Legislature(2019 - 2020)ADAMS ROOM 519

05/13/2019 09:00 AM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
09:00:15 AM Start
09:00:46 AM SB43
09:56:01 AM Recessed to a Call of the Chair
09:56:01 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to a Call of the Chair --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
Scheduled but Not Heard
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 43(FIN)                                                                                                
     "An Act extending the termination  date of the Big Game                                                                    
     Commercial  Services  Board;  relating  to  a  person's                                                                    
     eligibility  to   hold  a   registered  guide-outfitter                                                                    
     license,  master  guide-   outfitter  license,  class-A                                                                    
     assistant  guide license,  assistant guide  license, or                                                                    
     transporter  license; and  providing  for an  effective                                                                    
9:00:46 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Johnston  MOVED to  ADOPT the  proposed committee                                                                    
substitute   for  CSSB   43(FIN),  Work   Draft  31-LS0442\S                                                                    
(Bullard,  5/11/19). There  being  NO OBJECTION,  it was  so                                                                    
LYNN GATTIS, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE TAMMIE WILSON, explained                                                                    
the  changes  in  the  Committee  Substitute  (CS).  The  CS                                                                    
changed  the title  of  the  bill to  include  the Board  of                                                                    
Barbers and Hairdressers. She read the full bill title:                                                                         
     "An Act extending the termination  date of the Board of                                                                    
     Barbers  and  Hairdressers; extending  the  termination                                                                    
     date  of  the  Big   Game  Commercial  Services  Board;                                                                    
     relating   to  a   person's  eligibility   to  hold   a                                                                    
     registered   guide-outfitter  license,   master  guide-                                                                    
     outfitter  license,  class-A assistant  guide  license,                                                                    
     assistant  guide license,  or transporter  license; and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
Ms. Gattis  continued with  the changes on  page 1,  lines 8                                                                    
and 9 of the bill and read the following:                                                                                       
     (4) Board of Barbers and Hairdressers (AS 08.13.010) -                                                                     
     June 30, 2027 [2019];                                                                                                      
Ms. Gattis concluded that the  sunset date extension for the                                                                    
Board  of  Barbers  and Hairdressers  was  the  only  change                                                                    
contained in the CS.                                                                                                            
9:02:32 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Tilton  observed the  date  on  line 9  read                                                                    
2027. [Ms. Gattis had incorrectly read the date as 2024.]                                                                       
Representative  Josephson cited  Section 4  of the  bill and                                                                    
summarized  the  section  warned   that  violating  the  law                                                                    
resulted  in  revocation of  the  license.  He assumed  that                                                                    
existed prior to the CS.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair Wilson indicated that the  sponsor would review the                                                                    
bill.  She  communicated  that  the  Board  of  Barbers  and                                                                    
Hairdressers  was set  to  expire in  June  2019 and  sunset                                                                    
legislation was inadvertently not  introduced. The board had                                                                    
a   clean  audit.  She thanked  the sponsor  for adding  the                                                                    
board to the bill.                                                                                                              
9:04:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DAVID  WILSON, BILL SPONSOR,  reviewed the  bill. He                                                                    
explained  that the  bill extended  the Big  Game Commercial                                                                    
Services Board  (BGCSB) for 5  years to 2024, one  year less                                                                    
than the Senate  Finance Committee version of  the bill. The                                                                    
board consists of  two licensed Registered Guide-Outfitters,                                                                    
two  licensed  Transporters,  two private  landholders,  two                                                                    
public  members, and  one  member from  the  Board of  Game.                                                                    
Legislative Audit  conducted their review of  this board and                                                                    
made 3  recommendations. He reminded the  committee that all                                                                    
three recommendations  were in  the purview of  the division                                                                    
and   not  the   board.  He   reviewed  the   audit  finding                                                                    
recommendations.    He   read    the   first    and   second                                                                    
     DCBPL's director should improve management oversight                                                                       
     procedures   to   ensure  required   documentation   is                                                                    
     obtained, reviewed, and retained to support licensure.                                                                     
     DCBPL's chief investigator should increase oversight                                                                       
     to improve the timeliness of investigations.                                                                               
Senator  Wilson   commented  that  multiple   agencies  were                                                                    
involved in  investigations and at times  were very complex.                                                                    
A case could  take two to three years for  the case to reach                                                                    
adjudication.  The   licensees  considered  the   license  a                                                                    
property right and the state  acted cautiously when property                                                                    
rights were at  stake. He moved to  the third recommendation                                                                    
and read the following:                                                                                                         
     The Office of the Governor, Boards and Commissions                                                                         
