Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/12/1998 01:37 PM Senate L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE March 12, 1998 1:37 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chairman Senator Jerry Mackie, Vice Chairman Senator Lyman Hoffman MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Tim Kelly Senator Mike Miller COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 329 "An Act establishing an exemption for investment clubs from the business license requirement." - MOVED SB 329 FROM COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 319 "An Act relating to arbitration; amending Rules 57(a) and 77(g), Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSSB 319(L&C) FROM COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 233 "An Act extending the termination date of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board." - MOVED SB 233 FROM COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 330 "An Act relating to underground facilities." - MOVED CSSB 330(L&C) FROM COMMITTEE PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 329 - No previous action to consider. SB 319 - See Labor and Commerce Committee minutes dated 3/10/98. SB 233 - No previous action to consider. SB 330 - No previous action to consider. WITNESS REGISTER Ms. Annette Kreitzer, Staff Senator Loren Leman State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 329 for sponsor and on SB 330. Mr. Floyd Damron, Co-President Alaska Council of the National Association of Investors Corporation (907) 276-6833 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 329. Ms. Catherine Reardon, Director Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99811-0806 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 329. Mr. Jerry Burnett, Staff Senator Randy Phillips State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 319 for sponsor. Mr. Don Dapcevich, Executive Director State Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse P.O. Box 0608 Juneau, AK 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 233. Ms. Charity Kadow, President Spenard Community Council (907) 563-6634 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 233. Mr. Doug Griffin, Director Alcohol Beverage Control Board 550 W 7th, Ste 350 Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 233. Mr. Jim Rowe, Executive Director Alaska Telephone Association 201 E 56th Ave., Suite 114 Anchorage, AK 99518 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 330. Mr. Mike Golat Unalaska, AK (907) 581-1260 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 330. Mr. Randy Nelson Alaska Telephone Association, Engineering and Planning Committee 201 E 56th Ave., Suite 114 Anchorage, AK 99518 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 330. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-14, SIDE A Number 001 SB 329 - INVESTMENT CLUB LICENSE EXEMPTION CHAIRMAN LEMAN called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 1:37 p.m. and announced SB 329 to be up for consideration. MS. ANNETTE KREITZER, Staff to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, said this legislation was introduced because of a discrepancy in how Alaska statutes are interpreted. Mr. Floyd Damron, Alaska Regional Council and National Association of Investors Corporation, contacted them regarding this issue saying they had been advised that they need to purchase a business license to be able to be an investment club in Alaska. That's not the case in other states. Alaska is the sole exception to that. MR. FLOYD DAMRON, Co-President, Alaska Council of the National Association of Investors Corporation, said they are a newly formed council that represents 112 investment clubs in Alaska with about 1,500 - 1,600 Alaska residents as members. Their national organization has about 36,000 clubs made up of about 600,000 people. He explained that the primary purpose of the Alaska Council and investment clubs is educational. A group of friends get together with a small amount of money, so they can learn how to invest in the U.S. stock market. The Securities and Exchange Commission does not view this type of investment club as being securities dealers or brokers. MR. DAMRON said they are uncertain as to whether or not they need to have a business license. Polls of investment clubs indicated most of them have not purchased business licenses and they, therefore, think that there is an exemption. He didn't think there would be any significant decrease in monies to the State of Alaska without licensing. MS. CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, said they have no opposition to this bill. She said they have given conflicting answers to investment clubs about whether or not they need business licenses. Part of the problem has been that the definition of business is extremely difficult for staff and the public to understand. She thought it would be a good idea to clarify it in the future. There are only a couple of investment clubs that hold business licenses. Therefore, the fiscal note shows $300 in lost revenue, but it may be less because of her Division giving conflicting advice. She would feel comfortable making a $0 fiscal note, so the bill would not need an extra committee stop. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said he thought it would be helpful if she could provide a revised fiscal note. MS. REARDON said she also had a revised definition of "business" to offer "engaging or offering to engage in a trade, profession, or activity with a goal of receiving a benefit in exchange for provision of good services or property. Business does not include the following activities...