Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/02/1995 01:40 PM Senate L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE                             
                          May 2, 1995                                          
                           1:40 P.M.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman                                                   
 Senator John Torgerson, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 All Members Present                                                           
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 160                                                           
 "An Act excluding certain employment by students from the                     
 definition of 'employment' in the state employment security laws."            
 HOUSE BILL NO. 180                                                            
 "An Act relating to liquor licenses issued to a hotel, motel,                 
 resort, or similar establishment; and providing for an effective              
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 237(JUD) am                                             
 "An Act relating to workers' compensation insurance rate filings;             
 to second independent medical evaluations for workers' compensation           
 claims; to confidentiality of workers' compensation medical and               
 rehabilitation information; to immunity for third-party design                
 professionals from civil actions by recipients of workers'                    
 compensation benefits; to workers' compensation death benefits; to            
 computation of workers' compensation benefits; to penalties for               
 fraudulent acts related to workers' compensation; to immunity for             
 employer workplace safety inspections related to workers'                     
 compensation insurance; and providing for an effective date."                 
 SENATE BILL NO. 158                                                           
 "An Act relating to pharmacists and pharmacies."                              
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB 160 - No previous action to record.                                        
 HB 180 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated                       
 HB 237 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 158 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/25/95.                        
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 Dwight Perkins, Special Assistant                                             
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802-1149                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 160.                                        
 Barbara Cotting, Legislative Aide                                             
 Representative Jeannette James                                                
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of HB 180.                                     
 Patrick Sharrock, Director                                                    
 Alcoholic Beverage Control Board                                              
 550 W 7th, Ste. 350                                                           
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 180.                                      
 Mike Kible, owner                                                             
 McLaren River Lodge                                                           
 Denali Highway, Alaska                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 180.                                      
 Tim Sullivan, Legislative Aide                                                
 Representative Eldon Mulder                                                   
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of HB 237.                                     
 Paul Grossi                                                                   
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 237.                                      
 Willy Von Hemert, Management Representative                                   
 Ad Hoc Committee                                                              
 1633 W 15th                                                                   
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 237 and amendments.                       
 Kevin Dougherty                                                               
 Ad Hoc Committee                                                              
 2501 Commercial Dr.                                                           
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 237 and amendments.                       
 Sherman Ernouf, Legislative Aide                                              
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 158.                                   
 Catherine Reardon, Director                                                   
 Division of Occupational Licensing                                            
 Department of Commerce                                                        
 P.O. Box 110806                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0806                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 158.                                   
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 95-20, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
          SB 160 EXCLUSIONS FROM UNEMPLOYMENT COVERAGE                        
 CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee                 
 meeting to order at 1:40 p.m. and announced SB 160 to be up for               
 DWIGHT PERKINS, Department of Labor, was not able to testify, but             
 submitted this statement:                                                     
    The Department of Labor opposed SB 160, for the following                  
  1.  The Employment Security Act already goes far enough in                   
 excluding employment of children by their parents and excluding               
 employemnt of students by educational institutions.  Coverage of              
 student workers should not be further eroded.  AS 23.20.526 (d)(5)-           
 (6) excludes service by a regularly enrolled student, or a student            
 enrolled in a work study program for a school, college, or                    
 AS 23.20.526(a)(4) excludes service for a parent by a minor.  The             
 bill would go much further. It would exclude service for any                  
 employer whatsoever, by a worker of any age, so long as the                   
 employer is a parent and the worker is a student between terms.               
 For example, a thirty-five year old worker with a family, who                 
 happened to be working in a parent-operated business, could be                
 excluded from coverage shortly after entering training to improve             
 his or her skills.  The worker would be denied UI protection if the           
 training were interrupted, or the new occupation did not                      
 materialize, or the current employment came to an end.  There is no           
 reason to subject these employees to greater risk than others, just           
 because they happen to be working for their parents and going to              
 school when the wage credits are earned.                                      
 2.  The bill would also create a conflict with federal coverage               
 provisions.  It would exempt students of any age.  However Section            
 330(c)(5) Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) does not exempt                 
 service of a worker age 21 or older (student or otherwise) in the             
 employee of his or her parents.  An employer would, therefore,                
 still be liable for the full FUTA tax on affected employees who are           
 21 or older.  Employers are eligible for a credit against the FUTA            
 tax if the FUTA taxable service is covered under state law, but the           
 credit would not be available on this particular service, since the           
 employer would not be paying state taxes on the service under an              
 approved state law.  If reducing the tax burden is an object of the           
 legislation, very little will be gained by removing the state tax             
 liability and replacing it with the full federal FUTA liability.              