     director should work with the board to identify                                                                            
     potential applicants in a timely manner.                                                                                   
Senator Wilson indicated that  the department recognized the                                                                    
need  for  more support  to  increase  quality control.  The                                                                    
division added more supervisors  and an additional examiner.                                                                    
In addition, the division  improved training procedures. The                                                                    
division also added a new  Chief Investigator and two senior                                                                    
investigators   in   order   to   hold   the   investigators                                                                    
accountable throughout the length of the investigations.                                                                        
He noted that  the number of cases were  recently lowered to                                                                    
9:07:33 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator   Wilson   answered   an   earlier   question   from                                                                    
Representative Josephson regarding  Section 4. He delineated                                                                    
that  the  change  related to  the  master  guide-outfitters                                                                    
license and  functions. The license  was an  honorary title.                                                                    
The  provision clarified  that  if  licensees  acted  badly                                                                     
they  would  lose  their  honorary   title.  The  title  was                                                                    
intended for the best of the best guides.                                                                                       
Representative Josephson  had heard many  concerns regarding                                                                    
the  board  not enforcing  violations  of  hunting laws.  He                                                                    
expressed his  alarm and asked  Senator Wilson  for comment.                                                                    
Senator Wilson replied that much  of the lack of enforcement                                                                    
was due  to a lack  of investigators during the  time period                                                                    
of the  audit. He  elucidated that the  board lost  three to                                                                    
four  supervisors that  led to  a backlog.  The backlog  had                                                                    
recently been reduced to 39  cases. They were working on the                                                                    
timeframe  of  investigations.  He  relayed  that  in  prior                                                                    
Senate  Resources Committee  hearings  a division  testifier                                                                    
relayed the  step by step  process of an  investigation from                                                                    
the time  the individual  was first  contacted by  the state                                                                    
trooper through the adjudication  process to the disposition                                                                    
stage.  The  board  felt  more   qualified  to  address  the                                                                    
violation at the  end of the process after  lawsuits and the                                                                    
appeals processes. He  noted that Section 2  of the original                                                                    
bill provided  the board  more tools  to suspend  and revoke                                                                    
9:10:48 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson asked  if the  sponsor  had researched  the                                                                    
cost of  investigations. She explained that  when a violator                                                                    
was found  guilty, the cost  of the investigation  was borne                                                                    
by the license holders. She pointed  to page 10 of the audit                                                                    
that showed  the board had  been $1  million in debt  due to                                                                    
the  cost  of  investigations.  She  referenced  discussions                                                                    
regarding   the   violator   sharing   the   cost   of   the                                                                    
investigation.  She wondered  whether the  sponsor had  done                                                                    
any research  on whether the scenario  would be advantageous                                                                    
to the board. Senator Wilson answered in the negative.                                                                          
Co-Chair Wilson explained situations  where the costs of the                                                                    
investigation  and  court  went  to the  board  and  license                                                                    
holders. She believed  that at some point the  cost became a                                                                    
big lift for  license holders. She noted that  the board had                                                                    
gotten into trouble because of the issue in the past.                                                                           
9:12:52 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Josephson  stated  that at  some  point  the                                                                    
board was  bearing an  expense that should  be borne  by the                                                                    
 Alaskan  people.  Law  enforcement was  a public  issue. He                                                                    
was uncertain how to resolve the issue.                                                                                         
Senator  Wilson  voiced  that  he  found  the  investigation                                                                    
caseload information contained in  an email from the boards                                                                     
April 2019 board  meeting. He relayed that the  board had 37                                                                    
open cases  and that  13 of the  cases were  Alaska Wildlife                                                                    
cases  that  were  out  of  the  purview  of  the  board  or                                                                    
division. He added that 10  cases were in litigation through                                                                    
the Office  of Administrative Hearings  and 2 were  with the                                                                    
respondents  and  awaited  acceptance or  rejection.  Twelve                                                                    
cases  remained;   7  concerned   breach  of   contracts  or                                                                    
complaints  regarding the  license  and application  process                                                                    
and one case pertained to a guide interference issue.                                                                           
KRIS  CURTIS,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  ALASKA   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
LEGISLATIVE  AUDIT,  reviewed  the audit  titled   A  Sunset                                                                    
Review  of  the  Department   of  Commerce,  Community,  and                                                                    
