Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2003-05-01 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2003-05-01                     House Journal                      Page 1236
HB 295                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 295 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                       
the Governor, entitled:                                                                             
     "An Act relating to the publishing and furnishing of certain public                            
     notices regarding regulations or rules of certain state agencies;                              
     relating to distribution of the Alaska Administrative Code, Alaska                             
     Administrative Register, and supplements to the code or register;                              
     and providing for an effective date."                                                          
was read the first time and referred to the Transportation and Finance                              
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                 
1.  Indeterminate, Office of the Governor/All Depts.                                                
The Governor's transmittal letter dated April 30, 2003, follows:                                    
"Dear Speaker Kott:                                                                                 
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                          
transmitting a bill to change the Alaska Administrative Procedure Act                               
and make other statutory improvements to provide for better and more                                
cost-effective notice of regulatory changes.                                                        
First, the bill would allow certain state agencies to publish, in a                                 
newspaper or other publication, an abbreviated notice of proposed                                   

2003-05-01                     House Journal                      Page 1237
regulatory changes that clearly describes the changes and how an                                    
interested person may obtain more detailed information through the                                  
Internet or in written form.  Second, the bill also would amend a                                   
variety of state statutes to allow agencies the flexibility of sending out                          
individual notices by means other than regular mail.  This change                                   
would make these newspaper publication requirements consistent with                                 
the provision in the Administrative Procedure Act, that notice need be                              
published in only one newspaper of general circulation in the state.                                
Under the Administrative Procedure Act, public notice of changes to                                 
regulations must be published in a newspaper of general circulation or                              
other specified type of publication.  This notice is to include an                                  
informative summary of the changes, which has been interpreted to                                   
require a comprehensive description.  In practice this results in lengthy                           
notices, usually in the classified advertisement section of the                                     
newspapers, that are expensive and often difficult to understand.                                   
This bill would change this practice to allow for a more abbreviated                                
notice in newspapers or other publications, clearly describing the                                  
subject matter of the changes and directing interested persons to more                              
detailed information sources.  Recognizing the utility and efficiency of                            
the Internet, the bill requires detailed information on the changes to be                           
available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System.  Also,                                         
recognizing that the Internet is not available to all citizens, the bill                            
would provide that detailed information be made available to                                        
interested persons by other means, if requested.  Thus, the bill would                              
allow state agencies to use the Internet to improve communications                                  
regarding regulatory changes, while still providing notice for those                                
who do not yet have the access or ability to use the Internet.                                      
The bill also would change statutory notice provisions for specific                                 
government entities to allow for the flexibility to use methods of                                  
communication other than regular mail in providing public notice of                                 
regulation or rule changes.  There is a provision that notices shall be                             
delivered by mail, upon request.  This flexible approach was put into                               
place in 2000 for regulations under the Administrative Procedure Act,                               
and has proven effective.  The changes in this bill would simply                                    
extend that flexibility to certain named state agencies.  In addition, the                          
bill would amend the statutes relating to publication of newspaper                                  
notices to make it consistent with the requirement in the                                           

2003-05-01                     House Journal                      Page 1238
Administrative Procedure Act that notice be published in a single                                   
newspaper of general circulation.  The governmental entities affected                               
by these changes include the Alaska Teachers' Retirement Board,                                     
Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation, Alaska Railroad                                           
Corporation, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Department of                                      
Administration, Public Employees' Retirement Board, and the Alaska                                  
Industrial Development and Export Authority.                                                        
This bill also excludes specific government entities from having to                                 
publish an abbreviated notice in a newspaper or other publication                                   
relating to topics of concern to larger institutions and groups that have                           
the ability to or already regularly communicate with the state through                              
electronic means.  These statutes include such areas as the Alaska                                  
Securities Act, the Alaska Trust Company Act, oil and gas leasing,                                  
state personnel rules, certifying authority for an electronic signature,                            
Medicaid rate setting for facilities, and the Pipeline Act.  When                                   
adopting regulations or rules under these specific statutes, the                                    
government agencies would continue to post the notice on the Alaska                                 
Online Public Notice System and furnish the notice to interested                                    
parties and other government entities, but would not be required to                                 
publish the abbreviated notice.  The government entities affected by                                
these changes include the lieutenant governor, Department of                                        
Administration, Department of Revenue, Department of Health and                                     
Social Services, State Assessment Review Board, Alaska Oil and Gas                                  
Conservation Commission, Department of Natural Resources,                                           
Department of Community and Economic Development, and the                                           
Regulatory Commission of Alaska.                                                                    
The changes to public notice procedures made by the bill would be                                   
applicable to public notices issued on or after the effective date of the                           
Lastly, this bill would amend the requirement for the lieutenant                                    
governor, at state expense, to supply a complete set of the Alaska                                  
Administrative Code, the Alaska Administrative Register, and each                                   
supplement to the code or register to the clerk of each local                                       
government unit.  This bill allows local government units' clerks to                                
request a paper or electronic copy of the publications, and would                                   
require payment for the requested copy.  Because electronic access to                               
the Alaska Administrative Code is currently available through the                                   

2003-05-01                     House Journal                      Page 1239
legislature's website, and through links to that website found on                                   
various state agency websites, local governments still would have a                                 
"no-cost" option for access to the information.                                                     
I urge your prompt consideration and passage of this bill.                                          
                                Frank H. Murkowski