 3.  The tax burden on the affected students is minimal and the                
 number of such students is very small.  A full-time employee will             
 pay maximum of $119.50 in UI contributions for the entire calendar            
 year 1995.  A student employed between school terms would pay much            
 less.  The bill addresses only students employed by their parents,            
 a tiny fraction of the work force.                                            
 4.  The bill would create an unjustifiable disparate impact on                
 student workers.  It would not affect other similarly situated                
 workers who happen not to be employed by their parents.  The                  
 Department firmly believes that expanding the exemption to these              
 other students is an even worse idea, but there is no sound policy            
 reason for targeting a subset of workers on the basis of family               
 5.  The terms of the exclusion are vague and there is no feasible             
 way to base tax liability on a worker's "intention" to remain in              
 school.  Would coverage be retroactive if the worker did not return           
 to school?  Would employer be allowed to certify to the worker's              
 intentions?  The provision would be difficult to enforce and easy             
 to abuse.                                                                     
 SENATOR TORGERSON explained that SB 160 is just a relief for mom              
 and pop buisnesses that have the burden of paperwork slapped on               
 them by undue regulations.  It exempts parents from paying                    
 unemployment tax when a child is in college and comes back and goes           
 to work for them.                                                             
 SENATOR KELLY said he supported this bill.                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass SB 160 from committee with                    
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
            HB 180 LIQUOR LICENSES FOR RESORT/LODGES                          
 SENATOR KELLY announced HB 180 to be up for consideration.                    
 BARBARA COTTING, Aide to Representative Jeannette James, said this            
 bill was requested by lodge owners in very remote areas of                    
 organized boroughs and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board to                  
 correct an inequity.  Right now a person in a very remote area with           
 a large population has to have 40 rental rooms in order to have a             
 full service liquor license.  Those licenses are quite important              
 for lodge owners to be able to stay in business.                              
 SENATOR SALO said she knows of remote lodges that don't have 40               
 rooms and do serve liquor and asked if there was a waiver process             
 PATRICK SHARROCK, Director, Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, said            
 there aren't waivers currently under the statute.  He is under the            
 impression that some guests bring their own alcohol.                          
 SENATOR KELLY asked if there was a difference in the organized and            
 unorganized borough.  MR. SHARROCK said there was a difference in             
 the way licenses are issued in the organized and the unorganized              
 borough.  The proposed legislation does not address the unorganized           
 borough, because there are separate divisions of law for that.                
 MR. SHARROCK said the number of room required in the Kenai and Mat-           
 Su borough is 40, because of the population within those boroughs             
 excluding the population in cities.                                           
 SENATOR SALO asked if this meant 40 rooms or 40 beds.  MR. SHARROCK           
 answered 40 rooms.  The McLaren River Lodge, the particular one               
 this bill addresses, is on the Denali Highway between Paxson and              
 Healy.  It, of course, would allow other business people within               
 boroughs and unified municipalities to meet the new requirement               
 law.  This is supported by the Board.                                         
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if these licenses are like a beer and wine            
 license.  MR. SHARROCK explained this is a full service license and           
 cannot be transferred to another location.                                    
 Number 120                                                                    
 SENATOR SALO asked if a place didn't have 40 rooms would they be              
 able to sell liquor with food currently.  MR. SHARROCK said they              
 could if they have a minimum of 10 rooms (unorganized borough).               
 SENATOR KELLY said in the Board's opinion this would not                      
 proliferate the number of beverage dispensing licenses available.             
 MR. SHARROCK said that was one of the Board's main concerns and               
 they found clearly that it would not, because of the limiting                 
 factor of having to be on a road that isn't open any less than two            
 months out of the year.  The Board thinks this legislation is                 
 simply addressing an inequity.                                                
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if section 3 of this bill applies to the              
 Kenai Borough.  MR. SHARROCK said, yes, that applies to the Kenai             
 Number 176                                                                    
 MIKE TIBLE, owner of McLaren River Lodge, supported SB 160.  He               
 said he just about single handedly opened up the Denali Highway to            
 winter recreation and tourism and he is flanked on both sides by              
 lodges that have full liquor licenses.  Economically, it doesn't              
 make a lot of sense just because he's a mile and a half inside the            
 Mat-Su Borough.  He said this bill would allow the promotion of               
 tourism in the state by small entrepreneurs, like himself.                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass HB 180 with individual                        
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             
            HB 237 WORKERS' COMPENSATION AMENDMENTS                           
 SENATOR KELLY announced HB 237 to be up for consideration.                    
 TIM SULLIVAN, Staff to Representative Eldon Mulder, said HB 237 was           
 introduced at the request of Alaska Labor Management Ad Hoc                   
 Committee on Worker's Compensation, a committee formed from several           
 members from both labor and management.  He gave a brief sectional            
 PAUL GROSSI, Department of Labor, said they support the bill                  
 although there is a technical problem with section 5 which his                
 amendment will address.                                                       
 Section 5 originally was for the release of information from                  
 medical and rehab providers to obtain information to be submitted             
 into a file.  The amendment on the floor makes it unclear about               
 whether they have right to the information contained in their own             
 file.  The other problem is that they can't conduct public hearings           
 and can't issue decisions without that information.  SENATOR KELLY            
 said it was the intention of section 5 to not allow public release            
 to this type of medical information.  He was concerned that it                
 didn't allow release to the Division of Worker's Compensation.  MR.           
 GROSSI said that was right.                                                   
 SHERMAN ERNOUF, Legislative Aide to Senator Kelly, noted that                 
 change was embodied in the proposed CS to HB 237.                             