Economic  Development, Big  Game  Commercial Services  Board                                                                    
(board)  dated September  14, 2018 (copy on  file). She read                                                                    
from the audit report conclusions:                                                                                              
     The audit concluded that the  board served the public's                                                                    
     interest  by  conducting  meetings in  accordance  with                                                                    
     applicable  laws,   amending  regulations   to  improve                                                                    
     occupations under  the board's purview,  and supporting                                                                    
     changes  by  the  Department  of  Law  to  improve  the                                                                    
     timeliness of  the disciplinary  process. Additionally,                                                                    
     the  board  worked to  eliminate  the  over $1  million                                                                    
     deficit reported in the prior 2015 sunset audit.                                                                           
     The audit  also concluded that board  licenses were not                                                                    
     consistently  supported  by adequate  documentation,  a                                                                    
     high number  of investigations had  unjustified periods                                                                    
     of inactivity,  and three  board positions  were vacant                                                                    
     for  an   extended  period.   In  accordance   with  AS                                                                    
     08.03.010(c)(9),  the board  is scheduled  to terminate                                                                    
     on  June 30,  2019. We  recommend that  the legislature                                                                    
     extend the board's termination to  June 30, 2025, which                                                                    
     is two years  less than the eight  year maximum allowed                                                                    
     for in statute.                                                                                                            
Ms. Curtis  continued with  the scheduled  licensed activity                                                                    
on page 8 of the audit. She  relayed that as of May 31, 2018                                                                    
there were  1,219 active licenses representing  a 20 percent                                                                    
decrease  from  the 2015  sunset  audit.  She detailed  that                                                                    
according to the boards  chair,  the decrease was partly due                                                                    
to less interest  in the profession and  guides retiring. In                                                                    
addition, the  number of transporter licenses  decreased due                                                                    
to many transporters  changing to operating as  air taxis to                                                                    
avoid the license reporting requirements  and fees. In April                                                                    
2015, there  were 151 licensed  transporters compared  to 90                                                                    
as of May  2018, representing a 40 percent  reduction in the                                                                    
number of  transporters. She moved  to page 10 of  the audit                                                                    
that depicted the Schedule of  Revenues and Expenditures, FY                                                                    
15 through FY 18. She pointed  to a surplus of over $132,000                                                                    
at the end  of FY 18, which was significant  because of a $1                                                                    
million   deficit   in  FY   15.   She   listed  the   audit                                                                    
recommendations  beginning   on  page   14.  She   read  the                                                                    
following regarding recommendation 1:                                                                                           
     DCBPL's  director should  improve management  oversight                                                                    
     procedures   to   ensure  required   documentation   is                                                                    
     obtained, reviewed, and retained to support licensure.                                                                     
     The audit  found that DCBPL staff  did not consistently                                                                    
     license   individuals   according   to   statutes   and                                                                    
     regulations. Fourteen  of 25 new licenses  (56 percent)                                                                    
     tested as  part of  the audit  did not  have sufficient                                                                    
     documentation to support licensure and four applicants                                                                     
     had more than one deficiency identified.                                                                                   
Ms.  Curtis   commented  that  the  more   serious  document                                                                    
deficiencies included missing  or outdated background checks                                                                    
and   inadequate   investigatory  or   supervisory   review.                                                                    
According  to the  Division of  Corporations, Business,  and                                                                    
Professional Licensing  (DCBPL), there  was turnover  in the                                                                    
staff  position  providing  support   for  this  board  that                                                                    
contributed  to   the  deficiencies.  She   highlighted  the                                                                    
following from the audit pertaining to recommendation two:                                                                      
     DCBPL's  chief investigator  should increase  oversight                                                                    
     to improve the timeliness of investigations.                                                                               
     The audit  reviewed 22 of  145 cases open for  over 180                                                                    
     days between July  2015 and May 2018. Twenty  of the 22                                                                    
     cases  were  found  to   have  unjustified  periods  of                                                                    
     inactivity  ranging  from  two  months  to  18  months.                                                                    
     According  to   the  chief  investigator,   periods  of                                                                    
     inactivity were  due, in  part, to  a lack  of adequate                                                                    
     resources  to  investigate  the  large  case  load  and                                                                    
     supervisors not adequately monitoring cases.                                                                               
Ms.  Curtis   pointed  to  the  following   from  the  audit                                                                    
pertaining to recommendation three:                                                                                             
