Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

04/01/2010 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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          SB 261-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL BD MEMBERS                                                                      
8:33:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the next  order of business  was CS FOR                                                              
SENATE BILL  NO. 261(L&C), "An Act  relating to the  membership of                                                              
the  Alcoholic  Beverage  Control  Board;  and  providing  for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
8:34:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DONNY OLSON,  Alaska State Legislature, introduced  SB 261                                                              
as sponsor.   He indicated  that the effects  of alcohol  are more                                                              
devastating  in  rural  Alaska, where  social  services,  wellness                                                              
programs, and  public safety are  not sufficient.  He  stated that                                                              
SB  261 would  offer another  tool  with which  to address  issues                                                              
related to  alcohol abuse  in small  communities in rural  Alaska.                                                              
Senator Olson explained  that currently there are  five members on                                                              
the state's  Alcoholic Beverage Control  (ABC) Board, two  of whom                                                              
must represent the  general public, and SB 261  would require that                                                              
one of  those public members  is a resident  of a rural area.   He                                                              
said the  idea is  that a  public member  who is  a resident  of a                                                              
rural area  would have  a better understanding  of how  to address                                                              
the issues  that exist in rural  areas.  Senator Olson  said there                                                              
are 120 people  in his community,  and in the last six  months the                                                              
community has experienced  two tragedies.  He said  he sees SB 261                                                              
as a  mean by which  to "raise  the profile to  this problem  in a                                                              
public  forum" to "relieve  some  of the pain  and suffering  that                                                              
has already been out there."                                                                                                    
8:36:21 AM                                                                                                                    
TIM  BENINTENDI,   Staff,  Senator   Donny  Olson,   Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,   offered   further    information   on   behalf   of                                                              
Representative  Olson.   He explained  that  the reasoning  behind                                                              
the proposed  legislation is  that since  the ABC Board  addresses                                                              
issues related  to bars,  clubs, and  retail operations,  it would                                                              
be  beneficial  to have  someone  from  a rural  community,  where                                                              
related problems  are acute, to sit  on the board.   Currently, he                                                              
said, the  appointment of  someone from a  rural community  to the                                                              
board is discretionary.                                                                                                         
8:38:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BENINTENDI,  in response  to Chair  Lynn, said the  definition                                                              
for  "rural area"  is found  in language  on page  2, lines  5-11,                                                              
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
               (2) "rural area" means an area that is not                                                                   
     connected  by road or  rail to  Anchorage or  Fairbanks,                                                               
     that has participated  in a local option  election under                                                               
     AS 04.11.491, and                                                                                                      
                    (A) is a city; or                                                                                       
                    (B) is an established village that is                                                                   
     located  in the  unorganized  borough;  for purposes  of                                                               
     this   subparagraph,  "established   village"  has   the                                                               
     meaning given in AS 04.21.080.                                                                                         
MR. BENINTENDI,  in response to  a follow-up question,  said under                                                              
SB 261, the  application process would  be open to someone  from a                                                              
"dry" village.                                                                                                                  
8:41:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  cited a sentence in Section  1, beginning on                                                              
line 8, which read as follows:                                                                                                  
     Two  members  of the  board  shall be  persons  actively                                                                   
     engaged  in  the  alcoholic  beverage  industry,  except                                                                   
     that no  member may  hold a wholesale  license or  be an                                                                   
     officer,  agent, or  employee of  a wholesale  alcoholic                                                                   
     beverage enterprise.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO asked, "So,  we have  pretty much  ruled out                                                              
the wholesale, and so, where are we left with:  retail?"                                                                        
MR. BENINTENDI offered  his understanding that the  licensee would                                                              
be  excluded,  but said  he  imagines  the other  employees  would                                                              
8:42:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  observed that the aforementioned  language                                                              
includes employees of wholesale alcoholic beverage enterprises.                                                                 
8:42:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  then  directed   attention  to   the  next                                                              
sentence, beginning on page 1, line 11, which read as follows:                                                                  
      No three members of the board may be engaged in the                                                                       
     same business, occupation, or profession.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO said  he finds  the  use of  the phrase  "No                                                              
three" confusing.                                                                                                               
8:43:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BENINTENDI offered  his understanding  that  the language  is                                                              
