Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/30/1996 10:40 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  SENATE BILL NO. 215                                                          
       An Act  streamlining the functions of state government,                 
       including authorizing the commissioner of fish and game                 
       to  award  grants  for   certain  resource  activities;                 
       allowing agents selling fish and game licenses and tags                 
       to   retain   certain  compensation;   authorizing  the                 
       Department of  Health  and  Social  Services  to  award                 
       grants for certain services for developmentally delayed                 
       or disabled  children; relating  to rabies control  and                 
       administration of  flour  and bread  standards  by  the                 
       Department of Environmental Conservation; repealing the                 
       Athletic  Commission,  the  regulation  of  boxing  and                 
       wrestling,    the    certification    of   professional                 
       geologists, and  the Water  Resources Board;  repealing                 
       certain filing statements and bonds for enforcement and                 
       collection  of certain  taxes;  and  providing  for  an                 
       effective date.                                                         
  Co-chairman Halford  directed that  SB 215  be brought  back                 
  before committee for discussion, referenced Amendment No. 6,                 
  and asked that Wendy  Redman speak to the amendment.   WENDY                 
  REDMAN,   Vice-president,   Statewide   University   System,                 
  University of Alaska, came before  committee.  She explained                 
  that current  law  does not  allow  an employer  to  require                 
  automatic deposit for employee pay.   The proposed amendment                 
  would allow  the University to impose that requirement.  The                 
  intent is to establish a program  with an option that allows                 
  for employees who have no bank  accounts.  The program would                 
  thus not be absolutely mandatory.   Approximately 42 percent                 
  of University employees now utilize  automatic deposit.  The                 
  hope  is  to increase  usage  to  70  percent.    University                 
  accountants believe in excess of $100.0  a year can be saved                 
  through use of automatic deposit.                                            
  Senator  Zharoff expressed  concern that perhaps  those with                 
  bank  accounts  may  not  wish   to  use  that  process.  He                 
  questioned the wisdom  of mandating use.   Ms. Redman  noted                 
  that 60 percent of University  employees have bank accounts.                 
  She acknowledged that many choose to receive a pay check and                 
  do their own  banking.   She suggested that  that ritual  is                 
  very expensive.  It costs a considerable amount to write the                 
  checks  and  distribute  them throughout  the  system.   The                 
  University  seeks  to  save  that  money  and  put  it  into                 
  Senator Rieger asked if the  proposed amendment would effect                 
  a change for  all employers or  merely the University.   Ms.                 
  Redman replied, "This  changes the  law for all  employers,"                 
  but it does  not require it for  all employers.    The issue                 
  would have to be bargained with collective bargaining units.                 
  The Dept. of Administration asked  that language ensure that                 
  "It  was  optional for  everyone  else."   Co-chairman Frank                 
  sought further  clarification of applicability.   Ms. Redman                 
  said the statute only applies to public employers.  It would                 
  remain optional for all other  employers.  Co-chairman Frank                 
  sought  additional  clarification  concerning   whether  the                 
  change would be limited to public employers.                                 
  Discussion  followed   regarding  those  with   accounts  at                 
  brokerage houses and whether language was sufficiently broad                 
  to  cover a  variety  of  accounts.   Ms.  Redman  responded                 
  affirmatively,  advising  that   the  University   presently                 
  accommodates distribution of an employee's  pay to up to six                 
  accounts.  She  reiterated that the University  policy would                 
  provide exceptions for those who do not have  bank accounts.                 
  Co-chairman  Halford  observed that  a  reading of  AS 23.10                 
  indicates  the  proposed   amendment  would  apply  to   all                 
  employers, including private employers.  Ms. Redman stressed                 
  that it  would be optional.   Co-chairman Halford  said that                 
  existing  law  is optional.    The proposed  amendment would                 
  allow an employer to require direct deposit.                                 
  Senator Zharoff asked if the title would require a change to                 
  accommodate application to private employers.                                