     The  Office of  the  Governor,  Boards and  Commissions                                                                    
     director  should  work  with   the  board  to  identify                                                                    
     potential applicants in a timely manner.                                                                                   
     From   July  2015   through   May   2018,  a   licensed                                                                    
     transporter  board position  and  a private  landholder                                                                    
     board position  were vacant  for six  months due  to an                                                                    
     inability    to    identify   interested    applicants.                                                                    
     Furthermore, one  board position  occupied by  a member                                                                    
     of  the  Board of  Game  was  vacant for  eight  months                                                                    
     because Office of the  Governor, Boards and Commissions                                                                    
     staff were not notified of the vacancy.                                                                                    
Ms. Curtis  continued with the  responses to the  audit that                                                                    
began on page 25 of  the audit report. She communicated that                                                                    
the commissioner  of the  Department of  Commerce, Community                                                                    
and   Economic  Development   (DCCED)  [Commissioner   Julie                                                                    
Anderson] agreed  with recommendations  one and two  and had                                                                    
taken steps  to resolve the  issues. She indicated  that the                                                                    
Office  of the  Governor responded  to recommendation  three                                                                    
and  assured that  they would  work diligently  to fill  the                                                                    
vacancies  in a  timely manner.  The boards   chair response                                                                    
began on page  29. The chair [Chairman Henry  D. Tiffany IV]                                                                    
agreed to work  with the Office of the  Governor to identify                                                                    
interested board  applicants. He  noted that  currently, all                                                                    
the board positions were filled.                                                                                                
9:18:49 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair   Wilson   asked    about   the   issue   regarding                                                                    
transporters  turning to  air taxis  instead of  transporter                                                                    
licenses. She  wondered whether the  issue had to do  with a                                                                    
statutory definition.  Ms. Curtis  deferred the  question to                                                                    
Representative Knopp  discussed that  the board  was charged                                                                    
with licensing transporters but  there were three exemptions                                                                    
for  air  carriers.  Air carriers  could  transport  hunters                                                                    
without  a transporter  license if  it was  not the  primary                                                                    
business purpose of  the carrier. He reported  that he tried                                                                    
to  address the  transporter  licenses  pertaining to  water                                                                    
taxis  in  the  prior  year,   but  the  board  opposed  his                                                                    
attempts. He had  recently received a letter  from the board                                                                    
stating that  they would  not oppose the  bill if  the board                                                                    
was authorized to decide who  received the water transporter                                                                    
license.  Currently, the  same exemption  for air  transport                                                                    
did not  apply to the  marine industry. He pointed  out that                                                                    
the Alaska  Marine Highway System  lacked the  exemption and                                                                    
was  prohibited from  transporting hunters.  He asked  about                                                                    
the plan for moving the bill from committee.                                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson  replied that  the bill  would be  heard the                                                                    
following  day and  any amendments  would  be considered  at                                                                    
that time.                                                                                                                      
Representative Josephson  thought that the  sunset extension                                                                    
was  pretty generous  and  expressed concerns. He reiterated                                                                    
the  audit conclusions  and  emphasized  that seven  license                                                                    
files  were  missing  or   had  outdated  background  checks                                                                    
required by law. He understood  that the board had done well                                                                    
paying  down the  indebtedness and  guessed that  might have                                                                    
played a role in the longer extension.                                                                                          
9:22:27 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Curtis replied  that auditing was not  an exact science.                                                                    
She recounted that the division  had just completed an audit                                                                    
three years  prior and both  audits concluded the  board was                                                                    
serving the interest of the  public. However, the 2015 audit                                                                    
flagged the $1 million deficit.  She indicated that the 2018                                                                    
audit  found  the  deficit erased  and  concluded  that  the                                                                    
current recommendations were attributed  to the division and                                                                    
that  the board  served the  public's interest.  The factors                                                                    
significantly impacted the  auditor's decision regarding the                                                                    
length of the extension.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair Wilson asked to hear  the audit findings related to                                                                    
the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers.                                                                                          
Ms.  Curtis  reviewed the  audit  report  titled,  A  Sunset                                                                    
Review  of  the  Department   of  Commerce,  Community,  and                                                                    
Economic  Development, Board  of  Barbers and  Hairdressers                                                                     