written  that way  to ensure  that  all three  public members  are                                                              
"apart from the industry."                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  explained that he  has trouble with  the two                                                              
words, "No" and "three", being used together.                                                                                   
8:44:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  directed  attention  to the  definition  of                                                              
rural area on page  2, lines 5-11 [text provided  previously].  He                                                              
offered   his   understanding   that  the   language   refers   to                                                              
unorganized boroughs,  and he asked if it is  the sponsor's intent                                                              
to ensure "it is only an unorganized borough."                                                                                  
8:45:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BENINTENDI  said  the  sponsor's   intent  was  [to  include]                                                              
established villages  inside or outside of a borough.   He said he                                                              
would discuss the matter with the bill drafter.                                                                                 
8:45:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON  pointed out that SB 261  proposes only a                                                              
couple changes to  current law.  Regarding  Representative Gatto's                                                              
previous  remarks about  the phrase  "No three",  she offered  her                                                              
understanding that it  means no three members of the  board may be                                                              
engaged  in the same  business,  which would  help the board  keep                                                              
its perspective broad.   Representative Wilson said  she likes the                                                              
bill, and  she characterized  it as a first  step in  addressing a                                                              
8:46:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG directed attention  to the  term "city",                                                              
on page 2, line  8, and he cited the definition  of "city" from AS                                                              
29.71.800 (4), which read as follows:                                                                                           
         (4) "city" means a general law first or second                                                                         
     class city or a home rule city;                                                                                            
MR.   BENINTENDI,  in   response   to  Representative   Gruenberg,                                                              
confirmed that  that is the definition  the sponsor wishes  to use                                                              
in SB 261.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested it may eliminate  confusion to                                                              
reference that statute within the bill.                                                                                         
MR. BENINTENDI  said he does not  see a problem with that,  but he                                                              
said he wants to talk with the bill drafter.                                                                                    
8:48:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, regarding "No  three members",  on page                                                              
1, line 11,  said he interprets  the phrase to mean that  not more                                                              
than two members  of the board would be allowed to  be in the same                                                              
profession.    In  response  to Mr.  Benintendi,  he  offered  his                                                              
understanding that "No three members" cannot mean three or less.                                                                
MR. BENINTENDI said he would discuss that with the bill drafter.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  emphasized the importance  of clarifying                                                              
the bill sponsor's intent.                                                                                                      
8:49:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG directed attention  to language  on page                                                              
2,  lines  5-7,  which  would  require  a  "rural  area"  to  have                                                              
"participated  in a  local option  election  under AS  04.11.491".                                                          
He  asked what  the reason  is for  that  requirement and  whether                                                              
there are  any such areas that  would otherwise qualify  under the                                                              
proposed bill.                                                                                                                  
8:51:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BENINTENDI  responded that he  does not think anyone  would be                                                              
excluded.   He said  several communities  would qualify  under two                                                              
and even three of the criteria set out.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   said    that   would   not   be   his                                                              
interpretation of the  way the bill has been  drafted, because the                                                              
conjunctive  "and" follows,  which means  the definition  of rural                                                          
area is an area  that meets the criteria set out  on page 2, lines                                                              
5-7  [text  provided   previously]  and  is  a  city   or  is  "an                                                          
established village that is located in the unorganized borough".                                                            
[SENATOR OLSON nodded.]                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG questioned "why that's in there."                                                                      
MR.  BENINTENDI responded  that the  language is  written thus  to                                                              
focus on communities most in need.                                                                                              
8:53:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  asked  what   the  purposed  is   of  the                                                              
requirement that  a rural area must  have participated in  a local                                                              
option election.                                                                                                                
8:53:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BENINTENDI answered,  "It lends more to the  community profile                                                              
than looking for individuals with specific experience."                                                                         
8:54:19 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON said  he would like to address some  of the previous                                                              
questions  of  the  committee.     He  said  [the  ABC  Board]  is                                                              
comprised  mainly  of  people  from  metropolitan  or  established                                                              
first-  or  second-class  cities.    Regarding  the  local  option                                                              
election, Senator Olson  said it is important to have  a member on                                                              