  Co-chairman Halford directed  attention to a draft  CSSB 215                 
  (Fin)  (9-GS2023\M, Cook,  4/30/96)  and  explained that  it                 
  incorporates amendments (2 through 5) previously adopted  by                 
  committee at  the April  23, 1996,  meeting.   Senator Sharp                 
  MOVED for  adoption of  CSSB 215  (Fin) dated  4/30/96.   No                 
  objection having been raised, CSSB 215 (Fin) was ADOPTED.                    
  The Co-chairman then  queried members regarding  disposition                 
  of Amendment  No. 6.   Wendy  Redman suggested  that if  the                 
  committee is uncomfortable  in applying amendment provisions                 
  to all  Alaskan employers,  she would  redraft the  language                 
  under AS  14.40 (statutes applying  to the University)  in a                 
  way  that  would   allow  the   University  to  impose   the                 
  requirement.  Co-chairman Frank concurred in need for narrow                 
  application.  He then MOVED to WITHDRAW Amendment No. 6.                     
  Co-chairman Halford explained that Amendment No. 7  contains                 
  language  similar  to  that adopted  in  the  unincorporated                 
  community  grant  act  with  the  exception  that  amendment                 
  language contains a two-year sunset and would only apply  to                 
  July 1, 1998.   Court  cases challenging state  jurisdiction                 
  and  authority  will, hopefully,  be  decided by  that time.                 
  Senator  Sharp  MOVED  for  adoption  of  Amendment  No.  7.                 
  Senator Zharoff OBJECTED.  Co-chairman  Halford called for a                 
  show of hands, and Amendment No. 7 was ADOPTED on a  vote of                 
  6 to 1.                                                                      
  Co-chairman  Halford explained  that Amendment  No. 8  deals                 
  with  lobbying contracts  by  state entities.    Co-chairman                 
  Frank MOVED  for adoption.  Senator Rieger raised a question                 
  concerning salaried employees who also register as lobbyists                 
  and  whether  they  would  be  prohibited  from  working  on                 
  projects.  He  pointed specifically to  Page 1, line 23,  of                 
  the  amendment   and   cited  the   following  language   as                 
       (1)   'contract  with'   includes  hiring   as  an                      
  Co-chairman  Halford  agreed  that  the  definition  appears                 
  overly  board.  Several  suggestions of alternative language                 
  were  offered  by  both   Co-chairmen.    Co-chairman  Frank                 
  stressed that the legislature is  interested in hearing from                 
  the executive director and other  corporate or agency people                 
  who are knowledgeable about programs.   The committee is not                 
  interested in hearing from "the hired gun  that's been hired                 
  specifically to come  down here  and communicate."   Senator                 
  Zharoff  asked   how   suggested   language   would   impact                 
  legislative liaisons.  Co-chairman Halford explained that it                 
  would  depend  upon whether  liaison  work is  full  time or                 
  incidental  to  the remainder  of  the employee's  full time                 
  occupation.   It would  prohibit  agencies from  contracting                 
  with someone  to lobby  if lobbying  was all the  individual                 
  did.  The Co-chairman pointed to the representative from the                 
  Alaska Permanent Fund who comes before the legislature.  The                 
  individual   also   deals  with   other   communication  and                 
  information functions  for  the  corporation.    Co-chairman                 
  Frank  suggested that  the  focus of  the  amendment is  not                 
  hired employees,  but  contracts  with  lobbyists  who  also                 
  represent "a host of other clients."                                         
  Co-chairman Halford suggested insertion of "does not include                 
  hiring as a full-time employee"  in lieu of "includes hiring                 
  as  an  employee."   Co-chairman  Frank MOVED  for adoption.                 
  Senator Rieger concurred in  the foregoing as long as  it is                 
  not construed  "that you had  to use the  full-time employee                 
  strictly for lobbying the legislature."  Senator Rieger then                 
  suggested the following amendment to Amendment No. 8:                        
       Page 1, line 23:  Following 'contract with'                             
            Delete:  includes hiring as an employee                            
            Insert:   does not include regular employment                      
  Co-chairman Frank WITHDREW his motion.   Senator Rieger then                 
  formally MOVED for  adoption of  the foregoing amendment  to                 
  Amendment  No. 8.    No objection  having  been raised,  the                 
  amendment to Amendment No. 8 was ADOPTED.                                    