dated April 18, 2018. She read the report conclusions:                                                                          
     The  audit concluded  that the  board  operated in  the                                                                    
     public's interest by  effectively licensing the various                                                                    
     occupations  under  the   board's  purview.  The  board                                                                    
     monitored   licensees  and   worked   to  ensure   only                                                                    
     qualified individuals practice in Alaska.                                                                                  
     In  accordance with  AS 08.03.010(c)(4),  the board  is                                                                    
     scheduled to  terminate on June 30,  2019. We recommend                                                                    
     that the legislature extend  the board's termination to                                                                    
     June 30, 2027.                                                                                                             
Ms. Curtis  turned the attention  to page 6 that  listed the                                                                    
licensing  activity. She  listed  the  many occupations  the                                                                    
board   regulated  as   follows:   Barber,  Body   Piercing,                                                                    
Esthetician, Hairdresser,  Instructor, Manicurist, Tattooing                                                                    
and Permanent  Cosmetic Coloring, School Owner,  Shop Owner,                                                                    
and  Student Instructors.  She reported  that as  of January                                                                    
31,  2018  there  were  5,534   active  licenses,  a  slight                                                                    
increase from  the 2010 audit.  She highlighted that  page 7                                                                    
depicted the  boards  Schedule of Revenues  and Expenditures                                                                    
as of March  31, 2018. The board had a  surplus of over $840                                                                    
thousand. She reported  that the division would  engage in a                                                                    
fee analysis in FY 19. The  fee schedule was found on page 8                                                                    
of the audit. The audit had no recommendations.                                                                                 
March 31, 2018 March 31, 2018                                                                                                 
9:24:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SARA CHAMBERS, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS, BUSINESS                                                                    
AND   PROFESSIONAL   LICENSING,  DEPARTMENT   OF   COMMERCE,                                                                    
COMMUNITY  AND   ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT,  responded   to  the                                                                    
previously expressed  concerns by members. She  related that                                                                    
the  audit findings  were administrative  concerns and  were                                                                    
not  the  fault  of  the  board.  The  recommendations  were                                                                    
directed at the division  to tighten up licensing procedures                                                                    
and  investigative  documentation   and  to  the  governors                                                                     
office regarding board vacancies.  She communicated that the                                                                    
audit  was  over   one  year  old,  and   the  division  had                                                                    
implemented changes  in response.  All the  boards  expenses                                                                    
were borne  by the licensees; therefore,  the division tried                                                                    
to keep  a lean operation,  which meant there was  almost no                                                                    
redundancy.  The division  had only  one licensing  examiner                                                                    
for the Big  Game Commercial Services Board and  two for the                                                                    
Board  of  Barbers  and  Hairdressers. In  the  event  of  a                                                                    
vacancy a  busy supervisor had  to step in. She  shared that                                                                    
the division undertook an internal  audit in response to the                                                                    
BGCSB audit that discovered errors  due to lack of resources                                                                    
and  oversight. The  division  hired  records and  licensing                                                                    
supervisors and  continue to redistribute duties  to provide                                                                    
adequate  quality control.  The  investigative findings  had                                                                    
been  a matter  of needing  to document  when something  was                                                                    
open   for   a  long   period   of   time.  She   referenced                                                                    
documentation  by one  individual that  had raised  concerns                                                                    
about the  board's inability  to do  its job.  She clarified                                                                    
that it was  a private individual's opinion and  was not the                                                                    
finding of  the audit. The division  instituted new policies                                                                    
and  procedures  to  ensure   that  all  investigators  were                                                                    
documenting any  lack of activity  for 30 days or  more. She                                                                    
delineated  that currently,  when  something  related to  an                                                                    
investigation was  at the  Department of  Law (DOL)  or with                                                                    
the Alaska  State Troopers  or waiting  for a  respondent or                                                                    
board   review   the  auditor   would   be   able  to   find                                                                    
documentation  regarding the  status  of the  investigation,                                                                    
which  had  been  missing  during  the  audit  process.  She                                                                    
emphasized   that  the   division  had   a  great   deal  of                                                                    
responsibility  in what  was audited,  and the  division had                                                                    
taken responsibility for the inadequacies.                                                                                      
9:28:45 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson  asked if  the  air  taxis and  transporter                                                                    
issue  was a  statute fix.  Ms. Chambers  answered that  the                                                                    
exemptions  dealt   with   marketing   and  position   of  a                                                                    
transporter.   She  elucidated  that  if  an  air  taxi  was                                                                    