the ABC  Board who  has been involved  in an election  determining                                                              
whether a  community will be "dry,"  "damp," or "wet."   Regarding                                                              
the  unorganized  boroughs,  he  offered  his  understanding  that                                                              
there are no cities  in a borough that are not  either a first- or                                                              
second-class city.                                                                                                              
8:57:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  OLSON, in  response  to Representative  Johnson,  offered                                                              
his understanding  that a  community is assumed  wet until  it has                                                              
held a  local option election  that results  in a majority  of the                                                              
citizens voting to make the community dry.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  pointed out that an individual  from a dry                                                              
community would  be eligible to serve  on the ABC Board,  which is                                                              
responsible for administering liquor licenses.                                                                                  
8:59:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BENINTENDI admitted  to the  possibility  but questioned  the                                                              
likelihood of that happening.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON suggested  that  the proposed  legislation                                                              
should  be  changed so  that  those  from dry  communities  cannot                                                              
serve  on the  board.   He  said  the subject  of  alcohol in  dry                                                              
communities  should be addressed  by law  enforcement rather  than                                                              
by an ABC  Board member.  He  then suggested that the  same should                                                              
apply to damp communities.                                                                                                      
MR.  BENINTENDI,  in  response  to  Representative  Johnson,  said                                                              
information  is  available regarding  how  many rural  areas  have                                                              
held  local option  elections, and  he  offered to  find out  what                                                              
that number is.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON expressed  concern that  the local  option                                                              
election requirement may make the bill too narrow.                                                                              
9:01:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON questioned the  meaning of "not  connected                                                          
by  road".    He explained  that  the  Alaska  Marine  Highway  is                                                          
considered  a road  when it  comes  to getting  federal money  for                                                              
MR.  BENINTENDI  replied that  under  SB  261, the  Alaska  Marine                                                              
Highway  is "excluded  from  the  definition of  a  road" so  that                                                              
communities in Southeast Alaska could participate.                                                                              
9:02:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN returned to  the previous question  about                                                              
"No three  members".   He directed attention  to language  on page                                                              
1, line 8,  which states that two  members of the board  "shall be                                                              
persons  actively engaged  in  the alcoholic  beverage  industry".                                                              
He posited  that if all  three public members  were also  from the                                                              
industry,  that  would  stack the  board  with  "industry-friendly                                                              
CHAIR LYNN asked Senator Olson if he agrees.                                                                                    
9:03:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  OLSON responded,  "It's already  in statute  - the  three                                                              
members that  are there - and  so, that's not the  constitution of                                                              
the bill."   He said  his interpretation  is that it  is advisable                                                              
to have  diverse opinions on  a board.  He  said his intent  is to                                                              
further broaden the diversity.                                                                                                  
9:03:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  questioned the use of the  word "the", which                                                          
precedes "unorganized  borough" on  page 2, line  9.  He  asked if                                                          
the bill  sponsor would  like to pluralize  "borough" or  add "an"                                                          
before "borough".                                                                                                           
MR. BENINTENDI  explained that the  language as currently  written                                                              
is "a  term of art" meaning  all the areas  of the state  that are                                                              
not organized into a borough or municipality.                                                                                   
9:04:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO   emphasized  the  importance   of  creating                                                              
language in  the bill that is  not open to misinterpretation.   He                                                              
asked how  "No three members  of the board  may be engaged  in the                                                              
same business"  would be interpreted  if, for example, one  of the                                                              
two  members  of  the  board that  are  required  to  be  actively                                                              
engaged  in the  alcoholic  beverage industry  happen  also to  be                                                              
from a rural area.                                                                                                              
MR.  BENINTENDI  said  although   he  can  see  how  the  existing                                                              
language could  be interpreted more  than one way, the  sponsor is                                                              
addressing only one of the three public member seats.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  reiterated the importance of  being specific                                                              
within  the  bill language,  so  that  the  proposed bill  is  not                                                              
subject to interpretation.                                                                                                      
9:06:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG,   regarding   Representative   Gatto's                                                              
previous question  about the  use of  the phrase "the  unorganized                                                          
borough", cited AS 29.03.010, which read as follows:                                                                        
     Sec. 29.03.010.  Establishment.                                                                                            
