Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/19/1996 01:32 PM Senate L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE                             
                         March 19, 1996                                        
                           1:32 P.M.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman                                                   
 Senator John Torgerson, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 305                                                           
 "An Act relating to the regulation of accountants; and amending the           
 effective date for sec. 6, ch. 62, SLA 1991."                                 
 SENATE BILL NO. 276                                                           
 "An Act relating to the calculation of unemployment insurance                 
 benefits; and providing for an effective date."                               
 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 229(CRA)                                               
 "An Act relating to employment contributions and to the state                 
 training and employment program; and providing for an effective               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB 305 - No previous action to consider.                                      
 SB 276 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/22/96 and 3/14/96.            
 SB 229 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 2/7/96,               
          2/12/96, 2/21/96, and 3/18/96.                                       
      See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 3/14/96.                              
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 Chuck Griffin, Chairman                                                       
 State Board of Public Accountants                                             
 P.O. Box 670                                                                  
 Palmer, AK 99645                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 305.                                      
 Catherine Reardon, Director                                                   
 Division of Occupational Licensing                                            
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development                               
 P.O. Box 110806                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0806                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 305 as amended.                           
 Dwight Perkins, Special Assistant                                             
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 33922                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 229 and SB 276.                           
 Ron Torgerson                                                                 
 Division of Employment Security                                               
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 25509                                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 229 and SB 276.                        
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 96-20, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
                SB 305 REGULATION OF ACCOUNTANTS                              
 CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee                 
 meeting to order at 1:32 p.m. and announced  SB 305  to be up for             
 CHUCK GRIFFIN, Chairman of the State Board of Public Accountancy,             
 said SB 305 makes three changes in the Accountancy Act.  One is to            
 defer and provide transition for the 150 hour education                       
 requirement.  This is mostly on behalf of the University community            
 whose students will be graduating in the next year or two and hope            
 to become licensed.                                                           
 The second change would give the Board the statutory authority to             
 recognize for permit purposes limited liability companies which are           
 now permitted under AS10.50.  There is now no provision to                    
 recognize that entity for licensing.                                          
 The third change would provide a limited form of permissive                   
 reciprocity for licensing CPA's who come from other states in the             
 form of a five in 10 rule reflecting examination and experience.              
 This will streamline the licensing process when these people move             
 to Alaska or are transferred by their firms.                                  
 He noted that two amendments are needed.  In section one, dealing             
 with the reciprocity provision, currently reads "an applicant                 
 passes a public accounting examination" and it should read "the               
 applicant has passed the uniform certified public accountants                 
 examination."  This conforms the title to the examination that is             
 referred to nationally and in our statutes, he said.                          
 The other change is on page 10, the educational experience                    
 requirement, where "in public accounting" needs to be deleted                 
 because there is no requirement for a public accounting degree                
 which would not be uniformly awarded anyway.                                  
 Number 181                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY asked why he wanted section 6 to take effect January            
 1, 2001 which is a ways from now.  MR. GRIFFIN replied that they              
 are currently the 1991 Act which has an effective date of September           
 1, 1997 and they have received a number of requests from primarily            
 University students who feel that 1997 puts us ahead of the                   
 national curve and, secondly, the 1991 Act didn't allow for any               
 transition whereby a person, if they had a degree prior to 1997,              
 could still qualify.  He said the Department of Law said that only            
 the legislature can enact that provision; the Board couldn't adopt            
 any regulation to provide any transition or grandfathering.                   
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked on page 9, line 25 regarding the definition           
 of a foreign limited liability company and he wanted to know why we           
 would identify them.  MR. GRIFFIN replied that foreign under the              
 limit liability law does not mean outside the U.S.; it means an LLC           
 which is not directly domiciled in Alaska.  They have had to deal             
 with the same provision with respect to professional corporations.            
 It is basically a form of interstate reciprocity.                             
 SENATOR SALO moved on page 1, line 9 to change the term to the                
 uniform certified public accountant examination and on page 10,               
 lines 14 and 15 to delete the words "in public accounting."                   
 CATHERINE REARDON, Division of Occupational Licensing, said that              
 the administration they supported the bill with the changing of the           
 There were no objections to the amendments and they were adopted.             
 SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass CSSB 305 from committee with                  
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
         SB 276 CALCULATION OF UNEMPLOYMT INS BENEFITS                        
           SB 229 STATE TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM                         
 SENATOR KELLY announced  SB 276  and  SB 229  to be up for                    
 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant, Department of Labor, supported             
 SB 229.                                                                       
 SENATOR KELLY said he wanted to combine the two bills under SB 229.           
 He said there had been some questions about restructuring the                 
 insurance payments on the Unemployment Insurance Program to allow             
 the employee to pay a larger share of the proposed increase.  He              
 noted there was a letter from the Department of Labor called the              
 Employer and Employee Contribution proposal which caps the weekly             
 benefit amount at $248.                                                       
 MR. PERKINS discussed the letter for the committee.  He said that             
 right now the current level based on 70% of the average annual                
 Alaska wage is $22,500.  That equates to $212 per week for                    
 unemployment.  The proposal today increases the benefit by $2 for             
 every $250 increase in wage.  The maximum unemployment would be               
 capped at $248 per week.  He said this would be locked in statute,            
 not to be changed until some future date.                                     
 SENATOR KELLY remarked that the $212 in the original Governor's               
 bill had been replaced with the $248 minimum.                                 
 MR. PERKINS also commented on the step program saying that                    
 originally the program would be institutionalized.  There were                
 concerns with that in the Department of Labor and the Department of           
 Community and Regional Affairs and a two year sunset provision was            
 established.  The amount of administrative expenses would be capped           
 to 20 percent of the total amount of the step dollars coming into             
 the program.  That 20 percent would be less the agreement that the            
 Department of Labor has with the federal Office of Management and             
 Budget entitled Circular A87, Cost Principles for State and Local             
 Governments.  That would be outside the cap.                                  
 MR. Perkins said they receive funds from the Alaska Human Resource            
 Investment Council, Community and Regional Affairs, Department of             
 Labor (non-resident hire report), Municipality of Anchorage and               
 Fairbanks (service delivery areas).  All those cannot exceed 20               
 percent excluding the $250,000 in the Circular A87.                           
 SENATOR KELLY remarked that that was a real cap of about 26 or 27             
 percent.  MR. PERKINS agreed and said the Community and Regional              
 Affairs Committee also agree with these changes.                              
 SENATOR KELLY remarked that this is a unique program and what makes           
 it work is the flexibility away from all of the federal                       
 MR. PERKINS explained there was another change regarding account              
 procedures for accuracy, efficiency, and to ensure compliance with            
 program requirements and generally accepted accounting principles.            
 MR. PERKINS said the administration supported merging these two               
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if they were increasing the amount of money           
 made available in the step program by going to the 20/80.                     
 RON TORGERSON, Department of Labor, replied that the amount the               
 employee pays out is increasing.                                              
 Number 340                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON moved to combine the two bills.  There were no              
 objections and it was so ordered.                                             
 SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass CSSB 229 from committee with                  
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
 SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 1:55 p.m.                              

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