picking up  hunters and  the activity  was ancillary  to the                                                                    
primary responsibility  of the business and  the carrier was                                                                    
not  specifically marketing  to the  guiding industry,  they                                                                    
were  not  required  to  have  a  transporter  license.  She                                                                    
indicated that  the activity was  in statute and  any change                                                                    
had to be enacted by the legislature.                                                                                           
Co-Chair   Wilson  mentioned   an  investigation   that  was                                                                    
reopened after 9  years and the licensee  thought the matter                                                                    
was  closed.   She  wondered   about  the     investigators                                                                     
accountability.  She  thought  that it  appeared  the  board                                                                    
could  revisit investigations  after significant  periods of                                                                    
time.  Ms. Chambers  was not  familiar  with the  particular                                                                    
investigation.  She commented  that  no investigator  should                                                                    
arbitrarily  reopen  a  case   that  was  closed  without  a                                                                    
triggering event.  Co-Chair Wilson  did not know  whether it                                                                    
was reopened or continued. She  asked if there was a statute                                                                    
of  limitation regrading  the issue.  Ms. Chambers  answered                                                                    
that  what Co-Chair  Wilson was  referencing  should not  be                                                                    
taking  place. She  would follow  up with  Co-Chair Wilsons                                                                     
staff. Co-Chair Wilson thought the issue was concerning.                                                                        
9:31:19 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Knopp  deduced that the board  carried out an                                                                    
investigation  based  on a  complaint.  He  relayed a  story                                                                    
where a guide had been charged  with a DUI and the board had                                                                    
decided   the   person's   business  practices   should   be                                                                    
investigated. He was  unsure whether the story  was true. He                                                                    
asked  who  would  decide  to   investigate  an  issue.  Ms.                                                                    
Chambers answered  that the  division was  complaint driven.                                                                    
She  explained  that  complaints   were  received  from  the                                                                    
public,  client, another  guide, or  trooper action.  When a                                                                    
complaint came in the department's  staff conducted a review                                                                    
and asked  a board member  to assist in  determining whether                                                                    
the complaint was jurisdictional.  If the action appeared to                                                                    
be a potential violation  it progressed to an investigation.                                                                    
Sometimes  complaints were  not jurisdictional  matters. She                                                                    
voiced that  the BGCSB  was a leader  in reviewing  what was                                                                    
pertinent  to  public  safety concerns.  For  example,  when                                                                    
determining  whether  a  DUI was  pertinent  to  a  person's                                                                    
license  the board  would consider  whether the  offense was                                                                    
relevant  to   the  individuals    guiding  or  if   it  was                                                                    
completely irrelevant.                                                                                                          
9:34:24 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Knopp   clarified  that  he   was  wondering                                                                    
whether the board  would pursue an accusation if  it did not                                                                    
relate  to the  profession.  Ms. Chambers  answered that  if                                                                    
someone filed a complaint  the division had a responsibility                                                                    
to  follow  up. If  the  complaint  was irrelevant  and  not                                                                    
jurisdictional the  division dropped it, but  she understood                                                                    
that it was disturbing to the respondent.                                                                                       
Representative Josephson  asked who kept the  physical files                                                                    
the audit  referred to.  He asked if  the division  kept the                                                                    
files. Ms. Chambers replied that  the division had the files                                                                    
as   the   administrative   arm    for   all   the   boards.                                                                    
Representative  Josephson  asked   how  the  documents  were                                                                    
received. Ms.  Chambers replied that the  division received,                                                                    
accepted,  maintained, filed,  scanned, and  kept the  files                                                                    
pertaining  to  all  aspects   of  licensing.  The  division                                                                    
provided documentation to the board.                                                                                            
9:36:48 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Josephson asked  for  verification that  Ms.                                                                    
Curtis  or  other  auditors  was  physically  going  to  the                                                                    
division's office  to examine files. Ms.  Chambers responded                                                                    
in the  affirmative. Representative  Josephson noted  he may                                                                    
have been heavy handed in  his earlier remarks regarding the                                                                    
BGCSB. He wanted to ensure  that hunters followed the rules.                                                                    
He acknowledged that the  boards  audit recommendations were                                                                    
the divisions responsibility.                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter  asked if  there was  a requirement                                                                    
for  individuals  to  self-report violations.  Ms.  Chambers                                                                    
answered in the negative,  but the division encouraged self-                                                                    
reporting. She furthered  that in most cases   a responsible                                                                    