     Areas of the state that are not within the boundaries                                                                      
    of   an   organized   borough    constitute   a   single                                                                    
     unorganized borough.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG,   regarding  the  "No   three  members"                                                              
language,  said he  thinks Representative  Gatto  is correct  that                                                              
the  language is  technically  ambiguous.   He  indicated  someone                                                              
could think that  means that allowing four or five  members of the                                                              
board  to be  engaged in  the same  business  would be  okay.   He                                                              
suggested  the   language  should   read,  "No  more   than  two".                                                              
Representative  Gruenberg  referred  again  to the  definition  of                                                              
"city",  which he  had  previously  read, and  he  noted that  the                                                              
definition  pertains   to  a  certain   title  in  statute.     He                                                              
recommended  using the definition  in SB  261 and referencing  the                                                              
statute from which the definition came.                                                                                         
9:09:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON concurred,  but asked the committee to  focus on the                                                              
intent of the bill,  not to rework existing statute.   He said the                                                              
intent  of  the  bill  is  to  ensure   that  there  is  "a  rural                                                              
perspective on the board."                                                                                                      
9:10:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON stated  that  he supports  the concept  of                                                              
the bill,  but is concerned  that, for  example, under SB  261 the                                                              
existing  board  member  from  Cordova  would  be  excluded.    He                                                              
explained  that he is  not certain  that Cordova  has ever  held a                                                              
local option election.   He said he would like the  bill held over                                                              
in order to "give the board all the tools they need."                                                                           
CHAIR  LYNN  said  it  appears  the bill  needs  to  be  held  for                                                              
amendments to be made.                                                                                                          
9:12:48 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON  encouraged the committee  to look through  the bill                                                              
with  a fine-tooth  comb,  but  reiterated  his request  that  the                                                              
committee  concentrate  on the  portion  of  statute that  he  has                                                              
proposed to change.                                                                                                             
9:13:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  indicated that when working on  one issue in                                                              
a proposed  bill, a committee sometimes  has the chance  to change                                                              
related statute to avoid unintended consequences.                                                                               
9:14:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON,  regarding   organized  and   unorganized                                                              
villages,  asked if it  is the  intention of  the bill  sponsor to                                                              
exclude Nanwalek  and Port Graham,  for example, which are  in the                                                              
Kenai  Peninsula  Borough.   He  offered  his  understanding  that                                                              
those communities have not yet held a [local option] election.                                                                  
SENATOR   OLSON  said   he  is   not  trying   to  exclude   those                                                              
9:15:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  remarked,  "We have  so many  organized                                                              
boroughs, and  everything that's  not an  organized borough  is in                                                              
the unorganized borough, and there's only one of them."                                                                         
9:16:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said  the  part of  the  definition  of                                                              
urban  area concerning  not being  connected  by road  or rail  is                                                              
taken  from  another  statute.    He urged  the  bill  sponsor  to                                                              
consider not excluding  some communities just because  they happen                                                              
to be  on the  road system.   He said  he would  like to  give the                                                              
governor as much  discretion as possible to get a  rural member on                                                              
the board.                                                                                                                      
9:18:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BENINTENDI   said  communities   on   the  road  system   are                                                              
considered to  have better access  to remedial services.   He said                                                              
someone once  asked if a person  from Auke Bay, within  the Juneau                                                              
Borough,  could serve  on the  seat proposed  by SB  261, but  Mr.                                                              
Benintendi  defined a  community  as that  which has  "25 or  more                                                              
people who exist and operate as a social unit."                                                                                 
9:20:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he  thinks the definition  of rural                                                              
area needs  further consideration.   He stated, "Because  Auke Bay                                                              
is part  of the City  & Borough of  Juneau, so, we  can substitute                                                              
City & Borough of  Juneau for Auke Bay, because  that's what we're                                                              
talking about.   And that is an area that's not  connected by road                                                              
or rail to Anchorage or Fairbanks, and it is a city."                                                                           
MR. BENINTENDI responded  that a person from Auke  Bay could apply                                                              
for one of the  other two general public seats, "just  not the one                                                              
we're  trying to  define."   He  directed  attention  to the  word                                                              
"and"   on   page   2,  line   7,   [previously   highlighted   by                                                              
Representative Gruenberg],  and noted that  the word is  not "or".                                                              