(include the exemptions that exist in law)" and add to that the exemption for investment clubs and the existing exemption for giving or supplying services as an employee, and, finally, the current exemption for giving or furnishing of goods and services by a person who does not represent to be regularly engaged in those activities. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if that definition would make it easier to administer her Division. MS. REARDON said it would, because it would delete language like "calling or vocation." The whole world is business technically in this definition. Number 172 SENATOR HOFFMAN noted that fishermen are included as requiring a business license, but then later they are exempt. MS. REARDON explained that fishermen are one of the current exemptions. She also noted that they would want to exempt liquor sales from business, not a liquor license. SENATOR MACKIE said he wasn't opposed to a rewrite. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said they could send a proposed committee substitute to the next committee of referral with the suggestion to work with Ms. Reardon on the changes. SENATOR MACKIE moved to pass SB 329 from Committee with the accompanying fiscal note with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SB 319 - ARBITRATION CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced SB 319 to be up for consideration. SENATOR MACKIE moved to adopt the committee substitute. There were no objections and it was so ordered. MR. JERRY BURNETT, Staff to Senator Randy Phillips, said the committee substitute has changes that were recommended by the Attorney General's office and reviewed them for the Committee. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if anyone wanted to testify against this bill. There was no response. SENATOR MACKIE moved to pass SB 319 from Committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SB 233 - ALCOHOL BEVERAGE CONTROL BOARD CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced SB 233 to be up for consideration. MR. DON DAPCEVICH, Executive Director, State Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, said he supported extension of the sunset provisions for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC). CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if he could respond to the audit concerns. MR. DAPCEVICH answered that Ms. Kadow would do that. MS. CHARITY KADOW, President, Spenard Community Council, said that the ABC Board is one of their most stalwart partners in trying to clean up the areas in the Spenard Community Council. Of the 480 liquor licenses in Anchorage, 150 are within the Spenard Community Council boundaries and two more are to be added; they have only six percent of the population. The ABC Board plays a very distinct function within the industry, neighborhoods, and communities. She supported the extension of the ABC as a partner in economic development. MR. DOUG GRIFFIN, Executive Director, ABC Board, said the Division of Legislative Audit recommended a continuation of the Board. He said the Board has tried to become more active in their enforcement and have tried doing a little more outreach in terms of working with other State agencies, community councils, and local governments. The Anchorage Assembly passed a resolution supporting the extension, reflecting their improving working relationship with them. MR. GRIFFIN said they had some difficulties over the last year with staffing, because a staff person got sick in June and never came back to work, but had accumulated a lot of leave, so they couldn't afford to hire another person right away. As a result they have gotten behind on getting licensing, but this does have an impact on businesses and they will try very hard to get the backlog taken care of. Their budget does not allow them to refill that position right now. He said they have requested funding for another position of an enforcement investigator for Southeast Alaska, because they don't have a presence in that part of the State. Currently, they try to get an investigator there once a year for routine inspections, not to conduct investigations or to provide the level of assistance they would like to provide to the local police, state troopers, or local businesses. He said he disagreed with the first finding from the Legislative Auditor, but agreed with the other two and is taking steps to address those problems. CHAIRMAN LEMAN urged him to continue to work within the communities. MR. GRIFFIN responded that since the audit came out, they have made a real effort to get out to communities. SENATOR HOFFMAN asked him which theater has a liquor license. MR. GRIFFIN answered that the Fourth Avenue Theater had a liquor license. SENATOR MACKIE moved to pass SB 233 from Committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SB 330 - LOCATING UNDERGROUND FACILITIES CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced SB 330 to be up for consideration. MS. ANNETTE KREITZER, Staff to Senator Labor and Commerce Committee, pointed out all the changes that had gone on in creating this legislation indicating a stack of papers in front of her. In the process, amendments have been proposed, but not adopted. She said SB 330 was introduced at the request of the Alaska Telephone Association to provide an understanding of the standards and responsibilities for locating and excavating underground facilities throughout the State for utilities and contractors. She explained three amendments had