guide would call in a violation that happened in error.                                                                         
MAJOR  BERNARD CHASTAIN,  DEPUTY  DIRECTOR, ALASKA  WILDLIFE                                                                    
TROOPERS, DEPARTMENT OF  PUBLIC SAFETY (via teleconference),                                                                    
asked Representative Carpenter to repeat the question.                                                                          
Representative Carpenter complied.                                                                                              
Mr.   Chastain   answered   that  AS   08.54.720   (a)   (1)                                                                    
specifically  addressed violations  by a  licensee. He  read                                                                    
the statute:                                                                                                                    
     (1) person who is licensed under this chapter to                                                                           
          knowingly fail to promptly report, unless a                                                                           
          reasonable   means   of   communication   is   not                                                                    
          reasonably available, to  the Department of Public                                                                    
          Safety,  and in  no event  later than  20 days,  a                                                                    
          violation of a state  or federal wildlife or game,                                                                    
          guiding,  or  transportation services  statute  or                                                                    
          regulation  that  the person  reasonably  believes                                                                    
          was committed  by a client  or an employee  of the                                                                    
Mr. Chastain explained that the  statute required the guides                                                                    
to report  violations by a  client or an employee,  but they                                                                    
were not required to self-incriminate.                                                                                          
9:40:19 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ortiz referenced that  the division was complaint                                                                    
driven and that DCCED was  one of the most significantly cut                                                                    
agencies  over recent  years.  He asked  if  the agency  was                                                                    
having difficulty  meeting its obligations due  to cuts. Ms.                                                                    
Chambers answered  that the division  was fortunate  and did                                                                    
not experience  personnel cuts  because it  was self-funded.                                                                    
However, the  division was growing, because  professions and                                                                    
professionals  wanted licensure,  especially in  healthcare.                                                                    
She  shared that  the divisions   staffing had  not keep  up                                                                    
with  the  growing  volume and  demand  for  licensure.  The                                                                    
division had  worked to  make modest  increases, but  it was                                                                    
not  keeping  up. She  found  that  maintaining the  balance                                                                    
between keeping  license fees reasonable and  division costs                                                                    
down was  challenging. She commented  that the  division had                                                                    
been  working on  potential  solutions  to reduce  licensing                                                                    
fees for  many years, including  asking the public  to share                                                                    
in the cost  of licensure. Many licensing  programs had very                                                                    
expensive  appeals of  board decisions.  Some investigations                                                                    
cost in  the hundreds of  thousands of dollars; paid  for by                                                                    
the licensees.  She recalled that former  Representative Sam                                                                    
Kito had introduced a bill the  past year to try to mitigate                                                                    
the situation that was not acted on.                                                                                            
9:43:30 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Knopp remembered  that  the legislature  had                                                                    
consolidated  all  investigations  into  the  Department  of                                                                    
Public  Safety (DPS).  He asked  if  it took  away from  the                                                                    
department's  timeliness in  response to  investigations. He                                                                    
did not recall  the outcome. Ms. Chambers  answered that the                                                                    
only  recent   consolidation  attempt  was   the  governor's                                                                    
current  administrative  order  that  consolidated  all  the                                                                    
states  investigative services into  DOL. The order would be                                                                    
analyzed in the coming year.                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson  interjected  that the  boards  could  also                                                                    
choose  to  have its  own  investigator.  She believed  that                                                                    
would remain an option for  boards since their fees paid for                                                                    
investigations.  Ms.  Chambers  answered that  the  question                                                                    
required  a nuanced  answer.  Investigation  were under  the                                                                    
statutory purview of the department.  A few boards had their                                                                    
own investigator  via statute.  She concluded that  it would                                                                    
 probably not remain an option.                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Wilson OPENED public testimony.                                                                                        
9:45:30 AM                                                                                                                    
VIRGIL  UMPHENOUR,  SELF,  FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported maintaining  the board.  He shared  that he  was a                                                                    
master  guide in  North Pole  and had  been involved  in the                                                                    
management process  of the states   fish and  game resources                                                                    
for over  30 years. He  listed some of his  involvement that                                                                    
included  serving  three terms  on  the  Board of  Fish.  He                                                                    
shared  that in  the 1990s  the board  had expired,  and the                                                                    
department  had  licensed  some  individuals  with  marginal                                                                    
qualifications.  He  indicated  that  after  the  board  had                                                                    
resumed,  the department  became  overzealous  and conducted                                                                    
many  frivolous   investigations.   He  declared   that  the                                                                    
department  had  violated  the intent  of  how  claims  were                                                                    
investigated.  He claimed  that  the  department had  denied                                                                    
guides from  petitioning the board under  the Administrative                                                                    
Procedures  Act to  clarify the  intent of  the regulations.                                                                    
He voiced  that the board  was the only defense  the public,                                                                    
guides,   and    transporters   had    against   overzealous                                                                    
investigators  and managers  in the  department who  did not                                                                    
understand what guides did for  a living. He fully supported                                                                    
the boards extension.                                                                                                           
9:48:11 AM                                                                                                                    
WAYNE KUBAT,  SELF, WASILLA  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support  of the  bill. He  shared that  he had  been guiding                                                                    
since  1981.  He  voiced  that the  game  board  provided  a                                                                    
valuable service  to the public  and industry. He  felt that                                                                    
the negative testimony was  misleading and proven inaccurate                                                                    
by DCCED. He  believed that the board was doing  a good job.                                                                    
He determined that the bill  had strong support from a broad                                                                    
section  of the  public,  the Department  of  Fish and  Game                                                                    
(DFG)  and the  Board  of Game.  He  listed other  entities                                                                     
support for the  board. He spoke to  the boards  responsible                                                                    
stewardship of  Alaska's wildlife resources  and maintaining                                                                    
the long-term viability of the  guide industry. He supported                                                                    
extending the board to the full extent possible.                                                                                
9:50:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MARK  RICHARDS,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  RESIDENT  HUNTERS  OF                                                                    
ALASKA (via teleconference), spoke  against the bill. He did                                                                    
not  want the  board extended  for more  than two  years. He                                                                    
maintained   that   the   board  had   received   three-year                                                                    
extensions since 2005.  He pointed to the  boards  debt, the                                                                    
continued  high number  of complaints,  and  the backlog  of                                                                    
investigations that  was included in every  audit report. He                                                                    
read an extract from the 2018 audit report:                                                                                     
          A  review  of  the  board  investigative  activity                                                                    
          found 233  cases were open  between July  2015 and                                                                    
          Mau 2018 and 80 remained  open as of May 2018. The                                                                    
          audit reviewed 22  of 145 cases open  for over 180                                                                    
          days  between July  2015 and  May 2018.  Twenty of                                                                    
          the  22  cases  were  found  to  have  unjustified                                                                    
          periods of  inactivity ranging from two  months to                                                                    
          18 months.                                                                                                            
          The prior recommendation  to improve timeliness of                                                                    
          investigations was not  resolved and is reiterated                                                                    
          as Recommendation 2.                                                                                                  
Mr.  Richards emphasized  that the  same recommendation  was                                                                    
included in all  the other audits since  2005. He maintained                                                                    
that the  deficit was being  resolved by turning  to consent                                                                    
agreements for  guides who committed violations  rather than                                                                    
more  costly administrative  hearings.  He  claimed that  he                                                                    
attended a board meeting via  teleconference where the board                                                                    
approved 17  consent agreements  resulting in  minimal fines                                                                    
and probation  for violations ranging  from wanton  waste of                                                                    
game,  guide use  area  infractions,  and herding  grizzlies                                                                    
with  snow machines.  He noted  one instance  where a  guide                                                                    
escorted  6  hunters  without   being  certified  and  board                                                                    
members  excused his  behavior as  forgetfulness. He  stated                                                                    
that  without repercussions  the board  had no  incentive to                                                                    
change. He reiterated  his request that the  committee  only                                                                    
support a  two-year extension  of the  board. He  wanted the                                                                    
board to prove that it could resolve its problems.                                                                              
9:54:58 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
CSSB 43(FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                        
Co-Chair Wilson reported the bill would be heard the                                                                            
following morning.                                                                                                              
^RECESSED to a CALL of the CHAIR                                                                                                
9:56:01 AM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB43HCS WORKDRAFT FIN v.S.pdf HFIN 5/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 B&H 3rd Q FY19.pdf HFIN 5/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43
SB 43 BBH Audit Final-Report-WEB.pdf HFIN 5/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43