  be taken up in spring  2012 in                                                                   
the U.S. Senate.                                                                                                                
9:24:23 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hoffman  noted the once fiscal impact  note from the                                                                   
Co-Chair Hoffman OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Hoffman CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
CS HCR 23 (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 21(FIN)                                                                                                 
     "An  Act relating  to the  membership  of the  Statewide                                                                   
     Suicide Prevention Council."                                                                                               
9:25:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ANNA FAIRCLOUGH, explained HB 21. She                                                                            
referred to the Sponsor Statement (copy on file):                                                                               
     House  Bill  21  would simply  increase  the  number  of                                                                   
     members  appointed to the  Statewide Suicide  Prevention                                                                   
     Council from 16 members to  17 members and create an age                                                                   
     requirement for the youth member.                                                                                          
     The  additional   member  would  be  appointed   by  the                                                                   
     Governor  and would give  representation on  the council                                                                   
     for members of our military.  Suicide among our military                                                                   
     is on  the rise and  having an individual  familiar with                                                                   
     the lives and challenges  our military members face on a                                                                   
    daily basis is crucial to their overall well-being.                                                                         
     The new member must be one  of the following; discharged                                                                   
     from, retired  from, or engaged in active  duty military                                                                   
     service  or someone  who  is a  mental health  provider,                                                                   
     social  worker,  or other  person  actively providing  a                                                                   
     health care  service to  discharged, retired,  or active                                                                   
     military personnel.                                                                                                        
     House  Bill  21 also  changes  the requirement  for  the                                                                   
     youth member who is appointed  to the council. Currently                                                                   
     this  appointee has  to be  enrolled in  the 9th,  10th,                                                                   
     11th, or 12th  grade of a secondary school.  This member                                                                   
     would be  changed allowing the  youth to be 16  years of                                                                   
     age when appointed, but not  older than 20 years of age.                                                                   
     This will allow  our youth members to continue  to serve                                                                   
     beyond  completion of their  secondary school  education                                                                   
     and allow for continuity on the council.                                                                                   
9:26:17 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Thomas understood that there was limited counseling                                                                     
for soldiers returning from Iraq. He hoped the bill would                                                                       
help to alleviate that problem.                                                                                                 
9:26:55 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Ellis appreciated the mission of the legislation. He                                                                    
queried the current status to the senate bill on suicide                                                                        
prevention that was being considered on the house side.                                                                         
Representative  Fairclough   responded  that  the   bill  was                                                                   
scheduled to be heard on the house side that same day.                                                                          
9:27:39 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman noted  the  one new  fiscal  note from  the                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Hoffman OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
9:28:03 AM                                                                                                                    
KATE   BURKHART,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  SUICIDE   PREVENTION                                                                   
COUNCIL, JUNEAU,  testified in  support of  SB 21.  She noted                                                                   
that  the  legislation  was  a  direct  result  of  collected                                                                   
community input.  She stressed  the importance that  a member                                                                   
of the military  veteran community be a part  of the council.                                                                   
She felt  there needed to  be an expansion  of the  age range                                                                   
for the  junior member of the  council. She relayed  that the                                                                   
council  would benefit  from youth members  being allowed  to                                                                   
serve as a regular  member and not be limited  to a truncated                                                                   
GAYLE   TRIVETTE,   VOLUNTEER,  JUNEAU   SUICIDE   PREVENTION                                                                   
COALITION,  JUNEAU,  testified  in  support  of  HB  21.  She                                                                   
believed  that adding  a  seat to  the  council to  represent                                                                   
Alaska's many veterans,  and the expansion of  the youth term                                                                   
requirements,  would allow  the council  to better  represent                                                                   
the needs of both groups.                                                                                                       
9:31:17 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Olson  wondered  how  the  council  interacted  with                                                                   
similar programs on the federal level.                                                                                          
Representative  Fairclough  replied   that  the  council  had                                                                   
formalized a  strategic plan to  engage prevention  groups on                                                                   
the federal level.                                                                                                              