  Co-chairman Halford  called  for objections  to adoption  of                 
  Amendment No. 8.  No objection having been raised, Amendment                 
  No. 8 was ADOPTED.                                                           
  Co-chairman Halford advised that Amendment  No. 9 relates to                 
  procurement by the Alaska Railroad.  Co-chairman Frank MOVED                 
  for adoption.   No objection  having been raised,  Amendment                 
  No. 9 was ADOPTED.                                                           
  Co-chairman Halford next directed attention to Amendment No.                 
  10.  Senator Sharp explained that the amendment would extend                 
  present subsistence law scheduled to expire this fall.   Co-                 
  chairman Halford voiced need to review pertinent session law                 
  relating thereto.                                                            
  Senator Zharoff  asked that  committee discussion  revert to                 
  consideration  of  Amendment  No.  1   and  MOVED  that  the                 
  committee rescind its  earlier action  failing to adopt  the                 
  amendment.    Co-chairman  Halford advised  that  he  had no                 
  objection to the motion to  rescind but advised he  remained                 
  opposed to the amendment which would provide grant authority                 
  to the  Dept. of Fish  and Game.   He then asked  that staff                 
  from the department speak to both Amendments 1 and 10.                       
  GERON BRUCE, Legislative  Liaison, Dept.  of Fish and  Game,                 
  came before committee.                                                       
  END:      SFC-96, #105, Side 1                                               
  BEGIN:    SFC-96, #105, Side 2                                               
  Mr. Bruce explained  that subsistence law was  extended last                 
  year and is  again scheduled to  expire in October of  1996.                 
  It  thus  requires  extension  this  year   as  well.    The                 
  department  supported  extension last  year and  would again                 
  support a simple extension with no changes.                                  
  Co-chairman Halford voiced his understanding that the intent                 
  of Amendment No.  10 would be  to repeal the sunset  without                 
  making any other changes in subsistence law.  Senator  Sharp                 
  concurred, adding that he would  not object to establishment                 
  of another sunset.                                                           
  LAURIE OTTO,  Deputy Attorney  General, Dept.  of Law,  next                 
  came before committee.   She  voiced her understanding  that                 
  legislative attorneys  have advised that  the proposed  bill                 
  violates the constitutional single-subject provision.   When                 
  the  original  bill   relating  to  streamlining   of  state                 
  government  was  introduced,  the  Dept.  of  Law  took  the                 
  position that it would  withstand constitutional scrutiny.                   
  Amendments  offered  and   adopted  by  committee  involving                 
  banking for University  employees, subsistence, funding  for                 
  tribal entities, and  lobbying activities place the  bill in                 
  violation of constitutional provisions.  The net result will                 
  be that  the entire  bill and  all its  provisions would  be                 
  struck down by the courts.  While the state has never struck                 
  down law on that basis, there has never before been a law as                 
  broad and touching on so many  subjects.  Ms. Otto cautioned                 
  that the committee appears to  be adding provisions relating                 
  to "groups that are particularly  litigious."  She expressed                 
  concern that the committee was spending much time on a piece                 
  of legislation containing important provisions but which was                 
  being set up to be stuck  down by the courts.  She said  the                 
  Dept.  of  Law has  now  joined  the  opinion  expressed  by                 
  legislative attorneys and has reach  the conclusion that the                 
  bill,   as   amended   during  the   present   meeting,   is                 
  In response  to a comment  by Co-chairman Halford,  Ms. Otto                 
  explained that the title  does not put the public  on notice                 
  of what the bill  addresses.  Amendments have resulted  in a                 
  bill that does not withstand  constitutional scrutiny.  That                 
  has nothing to do with the merits of the amendments.                         
