Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/07/2004 08:44 AM Senate FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 15(JUD)                                                                                
     "An Act relating to fair trade practices and consumer                                                                      
     protection, to telephone solicitations, to charitable                                                                      
     solicitations; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Co-Chair  Wilken   stated  that  this   legislation,  sponsored   by                                                            
Representative  Bud Fate, "would establish  specific guidelines  for                                                            
telemarketers  operating  in  the State."  He noted  that  CS HB  15                                                            
(JUD), Version  23-LS0058\X  and its accompanying  fiscal notes,  is                                                            
before the Committee.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  BUD FATE, the bill's sponsor, stated  that his staff                                                            
would present testimony on the bill.                                                                                            
JIM POUND,  Staff  to Representative  Bud Fate,  explained that  the                                                            
intent of this bill is  to address the number of telemarketing phone                                                            
calls that people receive  during the evening dinner hour. He stated                                                            
that similarly  fashioned  federal legislation,  referred to  as the                                                            
National No-Call  List, has been developed,  and that this  bill has                                                            
been modified to align  with those federal regulations. One of those                                                            
modifications,  he continued, would "allow the [State's]  Department                                                            
of Law  to enforce  the federal  statutes" and  additionally  "would                                                            
allow Alaskans  to be  able to have  a local  or in-State  contact,"                                                            
rather than a federal contact through which to file a complaint.                                                                
Technical Amendment  #1: This amendment deletes "exemption  provided                                                            
by (a)(11)" and inserts  "written disclosure required by (a)(11)(B)"                                                            
in Section 22,  subsection (b) on page ten, line seven.  The amended                                                            
language would read as follows.                                                                                                 
     (b)  The written  disclosure  required  by (a)(11)(B)  of  this                                                            
     section does not apply  to a sale of a magazine subscription by                                                            
     a publisher  or a publisher's  agent operating under  a written                                                            
     agreement between a publisher and the agent                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  moved  to  adopt Amendment  #1  and  objected  for                                                            
Mr.  Pound stated  that  this  technical  amendment is  required  to                                                            
correct a drafting error  that occurred when an amendment pertaining                                                            
to publishers  of  magazine and  periodical sales  was incorporated                                                             
into the Senate  Judiciary Committee committee substitute.  He noted                                                            
that the intent  of the amendment was to address the  bill's written                                                            
notice of  cancellation  requirements regarding  a transaction  that                                                            
occurs  with an  existing customer  or  were the  billing, which  is                                                            
routinely conducted with  a credit card, to be accompanied by an 800                                                            
number reflected on the  credit card charge on one's statement. This                                                            
toll-free  number,  he  continued,  would enable  an  individual  to                                                            
contract  the vendor to  discuss the charge.  Therefore, he  stated,                                                            
the  adoption  of   this  amendment  would  address  these   written                                                            
disclosure  requirements and correct  the drafting error  that might                                                            
serve to classify  the sale of these  items as a felony under  other                                                            
existing statutes.                                                                                                              
SUSAN BURKE, Attorney  representing Magazine Publishers  of America,                                                            
noted  that  collaborative  efforts  with  the  Consumer  Protection                                                            
Division  of the  Department  of  Law have  resulted  in  acceptable                                                            
compromises.  She  agreed  that  this  amendment   would  correct  a                                                            
drafting error and that her client supports the amendment.                                                                      
Co-Chair Wilken withdrew his objection to Amendment #1.                                                                         
There being no further objection, Amendment #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                     
Co-Chair Wilken asked for  further information regarding the effects                                                            
of the bill.                                                                                                                    
Mr. Pound  explained  that this  legislation  would "localize"  this                                                            
issue  and  provide  the State's  Department  of  Law  more  control                                                            
regarding  telemarketer  issues.  He  stated  that this  bill  would                                                            
require telemarketers  operating in  the State to register  with the                                                            
Department of  Law, would allow consumer complaints  to be addressed                                                            
at the State rather than  federal level "which should be quicker and                                                            
a little  more personal,"  and would allow  Alaskans to register  on                                                            
the National  Do-Not-Call List. He  noted that the establishment  of                                                            
the National  Do-Not-Call List eliminated  the need to establish  an                                                            
Alaskan Do-Not-Call registry.                                                                                                   
Senator  Dyson  asked  whether  non-profit   agencies  such  as  the                                                            
Salvation  Army or  political campaigns  would be  affected by  this                                                            
Mr. Pound  responded  that this  legislation would  not affect  non-                                                            
profits or political entities.                                                                                                  
Senator   Dyson  asked   whether  "significant   issue"   non-profit                                                            
organizations would be affected.                                                                                                
Mr. Pound understood  that those organizations  would be  recognized                                                            
as a political entity.                                                                                                          
Senator Dyson  questioned whether non-profit fund-raising  endeavors                                                            
would be allowed.                                                                                                               
Mr. Pound responded  that all non-profits would be  exempt from this                                                            
Senator  Dyson  asked  for  confirmation  that  this  would  include                                                            
political organizations.                                                                                                        
Mr. Pound concurred.                                                                                                            
Senator  Dyson  asked regarding  "the  common  denominator  for  the                                                            
exemption list"  as referred to in  Section 21 on page seven  of the                                                            
Mr.  Pound  explained  that  the  exemption   language  pertains  to                                                            
registration  and  registration  fees. He  noted that  the  entities                                                            
specified   in  that  section   would  be   required  to  meet   the                                                            
requirements of the national Do-Not-Call list.                                                                                  
Senator Dyson characterized  the list of exempted entities as "quite                                                            
Mr.  Pound  noted  that  the  section,  which   occurs  in  existing                                                            
regulation, was  originally included in the bill as  the result of a                                                            
minor Department  of Law drafting change request.  However, he noted                                                            
that  this "exemption  section"  has evolved  into one  of the  most                                                            
contentious sections of the bill.                                                                                               
Senator Bunde  moved to report the bill, as amended,  from Committee                                                            
with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                  
There  being no  objections,  SCS CS HB  15(FIN)  was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee  with zero fiscal  note #4, dated  February 13, 2004  from                                                            
the  Department  of Community  and  Economic  Development  and  zero                                                            
fiscal note #5, dated February  23, 2004 from the Department of Law.                                                            

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