He stated,  "But ...  it might  be 200  communities in  this state                                                              
that could  take advantage  of applying  under the criteria  we're                                                              
trying  to establish."    He  said he  would  try  to access  more                                                              
accurate community population estimates.                                                                                        
9:21:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BENINTENDI,  in  response   to  Representative  Seaton,  said                                                              
currently an  applicant from  Juneau could fill  one of  the other                                                              
two general public seats.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  he  thinks the  only  exclusion  for                                                              
Juneau  is  if  the  community  has  never  held  a  local  option                                                              
election.    He  then  observed  that Auke  Bay  is  not  excluded                                                              
because  it  is  connected  by road  to  Juneau;  it  is  excluded                                                              
because it has not held a local option election.                                                                                
MR. BENINTENDI confirmed that is correct.                                                                                       
9:23:41 AM                                                                                                                    
DALE  FOX,  President,  CEO, Alaska  Cabaret  Hotel  Restaurant  &                                                              
Retailer's  Association (Alaska  CHARR),  testified in  opposition                                                              
to SB  261.   He stated  that the  ABC Board  serves an  important                                                              
regulatory  and licensing  function  in Alaska;  it  is a  detail-                                                              
oriented board,  which deals with  "the minutia of  alcohol laws."                                                              
Because  of this,  he expounded,  the ABC  Board is  not the  most                                                              
exciting board  on which to sit,  and recruiting members  to serve                                                              
on  it can  be difficult.   He  said  historically governors  have                                                              
done a great  job in ensuring  a balance in representation  on the                                                              
board.  He  said the board  member from Cordova already  "fits the                                                              
description of  this bill."  He  said her name is Belen  Cook, and                                                              
she works  for the Native village  of Eyak as a  domestic violence                                                              
and substance abuse  case manager, and is the chair  of the annual                                                              
sobriety [conference].   He said Ms. Cook has three  years left on                                                              
her term.                                                                                                                       
MR.  FOX opined  that  SB  261 is  not  needed, because  there  is                                                              
already  someone  representing  rural  interest.    He  said  some                                                              
people  may suggest  institutionalizing  that representation,  but                                                              
the bill  would exclude  any community on  the road  system, those                                                              
people  in organized  boroughs,  and those  communities that  have                                                              
not had local option  elections.  He noted that  the original bill                                                              
version's   stipulation   that  there   be   a  4,500   population                                                              
requirement  that  would  have  excluded  the  Cities  of  Bethel,                                                              
Barrow,  and Kodiak.   He  explained he  is pointing  that out  in                                                              
case anyone  is considering  adding that  back into  SB 261.   Mr.                                                              
Fox opined that  SB 261, in its original and current  form, is bad                                                              
public policy that would tie the hands of the governor.                                                                         
9:26:41 AM                                                                                                                    
BRIDIE  TRAINOR,   Director,  Bering  Strait   Suicide  Prevention                                                              
Program,  Kawerak, Inc.,  testified  in support  of SB  261.   She                                                              
said  the forum  is  grateful for  the  current  diversity of  ABC                                                              
Board members.   She  said Senator  Olson has done  a good  job in                                                              
"representing  the issues  in rural  Alaska."   She concluded,  "I                                                              
think  that considerations  regarding law  enforcement versus  ABC                                                              
are  valid, but  I hope  that  it will  go  through this  session,                                                              
because it's desperately needed."                                                                                               
9:28:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BENINTENDI,  in response to  Chair Lynn, confirmed that  if SB
261 were  passed into law, it  would affect newly  appointed board                                                              
members.   He reemphasized  that under SB  261, there  would still                                                              
be two other  seats that would serve "the applicants  from Cordova                                                              
and other places."                                                                                                              
9:28:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   directed  attention  to   language  in                                                              
Section 2, which read as follows:                                                                                               
     *Sec.2.  The uncodified law  of the  State of Alaska  is                                                                 
     amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                                   
          TRANSITION. The requirement that at least one                                                                         
     member  of the  Alcoholic Beverage  Control  Board be  a                                                                   
     resident  of a  rural  area added  in  AS 04.06.020,  as                                                                   
     amended  by sec.  1 of this  Act, first  applies on  the                                                                   
     date  the first  term of office  of a  board member  who                                                                   
     represents  the  general  public  expires,  and  applies                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG stated:                                                                                                
     Since  the   testimony  is  undisputed  that   there  is                                                                   
     somebody  on  the board  currently  who would  meet  the                                                                   
     requirements,  … under  … Section 2,  that person  would                                                                   
