Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/04/1995 10:00 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Number 000 HB 105 REGULATIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES opened the work session stating HB 105 was not in final form. She welcomed input from the audience and the committee. She indicated the information she came across was negative towards the current regulatory process. She offered two ways to change the system - either modifying the current system or completely starting over. Chair James suggested to the committee they take the approach of starting over rather than modifying the current system. She addressed the issue of an insufficient public input system. She recommended the establishment of a regulatory writing group. She asserted fiscal responsibility was paramount and suggested the revised regulatory process should incorporate a professional regulatory writing group with more public and legislative input. She welcomed the committee members and the audience to air their concerns first and talk about solutions later. Number 180 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN said he was associated with a regulatory agency, the Big Game Commercial Services Board. Regulatory agencies, he stated, had a lot of authority allowing room for abuse. As a result, there was a potential for intimidation, blackmail and capitulating to demands which violated the due process rights granted in the United States Constitution. He further asserted regulations were not written in accordance with intended statutes. Number 255 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER stated his main issue with regulations were that they often exceeded the specific statute that empowered them or the intent of the legislature. He also expressed his concern about the cost of the regulations to the private sector. Number 290 REPRESENTATIVE CARIN ROBINSON agreed to the above statement made by Representative Porter. She further stated regulations were often released at bad times and hard for the "lay-person" to understand. Representative Robinson also asserted the legislature should take a more responsive role in the regulatory process. Number 331 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN stated his main concern for Western Alaska was regulations unintentionally inhibit small businesses and economic development. Number 370 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said the size of the state government had increased at an unprecedented rate which created more regulations and more peopled needed to interpret those regulations. He further stated Alaska was known domestically and internationally as a regulatory state which inhibited business. Representative Ogan alleged the state had too much money contributing significantly to this problem. He also commented the average person should be able to comprehend a regulation. Number 420 CHAIR JAMES stated that regulations were often written from an enforcement position and regulatory writers often failed to get the input from those who implement them. She concluded by identifying the specific problems such as the regulation writers, the regulation language, and the lack of viable public input. Number 470 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN expressed his concern about the committee creating a "mini" legislature. Number 495 JACK KEINHEDER, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Management and Budget, Office of the Governor, started by expressing his appreciation of the committee and the approach taken by defining the problem(s) first rather than attacking specific bill language. He further stated staff agency members that had any comments should address the committee directly. REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY stated he was in attendance to listen. Number 515 NANCY BEAR USERA stated she was associated with a regulated industry. Ms. Usera asserted that regulations were necessary because they were the rules that dictated business which stemmed from public policy. Ms. Usera agreed with previous testimony on issues that addressed the regulatory writers and statutes. She further asserted a need to look at the assumptions. The Administration, she stated, appeared to be more concerned with form rather than substance. Ms. Usera also stated the failure to attach the cost of the regulations to the benefit of society, business and the market place was a problem. She addressed the need for further accountability and proper funding. Lastly, she mentioned the need for a follow-up process to further ensure the intent of the regulation. Number 594 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Ms. Usera if there was a need for a single regulatory writing department. MS. USERA answered that, currently, the program managers were the ones that drove the regulation writing along with the Department of Law. She alluded a third regulatory oversite was needed. She further stated that "where" a regulation was drafted was not the central issue as long as it was well thought through. Number 620 BRENDA WILCOX, former staff member to Lt. Governor Coghill, described a regulation litmus test that addressed and took into account wording, comprehension, and public input. She also asserted legislative intent should remain part of the statute. Ms. Wilcox further advised agencies should be made responsive to an elected official allowing easier public access. TAPE 95-08, SIDE B Number 040 JACK KEINHEDER asked if there were any staff members from agencies present to testify. Number 049 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to Commissioner Perdue, Department of Health and Social Services, stated his agency was very interested in the topic of regulation reform due to the large amount of regulations effecting the department. He provided a list of such regulations to the committee. He announced his department was concerned about "yet another agency" involved in the regulatory process as structured by HB 105. He asserted expertise was at the division level due to the large volume and complexity of regulations involved. He further alleged there would be no savings due to the transition of training individuals to understand the regulation process, especially, in his department. Number 195 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked for some regulation examples from Mr. Lindstrom's list. Number 200 MR. LINDSTROM answered by