Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519
03/31/2015 01:30 PM FINANCE
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HOUSE BILL NO. 68 "An Act relating to the preparation, electronic distribution, and posting of reports by state agencies." 2:29:53 PM Co-Chair Neuman MOVED to ADOPT the proposed committee substitute for HB 68, Work Draft 29-LS0352\I (Nauman, 03/24/15). JANE PIERSON, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE STEVE THOMPSON, reviewed the changes in the Committee Substitute (CS) bill. She reported that two changes were made to the bill found on page 3. The first change on lines 16 through 18 read as follows: (b) A report produced and distributed by a state agency shall prominently state the Internet website where a digital copy and the physical address where a print copy of the report may be found. Ms. Pierson identified the second change found on line 24: Sec. 44.99.260. Print copy requests. A person may obtain, at no charge, up to two print copies of reports from the state library distribution and data access center under AS 14.56.170 each day… Ms. Pierson communicated that "two" was changed from "four" due to the large size of some of the reports. REPRESENTATIVE JONATHAN KREISS-TOMKINS, SPONSOR, recapped HB 68. He explained that the legislation digitized state reports that were printed in large quantities at a "significant" cost to the state. He believed that the bill modernized how the state disseminated reports and information. Co-Chair Neuman asked for a description of the legislation and reasons why the bill was important. Representative Kreiss-Tompkins noted that HB 68 was projected to save the state a half million dollars each year. He believed that the bill increased the public's access to public information and standardized the way reports were made available to the public electronically. Additionally, the legislation created a standard for digitization and archival of state reports. A consequence of the bill increased the amount of reports for archiving needs from four to five. The need was discovered when performing research for the bill. He summarized that the bill digitized state reports, saved the state money, and standardized the means of digital access to the information. 2:35:17 PM Co-Chair Neuman asked about people that do not have access to the internet. He wondered how they will have access to state reports. Representative Kreiss-Tompkins responded that, relatively nothing is really changing for people that live in rural areas or lacked internet access. The state was not automatically mailing copies of reports to people in rural areas without internet, access to public radio, or newspapers. He elaborated that HB 68 entitled anyone who wanted a copy of a report to contact the state library system and request copies. He offered that the bill created parallel paths for any individual who wanted state reports; one was electronic and the other supplied hard copies through the mail. He thought that the language in the bill that allowed for the supply of hard copies was enhanced and "iron-clad" going beyond existing law. Co-Chair Neuman wondered how people would know if the information is available to them. Representative Kreiss- Tompkins responded that currently the isolated individual was in the same situation without HB 68. The person could call or write the state library and request a report. He claimed that current statute did not specify that the person could request copies from the state library system. He did not know how any bill could solve the problem of making the public aware of the existence of state reports. He believed that the legislation protected and enhanced the access to public information if people wanted it and did not inhibit access to state reports in any way. He suggested that the information regarding citizens' access to public information could be incorporated into school civics curriculum. He would like to make more Alaskans aware of their right to public information, but HB 68 did not address the issue. Co-Chair Thompson thought that the bill would make state reports more accessible to people living more remotely and desired the information. Representative Kreiss-Tompkins agreed. 2:40:12 PM Vice-Chair Saddler appreciated Representative Kreiss- Tompkins accepting his amendment. He asked what he based the $500 thousand in savings on since the amount was not reflected in the fiscal note (FN 1 (Various)). Representative Kreiss-Tompkins responded that the actual savings were indeterminate but would be a "negative number." He shared that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provided the $570 thousand as a total amount for the state's aggregate printing costs. The legislation allowed a commissioner or division director to determine whether a report was so important that it should be both printed and digitized. Therefore, some printing costs were still applicable. In addition, he exemplified pamphlets and brochures from the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as information that warranted hard copies. Representative Munoz related that often the cost of printing several copies of publications were close to the cost of printing "hundreds of copies." She asked whether the reports would be copied as published reports or merely Xeroxed copies. Representative Kreiss-Tompkins responded that the bill contained a provision that required the reports to be produced in-house and not published as glossy publications designed by commercial graphic designers. He remarked that the savings created by the in-house requirement was not calculated in the fiscal note and would further enhance the savings. The reports would no longer be published in an elaborate format and would be able to be printed as a PDF. He deferred to the state library system for a more definitive answer. Representative Munoz wanted to put on the record that the intent of the bill was to save costs and ease simplicity of printing in order to produce the savings. Representative Kreiss-Tompkins agreed with her statement. 2:45:14 PM Representative Kawasaki appreciated the bill. He referred to a Legislative Research report listing the state agency reports required by statute. He asked whether the bill would supersede the current statute that required legislators to receive printed copies of mandated reports. Representative Kreiss-Tompkins responded in the affirmative. He explained that some agencies had already decided to send its mandated reports to legislators via an electronic link by email. He understood that statutorily mandated reports would all be disseminated electronically to legislators with passage of the bill. He qualified that the reports would be sent electronically unless a commissioner or division director determined that a "high and public" need existed for hard copies of the report. He noted that a division director included a lieutenant governor, governor, and the legislative branch. In the case the legislature or governor's office produced an important publication deemed worthy of printing the appropriate entity could produce a hard copy of its report. Representative Kawasaki lifted a basket of reports that he had received within the past couple of days. He voiced that he also received a large quantity of emails each day. He expressed concern that he would "lose" report notices hiding in his email. He did not want to receive all of the mandated reports; only certain reports as hard copies. He wondered if there was a way legislators could opt out of receiving paper reports. Representative Kreiss-Tompkins responded in the negative. He explained that agencies did not have a mechanism to send out reports in that manner. He understood Representative Kawasaki's email issue. 2:51:19 PM Co-Chair Thompson referred to page 3, line 20. He read from the page: …electronic posting on the Alaska Online Public Notice System (AS 44.62.175) fulfills any obligation in state law to publish, prepare, or present a report, and electronic distribution fulfills any obligation in state law to submit a report. Co-Chair Thompson OPENED public testimony. Co-Chair Thompson CLOSED public testimony. Co-Chair Neuman MOVED to REPORT CSHB 68(FIN) out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, CSHB 68(FIN) was REPORTED out of committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with one previously published zero fiscal note: FN1 (GOV). 2:53:38 PM AT EASE 2:56:35 PM RECONVEYNED