Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/07/1993 09:20 AM Senate STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE April 7, 1993 9:20 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chairman Senator Robin Taylor Senator Johnny Ellis MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chairman Senator Jim Duncan COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 145 "An Act establishing the position of state medical examiner; and relating to preparation of death certificates." SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 5 "An Act implementing an option available under federal law to extend Medicaid eligibility to certain persons who are eligible to be institutionalized but who are not in institutions; relating to Medicaid waivers; reordering the priorities assigned to groups of persons served under the Medicaid program; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 161 "An Act relating to interest rates and calculation of interest under certain judgments and decrees and on refunds of certain taxes, royalties, or net profit shares; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 145 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/5/93 and 4/7/93. See HESS minutes dated 4/12/93. SB 5 - See HESS minutes dated 3/24/93 and State Affairs minutes dated 4/7/93. SB 161 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/2/93 & 4/7/93. See Judiciary minutes dated 4/14/93 and 4/20/93. WITNESS REGISTER Joe Winders 800 F St. Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports passsage of SB 5 Portia Babcock, Staff to Senate State Affairs Committee State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 161 Chris Christensen, Legal Counsel Alaska Court System 303 K St. Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Offfered testimony on SB 161 Joe Geldhof, Assistant Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99801-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered testimony on SB 161 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-26, SIDE A Number 001 Chairman Leman called the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting to order at 9:20 a.m. SENATOR LEMAN brought SB 145 (POSITION OF STATE MEDICAL EXAMINER) before the committee as the first order of business. He offered and moved the following amendment to page 1, line 10: delete the word "physician" and insert in its place "forensic pathologist." Hearing no objection, he stated the amendment was adopted and would be incorporated into a State Affairs CS. Number 020 SENATOR ELLIS stated he has some concerns with the legislation, but would not hold up its passing out of committee. Number 163 SENATOR TAYLOR moved and asked unanimous consent that CSSB 145(STA) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. SENATOR LEMAN brought SB 5 (MEDICAID FOR CERTAIN DISABLED CHILDREN) before the committee as the next order of business. Number 183 SENATOR ELLIS said the legislation is the Medicaid option bill that is sort of a safety net or backup to families that won't be served through Project Choice with Medicaid waivers. JOE WINDERS, father of a severely handicapped child, stated his strong support for passage of SB 5. He stressed the need for the assistance the bill would provide to his family because of the high costs incurred in taking care of their handicapped child at home rather than having him insitutionalized. Number 200 SENATOR TAYLOR moved that SB 5 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 210 SENATOR LEMAN introduced SB 161 (INTEREST RATES: JUDGMENTS, TAXES, ROYALTIES) as the final order of business, noting there was a proposed committee substitute for the committee's consideration. SENATOR TYALOR moved that CSSB 161(STA) dated 4/6/93 be adopted. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 230 PORTIA BABCOCK, staff to the Senate State Affairs Committee, explained that several changes discussed at the previous hearing on SB 161 have been incorporated into the committee substitute. The first change was to page 1, line 7, changing the language on judgment and decrees to make it clear that this applied to the judgments that would come down on criminal cases and civil cases. On page 1, line 13, the major change was made in how the interest rate would be calculated and determined. It was determined that it would be easier for the court system to have an annual interest rate that would apply throughout the entire calendar year rather than trying to do several calculations a year. The annual rate would be determined by the Commissioner of Revenue. Section 2 remains the same as in the last draft CS in which an amendment requested by the Municipality of Anchorage was incorporated. On page 3, line 13, a new Section 5 has been added which sets the overall state interest rate as the same as is set out is Section 1. Ms. Babcock said that since the current committee substitute was drafted, an additional change has been suggested where it references civil cases, both in prejudgment and post judgment. Number 286 SENATOR TAYLOR moved the following Amendment No. 1 to CSSB 161(STA): Page 2, line 9: delete "in a civil case" Page 3, lines 18, 20 &23: delete "in civil cases" Hearing no objection, Amendment No. 1 was adopted. Number 295 CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, Legal Counsel to the Judicial Branch, said there was one problem still remaining with the bill and that is the fact that they would be doing multiple calculations. Currently, there is one rate of interest that applies to prejudgment and postjudgment interest. Mr. Christensen said the bill makes another philosophical change. In non-tort cases, rather than having the interest calculated from the date of the harm, it is calculated from the date that the summons is served on the defendant. He said the court always knows when the harm occurs when it is in the complaint, but they never know when the defendant is actually served. Mr. Christensen said the court system's recommendation is to have one rate of interest apply to both prejudgment and postjudgment interest, to be calculated from the date of the judgment. There was then discussion on a conceptual amendment to make the recommended change. SENATOR TAYLOR suggested on page 2 line 10, after the phrase "prejudgment interest accrues from the date" add the word "of" and delete rest of language up to "the entry of judgment" on line 12. Number 400 JOE GELDHOF, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, said that while they would prefer the more frequent market changes that were provided in the original bill, he thought the legislation is a good sound compromise that meets the needs of the court system and the administration agencies. Mr. Geldof suggested amending the bill to reflect that when the interest rate is determined by the Department of Revenue, that interest rate be carried out to two decimal points. SENATOR LEMAN offered and moved a conceptual Amendment No. 2 to page 5, line 2, which would round off the interest rate to the nearest 100th percent. Hearing no objection the amendment was adopted. CHRIS CHRISTENSEN referred to page 2, beginning at line 12 which contains language relating to how prejudgment interest is calculated. He suggested that on line 14 adding language which says "for the year when the initial summons was issued to the first defendant." There was extensive discussion on the proposed conceptual amendments. TAPE 93-26, SIDE B Number 060 After further discussion, SENATOR LEMAN offered Amendment No. 3 to page 2, line 14, to insert the word "initial" before the word "summons" and insert the word "initial" before the word "counter." Hearing no objection, Amendment No. 3 was adopted. Number 070 SENATOR TAYLOR offered Amendment #4 to page 2, line 10, to read "prejudgment interest accrues from the date of harm or injury" and to delete the remainder of line 11 and delete all of line 12. Number 073 SENATOR LEMAN asked, why, if this is already in current law, it is necessary to insert it here. CHRIS CHRISTENSEN answered that current law has it that way for everything except torts. Number 095 SENATOR TAYLOR moved adoption of Amendment #4. SENATOR LEMAN objected. A hand voted was taken with the following result: Senators Taylor and Ellis voted "Yea" and Senator Leman voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion had carried. Number 108 SENATOR TAYLOR moved that CSSB 161(STA), as amended, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.