Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/04/1995 10:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 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.                                                             

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