 WILLY VON HEMERT, Management Representative of the Ad Hoc                     
 Committee, supported HB 237 and the two amendments regarding                  
 confidentiality of records and the language dealing with seasonal             
 and temporary workers.                                                        
 KEVIN DOUGHERTY, Ad Hoc Committee, said they fully support the bill           
 as a combined labor management body along with the amendments.                
 Number 320                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON moved to adopt CS marked K to HB 237.  There were           
 no objections and it was so ordered.                                          
 SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass SCS HB 237(L&C) from committee with           
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
               SB 158 PHARMACISTS AND PHARMACIES                              
 SENATOR KELLY announced SB 158 to be up for consideration.  He                
 asked his aide, Sherman Ernouf, to explain the proposed committee             
 substitute.  MR. ERNOUF said he had worked with many people to                
 solve many of the issues embodied in this bill.  One change he                
 highlighted was in section 2, page 2, line 8, the liberally                   
 construed "to carry out these objectives and purposes" section,               
 because in general everyone thought the bill was too broad.  The              
 powers and duties of the Board were altered and the embargo powers            
 were deleted, he added.                                                       
 At the request of Occupational Licensing, the requirement that the            
 secretary give 30 days written notice to all members was deleted              
 and added that the meetings could be held telephonically.  The                
 executive secretary position was deleted from the bill giving it a            
 $0 fiscal note.                                                               
 The removal of Board members for cause was returned to its previous           
 form.  Old section 13, reciprocity and license transfer, was                  
 rewritten because of the administrative problems of trying to                 
 compare qualifications in different states from 10 years ago.                 
 Licensing of facilities has two new sections that leaves out                  
 existing drug facilities.  Another section was added to insure that           
 physicians physicians' assistants, advanced nurse practitioners,              
 dispensing opticians, and optometrists will not have to license               
 their facilities as do pharmacies.                                            
 SENATOR KELLY noted that these folks are the ones they have already           
 given the ability previously in law to dispense drugs.  MR. ERNOUF            
 said that was correct and that they are regulated.                            
 Number 484                                                                    
 SENATOR SALO asked about dentists.  MR. ERNOUF explained that they            
 would be added in the committee substitute.  He said that the                 
 "controlled substance" clause was added back into the statute, and            
 although it may be redundant with federal legend drugs which                  
 includes narcotics and controlled substances, but the thought was             
 that it was a good idea to have the language in statute, also.                
 Old section 20, which is on page 11, line 13, he said, has one                
 sentence added about when the Board places a drug under seal when             
 a pharmacist has had his license suspended or revoked.  He said the           
 Board of Pharmacy can stamp a seal, but can't actually confine an             
 area.  The Department of Health already has that authority and a              
 sentence has been added saying the Board of Pharmacy shall notify             
 the Department of Health and Social Services to let them know so              
 the enforcement mechanism can come in.  Both departments support              
 this issue.                                                                   
 Old section 24, on page 12, line 19, exempts physicians'                      
 assistants, nurse practitioners, dispensing opticians,                        
 optometrists, and dentists (because they are the only ones who are            
 licensed to dole out drugs) from this whole act.                              
 Old section 25 has been deleted, because it was imposing on others            
 the record keeping and standard requirements for handling drugs               
 which they are already subject to.                                            
 SENATOR SALO asked if it was legal in the State of Alaska for a               
 physician to own a pharmacy or to partly own a pharmacy to whom he            
 is recommending his patients and writing prescriptions.                       
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,              
 said it is not currently against the law to own a testing lab,                
 pharmacy, or other facility to which you might be referring                   
 patients.  The medical statute does have a clause saying that a               
 doctor can be disciplined for violation of "any code of ethics                
 adopted by regulations by the Board"  which has not adopted any               
 code of ethics, she said.                                                     
 MS. REARDON informed the committee that the Board members were                
 under review prior to the most recent issue that came up relating             
 to the editorials.  The administration is putting quite a bit of              
 time into considering the current members and other possible                  
 appointees.  She thought they would see decisions coming up quickly           
 on that.                                                                      
 She said the issue of record keeping by physicians and other health           
 care practitioners would probably be coming up in the next                    
 legislative sessions.  There are currently no statutes or                     
 regulations which require them to maintain records, with the                  
 exception of nurses who have adopted a regulation regarding record            
 Number 515                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY asked if the Medical Board served "for cause" or "at            
 the pleasure of."  MS. REARDON answered, "at the pleasure of."                
 SENATOR MILLER moved to add "dentist" in the two appropriate                  
 places.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.                      
 SENATOR KELLY moved to adopt the committee substitute to SB 158.              
 There were no objections and it was so ordered.                               
 SENATOR SALO moved to pass CSSB 158(L&C) from committee with                  
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
 SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 2:12 p.m.                              
 SENATOR KELLY reopened the meeting to review confirmations on the             
 Board of Nursing:  Bellee L. Cunningham, Kathleen Kloster, and Joe            
 SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting, again, at 2:13 p.m.                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects