Legislature(1995 - 1996)

1996-01-12 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1996-01-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 2121
SB 215                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 215 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act streamlining the functions of state                                    
government, including authorizing the commissioner                             
of fish and game to award grants for certain                                   
resource activities; allowing agents selling fish and                          
game licenses and tags to retain certain                                       
compensation; authorizing the Department of Health                             
and Social Services to award grants for certain                                
services for developmentally delayed or disabled                               
children; relating to rabies control and administration                        
of flour and bread standards by the Department of                              
Environmental Conservation; repealing the Athletic                             
Commission, the regulation of boxing and wrestling,                            
the certification of professional geologists, and the                          
Water Resources Board; repealing certain filing                                
statements and bonds for enforcement and collection                            
of certain taxes; and providing for an effective                               
was read the first time and referred to the Resources, Health,                 
Education and Social Services, Labor and Commerce and Finance                  
Zero fiscal notes published today from Department of Revenue,                  
Department of Health and Social Services (2), Department of                    
Environmental Conservation, Department of Natural Resources.                   
Fiscal notes published today from Department of Fish and Game,                 
Department of Commerce and Economic Development.                               
Governors transmittal letter dated January 12:                                 
Dear President Pearce:                                                         
I am offering this bill as part of my administrations goal to                  
streamline state government.  This legislation deletes requirements to         
perform several duties that are not essential for the public health,           
safety, or welfare and modifies some programs to increase efficiency.          

1996-01-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 2122
SB 215                                                                       
This bill involves several state agencies and a wide variety of                
programs.  The following is a brief description of the legislation.            
Departments will offer more complete analyses during the committee             
Section 1 of the bill would add a new provision authorizing the                
commissioner of Fish and Game to directly award grants that serve              
some of that departments core missions--protecting, maintaining,               
improving, and extending public access to fish, game, and aquatic              
plant resources of Alaska.  Currently, the department does not have            
authority to award grants and must channel money through other                 
agencies.  This causes delay and adds administrative cost.                     
Sections 2- 4, and part of sec. 10 of the bill, would simplify the             
procedures regarding compensation for vendors who sell sport fishing           
and hunting licenses and tags on behalf of the state.  Currently               
vendors keep some of the fees they collect as partial payment for              
their services and pass the balance on to the state.  The state then           
reimburses the vendors for the rest of the compensation due to them.           
This proposal eliminates that last step by letting vendors calculate           
total payment due them up front and passing only the balance of the            
fees to the state.                                                             
Sections 6 and 7 of the bill would allow the Department of Health              
and Social Services to award grants rather than contracts for its              
infant learning program which provides services for developmentally            
delayed or disabled children.  The grant process should increase               
efficiencies within the department.                                            
Section 8 of the bill repeals the Department of Environmental                  
Conservations requirement to regulate rabies reporting and animal              
constraint.  This can be done with no threat to the public health and          
safety because of continued rabies control efforts by the Department           
of Health and Social Services coupled with local governments, which            
routinely exercise animal control powers.  In the unorganized                  
borough, the Indian Health Service and village public safety officers          
fill this local role.                                                          

1996-01-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 2123
SB 215                                                                       
Section 8 also repeals DECs authority to administer flour and bread            
standards, which have not been substantially revised since 1949.  The          
federal government sets standards for flour and bread, making state            
standards unnecessary.  Moreover, DEC already has authority to                 
establish certain standards for food.                                          
Section 9 of the bill would repeal a number of statutes.  It would             
first abolish the Athletic Commission and the Department of                    
Commerce and Economic Developments regulatory oversight of                     
professional boxing and wrestling.  Professional boxing and wrestling          
matches are very infrequent in Alaska.  Therefore, the license fees            
which are set in statute would have to be raised significantly in              
order to cover the cost of adequate oversight.  Currently, the fees are        
much too low to allow the board and department to comply with                  
their statutory responsibility.                                                
Section 9 would also repeal a requirement that the commissioner of             
commerce and economic development certify an applicant as a                    
professional geologist if the applicant is already certified by the            
American Institute of Professional Geologists.  This state certification       
requirement merely places a duty on the commissioner without                   
providing an additional benefit to the public safety or welfare.               
Finally, sec. 9 would abolish the Water Resources Board.  The board            
has not convened or conducted any business in the last few years for           
lack of legislative financing. Although the Department of Natural              
Resources will not assume all of the board's functions, it can and             
will advise the governor on major water policy issues when the need            
arises.  Thus, the elimination of the board will not unreasonably              
diminish the ability of the state to address matters relating to water         
appropriations and use.                                                        
A part of sec. 10 of the bill would repeal a requirement that                  
nonresident businesses annually file information on sworn affidavits           
and tax bonds before conducting business in the state.  This                   
requirement was placed on nonresident businesses in 1955 when few              
of them had offices or property in the state.  That made it difficult          
to enforce payment of taxes and license fees.  But that is no longer           
the case.  The  bonding  requirement, unique  to  Alaska, creates an           

1996-01-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 2124
SB 215                                                                       
unfriendly business environment in the state.  The program provides            
no benefit, is unproductive for business, and burdensome for state             
staff.  I recommend that it be repealed.                                       
I urge your prompt consideration and passage of this bill that                 
streamlines and improves the operations of state government.                   
						Tony Knowles