recounting examples such as public health lab fees, audits, penalties, and appeals related to health care facilities, and certification of nursing home beds. Mr. Lindstrom further stated each of these regulations demanded a lot of staff time. He also said he had seen regulations changed as a result of the public process. Number 245 CHAIR JAMES commented on an example of a "regulation gone wrong" and changed by the public process. The example recalled was the collection of child support regulation which ultimately harmed those paying child support regularly. She asserted the regulation was not thought through properly and the public acted accordingly. Number 285 MR. LINDSTROM responded by stating there were, commonly, unforeseen results of regulations. Number 310 CHAIR JAMES called for a break. CHAIR JAMES called the work session back to order asking the committee members and the audience to bring forth any specific current problems and recommended solutions to those problems. Number 325 GARREY PESKA stated he was associated with the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Association, but was not here representing them. He expressed his concern regarding the public hearing process. He held that at best public hearings were perfunctory and the public was not clear if their comments were taken into account. He suggested as a solution that agencies be required to list in writing all public comment(s) and state how they did or did not accommodate those comment(s). Furthermore, he suggested when substantive changes were made, a further public hearing was in order. Number 370 CHAIR JAMES supported Mr. PesKa's testimony by illustrating the problems surrounding the concealed carry permit regulation. She stated the regulation was rewritten after the public review process but was never put forth to the public again for further discussion due to time constraints. Consequently, the agency had to make administrative changes within. She suggested all regulations need to follow the same process. Number 348 MS. USERA proposed an eight step approach to incorporate into the regulatory process. The eight step approach included policy statements, affected parties, market impact, regulatory resources required, cost, performance measures, evaluation periods, and accountability. She further proposed the establishment of a regulatory oversite committee to appropriate the necessary funds. Ms. Usera said the proposed oversite committee could not change regulations because that was an executive branch power but by attaching an appropriation oversite created another check and balance in the system. Number 568 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked Ms. Usera what the limitations were in regard to the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branch in respect to regulation reform. Number 580 MS. USERA answered the legislature had the final say with regard to appropriations. Number 585 CHAIR JAMES stated the legislature gave the authority to the Administration via the Administrative Procedure Act to make regulations. She also addressed Mr. Porter's question describing the Colorado Plan which encompassed a functioning regulatory review committee that reviewed and made statute recommendations to the state legislature which ultimately had to be approved by the Governor. Chair James cited the plan did not breech the separation of powers. Number 625 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER also expressed his concern regarding the potential to go against the separation of powers. Number 638 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE asked what the difference was between the proposed legislative regulatory oversite committee and their power to appropriate funds and the fiscal note process already established. Number 646 MS. USERA responded that bills changed too quickly during the legislative process and those changes typically did not consider the impact on how the agency implemented the regulation or the cost to the public. Number 666 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented there needed to be a careful balance between strict and nebulous legislative statutes which perpetuated the need for more regulation. Number 690 CHAIR JAMES responded the learning curve of a legislator was very steep and at times she felt nervous about passing certain legislation. She further stated the public was already nervous about the legislative process in general and even more so with respect to the regulation process. She did not blame the regulatory writers but rather the process. Chair James suggested they ease the public concerns. TAPE 95-09, SIDE A Number 000 MS. USERA expressed her approach met everyone's needs. The agencies would appreciate the appropriated funding, the legislature would be assured the regulations were in agreement with the underlying statutes, and the people had a clearer understanding of their power in the review process. Number 035 CHAIR JAMES expressed her appreciation of Ms. Usera's time and comments. She stated they were very helpful. Chair James continued by expressing there should be more hoops in the system thereby deterring unnecessary regulation(s) and serving the public's needs better. Number 052 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER disclosed facetiously that Chair James and he a few years back suggested before a statute was passed an existing one should be eliminated. He suggested the committee consider that with regulations. Number 066 CHAIR JAMES declared her bill was drafted to create a complete new regulatory processes to include all effected. She further stated in the past regulatory statutes had exempted agencies from the Administrative Act. She asserted in her bill there were no exemptions. She stated agencies that thought they should be exempted would have to come forth with their reasons. Chair James concluded by asking the committee members to further evaluate statutes and respond to her in writing. She called for another work session and recommended a teleconference. Number 157 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN suggested a weekday was better for the next meeting. Number 170 CHAIR JAMES responded the next available weekday for a work session was February 16, 1995 from 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. Number 212 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON requested a copy of materials from Chair James for review.