     simply continue  and meet the requirements of  this.  Is                                                                   
     not that  correct?   They wouldn't  have to put  another                                                                   
     person  on,  because  there's already  somebody  on  the                                                                   
     board that meets [the criteria].                                                                                           
MR. BENINTENDI  responded, "If  the person  fits the criteria  and                                                              
the governor reappoints them, yes, sir."                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG continued as follows:                                                                                  
     Let  us  say the  Cordova  representative  … is  on  the                                                                   
     board,  and after  the bill  becomes  effective, one  of                                                                   
     the  other two  public member's  terms  expires.   There                                                                   
     would …  not have to be  a change on the  board, because                                                                   
     that person already meets the requirements of this.                                                                        
MR. BENINTENDI responded:                                                                                                       
     If the  definition that  we have  in this version  holds                                                                   
     fairly much like  it is, that local option  thing may be                                                                   
     a preclusion.   I'm not sure;  I don't know  the history                                                                   
     of Cordova.   But it may be that they could  continue or                                                                   
     it may  be that  one of  the other  seats would come  in                                                                   
     under this bill,  and then when that person  cycles out,                                                                   
     the governor  would be free  to appoint outside  of this                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG responded:                                                                                             
     But  if   that  person  from   Cordova  does   meet  the                                                                   
     requirements  of this  bill  on that  date, even  though                                                                   
     her  seat's not  up, another  … rural  person would  not                                                                   
     have  to   be  appointed,  because  [the   person  from]                                                                   
     Cordova  … would already  meet the  requirements of  the                                                                   
MR. BENINTENDI said,  "I'm not sure.  It doesn't  state that, so I                                                              
guess that's a little Twilight Zone we'd need to address."                                                                      
9:31:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SHIRLEY  GIFFORD,   Director,  Alcohol  Beverage   Control  Board,                                                              
Department of  Public Safety,   stated that the  administration is                                                              
neutral  with  respect to  the  proposed  legislation.   She  said                                                              
Governor Sean  Parnell, and  governors in  the past, have  focused                                                              
on obtaining  a diverse group of  people from across the  state to                                                              
sit on the  board.  She said  Ms. Cook, from Cordova,  is doing an                                                              
excellent  job  representing  rural   Alaska.    She  offered  her                                                              
understanding  that under SB  261, Ms. Cook  would not  qualify to                                                              
sit on  the board, and  she opined that it  would be a  great loss                                                              
if Ms.  Cook were to vacate  the board.   In response to  a former                                                              
question,  she related  that  there  are approximately  108  local                                                              
option communities  across Alaska.  In response  to Representative                                                              
Johnson, she listed  the communities from which  the current board                                                              
members  hail  and  the  expiration  dates of  their  terms.    In                                                              
response to  a follow-up  question, she  confirmed that  the first                                                              
available opening on the board will be in 2011.                                                                                 
9:34:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON,   regarding    Ms.   Gifford's   previous                                                              
statement that  there are 108  local option communities,  asked if                                                              
that means  108 communities  that are  either damp  or dry,  or if                                                              
that means  the total  number of communities  that have  ever held                                                              
local option elections.                                                                                                         
MS.  GIFFORD  explained   that  there  are  five   separate  local                                                              
options:    ban  sale,  community   license  only,  ban  sale  and                                                              
importation, ban  possession, and packaged or licensed  only.  The                                                              
aforementioned  108 communities are  "scattered across  the board"                                                              
in terms  of which  local option  they  fall under,  she said.   A                                                              
community that  bans sale,  importation, and  possession is  a dry                                                              
community,  and  is considered  a  local option  community,  while                                                              
"all the  others who choose one  form of local option  or another"                                                              
are  considered  damp communities.    A  community that  does  not                                                              
choose any local option is a wet community.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  observed  that  the  proposed  legislation                                                              
does  not  address  the  communities   that  have  selected  local                                                              
option, but addresses  communities that have ever  had an election                                                              
for a local option.   He asked if there are  communities that have                                                              
held  a  local option  election,  but  did  not accept  the  local                                                              
MS. GIFFORD  said currently  the  board keeps  count of the  local                                                              
option  communities  and  which  options  those  communities  have                                                              
elected.   If a  community voted  down an  option in an  election,                                                              
that community would not be on the board's list, she said.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said he would like that information.                                                                      
