Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/15/2004 01:51 PM House FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 533                                                                                                            
     An Act relating to the state's administrative                                                                              
     procedures and to judicial oversight of administrative                                                                     
LINDA  SYLVESTER,  STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE   BRUCE  WEYHRAUCH,                                                                   
noted  that   Representative   Weyhrauch  was  carrying   the                                                                   
proposed legislation  for the House State  Affairs Committee.                                                                   
She commented that  HB 533 was a part of a  package put forth                                                                   
by  the  Regulation  Review  Committee,  Chaired  by  Senator                                                                   
Therriault.  The component is  called Judicial extraction and                                                                   
would  address circumstances  when there  is an  unreasonable                                                                   
delay for an instate agency issue.                                                                                              
She stated  that Representative  Weyhrauch was interested  in                                                                   
carrying  the  bill,  as  it  would  address  the  impact  of                                                                   
unreasonable delays causing irreparable harm.                                                                                   
DAVE    STANCLIFF,   STAFF-REGULATION    REVIEW    COMMITTEE,                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE PETE  KOTT, stated that  HB 533 was  the final                                                                   
stage   of  a   three-bill   system,  working   through   the                                                                   
Legislature and providing a safety valve.                                                                                       
He referenced the data provided  by Legislative Research.  To                                                                   
date, only half the agencies have  reported in.  It is worthy                                                                   
to  note  for   the  record  that  since  1980,   over  8,000                                                                   
administrative  cases have languished  for more than  a year.                                                                   
That  does not  count  the  contract-hearing  officers.   Mr.                                                                   
Stancliff  commented it  would be difficult  to quantify  how                                                                   
that  would affect  State  government knowing  it  is a  huge                                                                   
expense.  The  courts require that the  administrative remedy                                                                   
must  be exhausted  before  they can  be  brought before  the                                                                   
court.   He commented that the  trick is to provide  a safety                                                                   
valve  without  providing  too  easy  a way  to  opt  out  of                                                                   
regulations.  He  noted that the sponsor had  worked with the                                                                   
Department of  Law.  By  the time it  makes it to  court, the                                                                   
court would have three options:                                                                                                 
     ·         Site the agency to speed the process up;                                                                         
     ·         Some type of alternate dispute resolution;                                                                       
     ·         Claim that it was out there long enough to                                                                       
               come to a resolution and in the matter of                                                                        
               public interest, the court would opt to                                                                          
               consider the case.                                                                                               
Mr. Stancliff pointed  out that the theory is,  once a safety                                                                   
value  is in  place, on-going  cases  would become  resolved.                                                                   
The  reform  is  not sweeping,  but  to  the  businesses  and                                                                   
citizens,  it would  be a  sign  that politicians  understand                                                                   
that there are  cases, which have gone on too  long, and that                                                                   
there is an alternative option.   It is anticipated that once                                                                   
the  Department   of  Environmental   Conservation   and  the                                                                   
Department  of Education  & Early Development  weigh  in with                                                                   
the contract cases,  there could be somewhere  between 12,000                                                                   
and 15,000  cases that  have gone  on for  more than  a year.                                                                   
The cost is extraordinary.                                                                                                      
Mr.  Stancliff  pointed out  the  indeterminate  notes.   The                                                                   
intention is that  once the cases are processed,  the savings                                                                   
would reduce  that level by offsetting  them.  He  offered to                                                                   
answer questions of the Committee.                                                                                              
Representative  Hawker asked about  the fiscal note  from the                                                                   
Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.   He pointed out that note                                                                   
related to  HB 553 (analysis)  and should not be  included in                                                                   
the file for HB 533.                                                                                                            
Representative  Hawker noted  that he  was disappointed  that                                                                   
Representative Weyhrauch  was not present.   He asked  if the                                                                   
bill  was a  vehicle being  considered  as an  administrative                                                                   
relief  language related  to the  expungement  statute.   Mr.                                                                   
Stancliff replied  that it had  not been considered  for that                                                                   
reason.   He discussed that  they would respectfully  request                                                                   
that it  remain "whole"  as it  is one  part of a  three-part                                                                   
process.    Ms.  Sylvester  interjected  that  Representative                                                                   
Weyhrauch was very interested  in expungement concept and had                                                                   
investigated that.                                                                                                              
Representative Foster MOVED to  report CS HB 533 (JUD) out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.  There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
CS HB  533 (JUD)  was reported  out of  Committee with  a "do                                                                   
pass"  recommendation   and  with   a  new  fiscal   note  by                                                                   
Department of Law, indeterminate  note #1 by the Alaska Court                                                                   
System,  indeterminate note  #2 by  the Commercial  Fisheries                                                                   
Entry   Commission,  and   indeterminate  note   #3  by   the                                                                   
Department of Health & Social Services.                                                                                         

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