CS HB 21  (FIN) was HEARD  and HELD in committee  for further                                                                   
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 115(TRA)                                                                                                
     "An Act designating a portion of Minnesota Drive and a                                                                     
     portion of O'Malley Road in Anchorage the Walter J.                                                                        
     Hickel Expressway."                                                                                                        
9:32:39 AM                                                                                                                    
YASMINE   HABASH,   STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE   CRAIG   JOHNSON,                                                                   
explained  HB  115. She  referred  to the  Sponsor  Statement                                                                   
(copy on file):                                                                                                                 
     Walter  J.  Hickel  served  as the  Governor  of  Alaska                                                                   
     twice, served with distinction  as U.S. Secretary of the                                                                   
     Interior,  and led and inspired  the development  of the                                                                   
     State  of  Alaska  and  the  Circumpolar  Arctic  Region                                                                   
     throughout  his long distinguished  career. In  Governor                                                                   
     Hickel's many  elected and public roles  he successfully                                                                   
     pushed  to  open  Prudhoe  Bay to  oil  development  and                                                                   
     oversaw  the  permitting  process for  the  Trans-Alaska                                                                   
     Pipeline among many other accomplishments.                                                                                 
     HB  115  designates  concurrently  naming a  portion  of                                                                   
     Minnesota  Drive  and  O'Malley Road  in  Anchorage  the                                                                   
     Walter J. Hickel Expressway  from 15th Avenue to the New                                                                   
     Seward  Highway. This  section of  highway is 7.5  miles                                                                   
     long and by concurrently  naming this section of highway                                                                   
     there will be  no need for any household  or business to                                                                   
     change their address.                                                                                                      
9:33:39 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Thomas wondered  if there was  a significant  reason                                                                   
for picking  15th Avenue  as the  starting point, instead  of                                                                   
downtown. Ms.  Habash replied that  she was not aware  of any                                                                   
significant  reason  for  the   designation,  and  agreed  to                                                                   
provide further information.                                                                                                    
9:34:34 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hoffman OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Hoffman CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
9:34:41 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hoffman  noted the one  fiscal impact note  from the                                                                   
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.                                                                             
CS HB 11  (TRA) was HEARD  and HELD in committee  for further                                                                   
HOUSE BILL NO. 360                                                                                                            
     "An  Act  enacting  the Interstate  Mining  Compact  and                                                                   
     relating  to the  compact;  relating  to the  Interstate                                                                   
     Mining  Commission;  and   providing  for  an  effective                                                                   
9:35:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB LYNN,  introduced  HB  360. He  explained                                                                   
that the  legislation would  give Alaska a  full vote  in the                                                                   
Interstate Mining  Compact Commission  (IMCC). He  noted that                                                                   
the state  had been a member of  the compact for 6  years but                                                                   
as an  associate member,  never had  a vote. The  legislation                                                                   
would give Alaska full voting  rights in a formal vote in the                                                                   
state compact  while maintaining state sovereignty  in mining                                                                   
issues. He  furthered that  mining was a  growing for  in the                                                                   
state's  economy,  and  broadened the  state's  revenue  base                                                                   
beyond  oil and  gas. He  shared  that there  were 45  direct                                                                   
mining jobs in  Alaska and 9,000 indirect jobs  attributed to                                                                   
mining. He said  mining generated approximately  $150 million                                                                   
in state  revenue, $17 million  in local government  revenue,                                                                   
and  over  $179   million  in  payments  for   Alaska  Native                                                                   
Corporations. He said  that a voting voice in  the IMCC would                                                                   
give Alaska a stronger voice on the federal level.                                                                              
9:37:26 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hoffman  noted the  one fiscal  note from  the House                                                                   
Finance  Committee which  eliminated $20  thousand in  travel                                                                   
cost from  the original note  from the Department  of Natural                                                                   
Co-Chair Hoffman OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
9:37:57 AM                                                                                                                    
ED  FOGELS,   DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT   OF  NATURAL                                                                   
RESOURCES,  urged support of  HB 360.  He stated that  mining                                                                   
was an  important aspect  of Alaska's  economy. He  testified                                                                   
that  due  to  the  streamlined   permitting  and  regulatory                                                                   
process of  the state  there were  currently had 7  operating                                                                   
mines  that were  contributing  to the  treasury. He  relayed                                                                   
that  mining  had  become  controversial   in  recent  years,                                                                   