9:38:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  closed  public  testimony.   He  said  he  likes  the                                                              
concept of  SB 261, and he hopes  the committee can make  it work.                                                              
He indicated that he would be holding the bill for further work.                                                                
9:38:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON said she does  not see the need  to hold                                                              
SB  261, because  the  sponsor  has  clearly stated,  through  the                                                              
language  of   the  bill,   what  he   would  like  the   proposed                                                              
legislation to do.                                                                                                              
9:39:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON said  he disagrees,  because he  questions                                                              
the proposal  to put  someone from  a community  without a  liquor                                                              
license  on the  board responsible  for  issuing liquor  licenses.                                                              
He reiterated that  that is a law enforcement issue,  not a liquor                                                              
control board issue.                                                                                                            
9:40:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN  said he  thinks  one question  that  has                                                              
been  answered is  whether there  would be  enough communities  to                                                              
qualify  under  SB   261.    He  said  there   may  be  additional                                                              
communities, and  that information will  be forthcoming.   He said                                                              
he likes  the intent  of SB 261  and hopes  the committee  can get                                                              
questions answered and move along the process.                                                                                  
CHAIR LYNN  reminded the  committee that the  sponsor of  the bill                                                              
had said he had no problem with the bill being held over.                                                                       
9:41:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON   noted  that  the  House   State  Affairs                                                              
Standing Committee  is the only  committee of referral  that makes                                                              
policy,  and he  encouraged  the committee  to  be expedient,  but                                                              
also thorough.                                                                                                                  
9:42:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  reiterated   that  if  the  bill  sponsor's                                                              
intent  is  to  have  one  member   of  the  board  from  a  rural                                                              
community,  then he would  like that  specified in  the bill.   He                                                              
said he does not  have a problem with the language  staying as is,                                                              
if that is the sponsor's intent.                                                                                                
9:43:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  recalled  that  Mr. Fox  had  testified                                                              
that it  is difficult  to get people  to serve  on the  board, and                                                              
Representative  Gruenberg suggested  that  the committee  consider                                                              
giving some discretion  to the governor if, for  example, there is                                                              
no one readily available  to fill a board seat.   He then directed                                                              
attention to  language on  page 1, line  13, which specifies  that                                                              
"at least one" of  the public members of the board,  "shall reside                                                      
in a  rural area."   He stated  that there has,  for the  last few                                                          
years, been  heavy migration from rural  to urban areas.   He said                                                              
if a  person from  a rural  area who  served on  the board  had to                                                              
move  to an  urban  area, that  rural  seat would  immediately  be                                                              
vacated.  He said  the migration to an urban area  may be just for                                                              
a short  period of  time, for example,  to get medical  treatment.                                                              
Finally,  Representative Gruenberg  echoed Representative  Gatto's                                                              
previously  stated   concern  regarding  the  use   of  "No  three                                                              
members".   He opined  that that  language is  poorly drafted  and                                                              
needs attention.                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  confirmed that  Representatives Johnson  and Gruenberg                                                              
would be working with the bill sponsor.                                                                                         
9:46:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said applications  for board seats  are sent                                                              
to  the governor's  staff,  and  that  staff member  must  "govern                                                              
eligibility based on  the law."  Representative Gatto  said if the                                                              
law  is   unclear,  that  could   result  in  that   staff  member                                                              
disqualifying someone.   He said  the reason for spending  so much                                                              
time on  the bill  language is  to give  clear directions  to that                                                              
staff person whose  assignment is to reject or  accept applicants.                                                              
He  predicted that  if  the bill  language  is made  clear by  the                                                              
House  State Affairs  Standing Committee,  then SB  261 will  pass                                                              
the House floor easily.                                                                                                         
9:47:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  offered his understanding of  the points in                                                              
the  bill  that   had  previously  been  highlighted   as  needing                                                              
9:48:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON, in  response  to Chair  Lynn, stated  his                                                              
preference  that a  subcommittee not  be formed,  but rather  that                                                              
the chair allow  him to work with  the bill sponsor to  answer his                                                              
CHAIR LYNN  invited anyone  else on the  committee to  contact the                                                              
bill sponsor to work out issues related to SB 261.                                                                              
9:48:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced that SB 261 was held over.                                                                                 

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