been proposed. The first one makes a change to 42.30.410 (g), page 3, line 9 because this Section doesn't address the situation where the excavation locate extends for considerable distances. The request was to put something in here that would allow for a charge beyond a certain length (perhaps 330 ft.). But there is no prohibition in the bill for charging, so that's why the amendment wasn't included in the bill. An additional definition for "repair" was requested for AS 42.30.490, the definition section. The problem is, if an excavator digs up a newly installed underground facility and splices through a cut cable, is the splice enough of a repair or should the entire cable be replaced. If the Committee does define repair, it should be to "accepted industry standards." One other concern addresses the issue of excavators exposing high voltage power cables and leaving them accessible to individuals other than qualified personnel. The feeling among all participants is that there are already specific provisions in industry standards regarding this issue, like the National Electric Safety Code and other federal codes dealing with high voltage lines. Number 461 MR. JIM ROWE, Executive Director, Alaska Telephone Association, said over two years ago its Engineering and Planning Committee got together and recognized that standards are needed for locates. Here he noted that nothing in this bill is directed just to telephone utilities, but to all utilities. He explained that the electric utility digs next to a water utility line, the telephone utilities are digging near the gas utilities line, etc. He said there are national pressures to come up with State standards and this was modeled basically after the State of Washington and after it was brought to this Committee, the state of Minnesota. Most states have locate standards. MR. ROWE said they wanted something that would benefit the citizens of the State and would make utilities efficiently responsive and allow the same thing for whoever the contractor may be. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if he had any reaction to the definition of the word "repair." MR. ROWE responded that he agreed with Ms. Kreitzer's presentation. He felt the definition would be extending beyond what they are doing in the bill. The industry standard should not be raised if the repairs have been done according to national standards in the past. CHAIRMAN LEMAN noted that by not having a definition, by its omission, a standard has to be followed anyway. MR. ROWE agreed that there are standards in effect now. MR. MIKE GOLAT, Unalaska, said the bill takes positive steps towards protecting the safety of the public and his utility workers - and his assets. It also provides consistent guidelines for locates It raises another issue of liability and clearly establishes that. His problem with the bill is that they have private utilities located on their city-owned rights-of-way and have always taken a cooperative approach to utility management. They have let other utility companies put their utilities in their rights-of-way free of charge and have always been able to work out where liability lies without having the State dictate it. This creates a real lopsided situation, because they have three times as many utilities in their city-owned rights-of-way as ITC has and theirs are typically just below the surface. If there is any digging to do in repairing the road, they are the most likely utility to be hit. He understands that they have two options: one is to get an exclusion from this bill. The other option is to charge ITC for having their utilities in his rights-of-way, so he can litigate some of their exposure. Mr. Dave Goggins understands this and doesn't oppose it at all. The second concern he has is that the liability is not clearly defined when an operator can't reasonably locate with accuracy its utilities (Section 42.30.410(b)). He has a solution that wouldn't clearly define liability, but it would mitigate any disputes. When the operator says he can't locate a utility with reasonable accuracy, they should have a spotter from the utility on-site until the contractor locates its utility. MR. RANDY NELSON, Member, Alaska Telephone Association Engineering and Planning Committee, said he is currently employed by GTE Alaska and has been in the industry for 27 years. He has also worked in other states and is here to answer questions. This bill is of mutual benefit to both excavators and owners. All utilities find themselves wearing both hats. The emphasis of a clear understanding for both parties is mutually beneficial and will result in a reduction of out services to all of their customers and, in the long run, a reduction of costs to both parties. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if he had any reaction to Mr. Golat's comments on lines 15 - 19, when a utility cannot locate with reasonable accuracy, they should have a spotter on-sight. MR. NELSON said he has experience with those situations and that is typically the best way to approach it. People from both parties should be there until the utilities are found. He didn't object to that. The owner definitely wants to help locate those facilities to avoid damages and out-services. TAPE 98-14, SIDE B SENATOR HOFFMAN moved a conceptual amendment providing for an on- site spotter. There were no objections and it was so ordered. MR. ROWE agreed that it was a good amendment. SENATOR MACKIE moved to pass CSSB 233(L&C) from Committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN LEMAN adjourned the meeting at 2:15 p.m.