bringing  the   strength  of  the  permitting   process  into                                                                   
question. He said that, under  the direction of the governor,                                                                   
the department  was examining  the permitting  process  in an                                                                   
effort to  better protect the  environment. He  asserted that                                                                   
by joining  the commission the  state would gain  leverage on                                                                   
the federal level.                                                                                                              
9:40:07 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Thomas wondered what practical  effect the commission                                                                   
would have on existing mining operations.                                                                                       
Mr. Fogels replied  that the Environmental  Protection Agency                                                                   
(EPA)  was  currently  considering taking  over  bonding  for                                                                   
hard-rock  mining in the  nation. He  said that every  mining                                                                   
state in the  nation was concerned that once  the bonding was                                                                   
taken  over  the   EPA  could  take  over  the   entire  mine                                                                   
regulatory  process  for  each  state.  He  stated  that  the                                                                   
commission  was  currently  in  discussion with  the  EPA  to                                                                   
educate them  on the bonding  programs already  in existence,                                                                   
with the hope that  it would prompt the EPA  to rethink their                                                                   
initiative.  He  concluded  that  this  was  a  case  of  the                                                                   
commission voicing collective states concerns to the EPA.                                                                       
9:41:41 AM                                                                                                                    
GREGORY   CONRAD,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  INTERSTATE   MINING                                                                   
COMPACT  COMMISSION,  WASHINGTON D.C.  (via  teleconference),                                                                   
urged committee support  of HB 360. He explained  the present                                                                   
legislative  and   regulatory  climate  in   Washington  D.C.                                                                   
demanded that state governments  have a strong voice in order                                                                   
to be  heard. He said that  the commission was  recognized on                                                                   
the federal level  for their expertise on mining  issues, and                                                                   
had been  invited to testify  on behalf  of the state  in six                                                                   
congressional hearings  in the house  and senate in  2012. He                                                                   
stressed that it was the active  participation and commitment                                                                   
of  the  full member  state  that  carried  the  organization                                                                   
forward  in terms  of support  and  leadership. He  expounded                                                                   
that upon  the enactment of  the legislation the  state would                                                                   
have a formal  vote in guiding the direction  of the compact,                                                                   
and  the ability  to  chair  committees  of the  compact.  He                                                                   
concluded  that the  passage of  the legislation  was in  the                                                                   
best interest for the state.                                                                                                    
9:45:09 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson  noted some tension  between the  fisheries and                                                                   
the mining industry  in relation to the Pebble  Mine project.                                                                   
He  queried the  commission's  position  on  the Pebble  mine                                                                   
Mr.  Conrad replied  that  the  commission held  no  official                                                                   
position.  He  believed  that   the  commission  could  offer                                                                   
direction in  discussions of the  types of issues  associated                                                                   
with the development of the Pebble Mine.                                                                                        
9:46:26 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Egan  noted that  many of the  member states  were on                                                                   
the East Coast. He wondered if  there was a plan to encourage                                                                   
more Western states to participate.                                                                                             
Mr. Conrad replied  that Colorado, Utah, New  Mexico, Wyoming                                                                   
were  associate members  that  were pursuing  legislation  to                                                                   
become full members. He added  that the commission was in the                                                                   
process of working  with Nevada, the newest  associate member                                                                   
state.  He said  that  discussions  were also  underway  with                                                                   
Montana and  Arizona. He explained  that when  the commission                                                                   
was formed in 1970 the focus had  been on Eastern coal mining                                                                   
states  as a  result of  legislation before  congress at  the                                                                   
time.  He shared  that  since that  time  the commission  had                                                                   
expanded   the  scope   of  its   issues,  initiatives,   and                                                                   
priorities beyond coal.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Hoffman CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
HB  360  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in  committee   for  further                                                                   
9:48:31 AM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 9:48 AM.                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB 21- Explanation of Changes.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
CSHB 21- Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
CSHB 21- Letter of Support- Douglas.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
CSHB 21- Letter of Support- SSPC.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
HB 21 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
CSHB 115(TRA) Explanation of Changes.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 115
CSHB 115(TRA) Google Map.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 115
CSHB 115(TRA) Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 115
CSHB 115(TRA) Support.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 115