  Co-chairman  Frank  asked   that  the  meeting  be   briefly                 
                       RECESS - 11:10 P.M.                                     
                     RECONVENE - 11:20 P.M.                                    
  Co-chairman Halford again  referenced Amendment No. 10.   He                 
  then noted repealers  covering an "amazing array"  of titles                 
  and statutes (incorporated within the  bill as introduced by                 
  the  Governor) and  acknowledged that  additional amendments                 
  "stretch  it even  further."  Senator  Sharp advised  of his                 
  understanding that legislation extending subsistence law  is                 
  pending in House Rules.  He then WITHDREW Amendment No. 10.                  
  Co-chairman Halford then referenced Senator Zharoff's motion                 
  to rescind  action  failing to  adopt  Amendment No.  1  and                 
  called for objections.   Senator Zharoff explained  that the                 
  amendment would provide the Dept. of Fish and Game authority                 
  to  work  with  private  landholders  or other  entities  to                 
  restore  fish  habitat.   Geron  Bruce said  that provisions                 
  within  the   amendment   were   prompted   by   legislative                 
  appropriation  of two  sources of  funding for  work on  the                 
  Kenai River.  A  portion of the money was to be used to work                 
  with private  land owners  on demonstration  grants on  land                 
  fronting the Kenai.  The effort was  to protect habitat.  In                 
  the  process of  administering  the program,  the department                 
  found it did  not have grant authority and thus had to go to                 
  a third  party  for award.    The proposed  amendment  would                 
  provide the department with ability to directly award grants                 
  in  areas  where  the  legislature  appropriated  money  for                 
  specific grant purposes.   Mr. Bruce  said he worked on  the                 
  language  with  Senate  President  Drue  Pearce as  well  as                 
  members  of  the  Senate Resources  Committee.    Wording is                 
  intended to be limiting  and maintain legislative oversight.                 
  Senator  Sharp voiced  his recollection  that  revised, more                 
  narrowly tailored language  was to be developed  rather than                 
  reverting to Amendment No.  1.  He  said he objected to  the                 
  broad  nature   of  authority  that   covers  delegation  of                 
  management.   He  advised  he had  no  objection to  habitat                 
  improvement efforts involving  private land owners  or other                 
  organizations.    Original  language  appeared  to  delegate                 
  everything  the Dept.  of  Fish and  Game  could do  through                 
  grants.  Mr. Bruce said that the intent was that control and                 
  direction of funds would occur in the appropriation process.                 
  Authorizing language was  then to  be sufficiently broad  to                 
  reach "a number of  the kinds of things that  the department                 
  did, if you so desired."                                                     
  SENATE  PRESIDENT DRUE  PEARCE next  came  before committee.                 
  She  explained that the  legislature appropriated $1 million                 
  in federal receipts and  a match from EVOS moneys  for Kenai                 
  River habitat projects.   In  the appropriation for  federal                 
  receipts, subsection  language said  the Dept.  of Fish  and                 
  Game could make a  transfer of grants directly to  the Kenai                 
  Peninsula  Borough  for  demonstration projects  on  private                 
  land.    The  borough subsequently  had  difficulty  with an                 
  ordinance relating to Kenai  River management.  In the  end,                 
  the borough did not have  direct authority to accomplish the                 
  projects, and language within the appropriation bill did not                 
  permit the Dept. of  Fish and Game to conduct  the projects.                 
  The proposed  amendment  would  allow  grants  for  approved                 
  projects to be made directly to private land owners.                         
  Further  discussion  followed  regarding citations  for  the                 
  above-referenced Kenai  River projects.   Laurie  Otto again                 
  cautioned regarding violation of the constitutional  single-                 
  subject  provision.   Co-chairman Halford  acknowledged that                 
  the committee and  legislative attorneys would have  to work                 
  on  an  all-inclusive,  single-subject  title.   He  further                 
  acknowledged that items may have to be removed from the bill                 
  if it is to be workable.                                                     
  Referencing  concern by  Senator  Sharp regarding  the broad                 
  nature of amendment  language, Senator Pearce noted  that it                 
  is  "much less  broad" than  language removed from  the bill                 
  when it was in Senate Resources Committee.                                   
  Senator Donley MOVED for adoption  of a conceptual amendment                 
  to Amendment No.  1 that would  limit authority to the  two,                 
  specifically cited, appropriations for Kenai River projects.                 
  Senator Zharoff asked if the conceptual amendment would make                 
  language  too  restrictive   for  the  original   intent  of                 
  Amendment No. 1.  Mr. Bruce  responded negatively.  He noted                 
  an immediate need to  deal with funds relating to  the Kenai                 
  River.  He then voiced his  belief that the concept embodied                 
  within  Amendment  No. 1  could be  applicable to  a broader                 
  range  of projects,  subject  to legislative  appropriation.                 
  The department  would  like to  have  that authority.    Co-                 
  chairman Halford asked that the conceptual amendment contain                 
  leeway to  utilize  date restrictions  should SLA  citations                 
  prove to be a problem.  He stated that the intent is to deal                 
  with specifically  noted appropriations and  not create  the                 
  broad authority embodied in the original amendment.  He then                 
  called  for  objections  to the  conceptual  amendment.   No                 
  objection having been  raised, the  conceptual amendment  to                 
  Amendment No. 1 was ADOPTED.                                                 
  Co-chairman Halford next queried members regarding action on                 
  Amendment No. 1.   He explained  that, as amended, it  would                 
  authorize the department to make grants from the two funding                 
  sources  defined  by  SLA  citations,  statute  numbers,  or                 
  specific dates.  No objection  having been raised, Amendment                 
  No. 1 was ADOPTED as amended.                                                
  Co-chairman Frank  asked that committee attention  revert to                 
  Revised Amendment No. 6.  He explained that  it would now be                 
  limited to the  University, and an  employee would have  the                 
  right  to  request  an  exemption  from the  direct  deposit                 
  In response to a question from Senator Randy Phillips, Wendy                 
  Redman  explained  that  when  the  University hires  a  new                 
  employee,  information  relating   to  direct  deposit   and                 
  exemptions  would  become  part  of  the  normal  paperwork.                 
  Existing  employees would  be sent  correspondence notifying                 
  them  of the change and  furnishing an exemption form should                 
  they choose  to make  that request.   Ms.  Redman reiterated                 
  that the University would not  have requested the change  if                 
  substantial cost savings  were not  to accrue.   Co-chairman                 
  Frank formally MOVED  for adoption of Revised  Amendment No.                 
  6.    Co-chairman  Halford voiced  his  OBJECTION,  and then                 
  called for a show of hands.  The motion CARRIED, and Revised                 
  Amendment No. 6 was ADOPTED.                                                 
  Senator Sharp MOVED  for adoption of  Amendment No. 11.   He                 
  explained that it  would fall within  the title and allow  a                 
  vendor  of  fish and  game  licenses to  assign compensation                 
  earned as an agent to a  non-profit fish or game association                 
  and to notify  the Dept. of  Fish and Game  of such  action.                 
  The commissioner  would retain  25 percent  of the  assigned                 
  compensation for costs  associated with assignment.   The 25                 
  percent  would flow  to  the "regular  state  fish and  game                 
  fund."  Senator Rieger voiced  his understanding that moneys                 
  would accrue to the fund that could be used for the broadest                 
  range of activities.  Senator  Sharp concurred.  Co-chairman                 
  Halford noted his  OBJECTION.   No further objection  having                 
  been  raised,  the   Co-chairman  advised  of  ADOPTION   of                 
  Amendment No. 11 on a vote of 6 to 1.                                        
  Geron Bruce referenced  Page 7, line  27, of CSSB 215  (Fin)                 
  and  noted  need  to  delete  a repealer  (AS  16,05.390(c))                 
  relating to Amendment  No. 11.  Co-chairman  Halford queried                 
  members regarding objection to deletion of the repealer as a                 
  conforming  amendment  to Amendment  No.  11.   No objection                 
  having  been  raised,  reference to  "AS  16.05.390(c)"  was                 
  deleted from Section 17 of the bill.                                         
  Co-chairman Frank  directed attention  to  Amendment No.  12                 
  which he explained  relates to annual six-year  plans within                 
  the Dept. of Education.  He further acknowledged  a proposed                 
  amendment  to  Amendment  No.  12,  by Senator  Donley,  and                 
  explained that it relates to unhoused students.  Co-chairman                 
  Frank  then  MOVED for  adoption  of  Amendment No.  12  and                 
  requested  unanimous  consent.   Senator  Donley  MOVED  for                 
  adoption of his amendment to Amendment  No. 12.  In response                 
  to a question from Senator Zharoff, Senator Donley explained                 
  that  his  amendment  to the  amendment  contains  the exact                 
  language  adopted by committee  for incorporation  within SB                 
  244.  It  requires that  students in temporary,  relocatable                 
  facilities be  counted as unhoused,  statewide.  Co-chairman                 
  Halford called  for objections  to adoption.   No  objection                 
  having been  raised, the amendment  to Amendment No.  11 was                 
  Co-chairman  Halford next voiced  his OBJECTION to Amendment                 
  No. 12 and  asked if there  were additional objections.   No                 
  further objection  having been  raised, Co-chairman  Halford                 
  declared Amendment No. 12 ADOPTED on a vote of 6 to 1.                       
  Senator Donley remarked  that when  SB 244 was  sent to  the                 
  House,   it   contained   a   provision   regarding    equal                 
  reimbursement  for  transportation.    He  then  voiced  his                 
  understanding that it  was subsequently removed and  said it                 
  now  appears  that  something  intended  to  provide  fairer                 
  reimbursement has been turned "into an even worse negative."                 
  The  Senator  advised that  he  was considering  offering an                 
  amendment that would  create a maximum differential  between                 
  school districts  for reimbursement of  pupil transportation                 
  per the following language:                                                  
       Any differential  between school districts  in the                      
       level of reimbursement for transportation provided                      
       by a school district shall not exceed 10 percent.                       
  That would provide a range within which the department could                 
  work, based  on actual costs,  but the department  could not                 
  exceed 10  percent in discriminating among  school districts                 
  for expenses.  Senator Rieger  voiced his understanding that                 
  the  foregoing  language  would  not  relate merely  to  the                 
  differential between  private and public  bus transportation                 
  within  a  district  but  to  all  reimbursement  statewide.                 
  Senator Donley concurred.                                                    
  Co-chairman Frank remarked  on need  to attend the  upcoming                 
  floor session and referenced need for substantive discussion                 
  with  the  Dept. of  Education  prior  to  taking action  on                 
  reallocation of  transportation moneys.  Senator Donley said                 
  he would not offer the amendment  at this time.  Co-chairman                 
  Halford voiced support for the  language, but suggested that                 
  Senator Donley find a different vehicle.                                     
  Co-chairman Frank MOVED  for passage of CSSB  215 (Fin) with                 
  individual recommendations and appropriate fiscal notes.  No                 
  objection having been  raised, CSSB  215 (Fin) was  REPORTED                 
  OUT of  committee with  a Dept. of  Revenue (Treasury)  note                 
  showing  revenues of $7,065.0; a  ($720.0) Dept. of Fish and                 
  Game  note;  a   ($5.3)  Dept.  of  Commerce   and  Economic                 
  Development note; and zero notes  from the Dept. of  Natural                 
  Resources and Dept. of Revenue (Income/Excise).  Co-chairman                 
  Frank and Senator Sharp  signed the committee report with  a                 
  "do pass"  recommendation.  Co-chairman Halford and Senators                 
  Donley and  Phillips  signed "no  recommendation."   Senator                 
  Rieger  indicated need  for amendment,  and Senator  Zharoff                 
  signed "do not pass (Titanic)."                                              
  The meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:00 midnight.                   

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