Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/09/2004 12:10 PM Senate FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 295(STA) am                                                                                          
     "An Act  relating to the publishing,  furnishing, and  contents                                                            
     of certain  notices regarding  regulations or rules  of certain                                                            
     state  agencies and entities;  relating to distribution  of the                                                            
     Alaska  Administrative  Code, Alaska  Administrative  Register,                                                            
     and supplements  to the code or register; and  providing for an                                                            
     effective date."                                                                                                           
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Co-Chair  Wilken commented  that this  legislation  would alter  the                                                            
manner  through   which  the  public  is  notified  about   meetings                                                            
pertaining to State regulations.                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde moved  to  adopt the  Finance  committee substitute,                                                             
Version 23-GH1145\I, as the working document.                                                                                   
There being no  objection, the Version "I" committee  substitute was                                                            
CRAIG TILLERY,  Chief Assistant Attorney, General-Statewide  Section                                                            
Supervisor, Environmental  Section, Department of Law, testified via                                                            
teleconference from an  offnet site to explain that this legislation                                                            
would serve to make advertising  notices for proposed regulations in                                                            
newspapers  more  readable  and  understandable  by  requiring  less                                                            
detail to be included in  those notices. In addition, he stated that                                                            
the  legislation  would make  notice  distribution  methods via  the                                                            
Internet,  mail,  electronic  mail and  newspapers  more  consistent                                                            
between  State  agencies.  Furthermore,  he noted  that  in  certain                                                            
specialized  subject  areas such  as  those pertaining  to  business                                                            
situations or  to persons who rely on the Internet  for information,                                                            
newspaper notices would no longer be required.                                                                                  
Mr.  Tillery stressed  that  "the key  change" of  this legislation                                                             
would be to allow for abbreviated  newspaper notices rather than the                                                            
more  detailed   versions  currently   required.  This  change,   he                                                            
reiterated, would make  notices more understandable and would reduce                                                            
State advertising  expenditures.  He noted  that while the  proposed                                                            
advertising  notice format  would  continue to  provide information                                                             
pertinent  to how a  regulation is  being changed,  it would  direct                                                            
people  to access the  Alaska On-Line  Public Notice  system  on the                                                            
Internet  or  to a  contact  person  at  a State  agency  were  more                                                            
detailed information required.                                                                                                  
SFC 04 # 113, Side B 01:00 PM                                                                                                   
Mr. Tillery continued  "that there are a number of  discrepancies in                                                            
notices as required  by the Administrative Procedures  Act (APA) and                                                            
those  required  in State  Statute  as  a result,  he  attested,  of                                                            
"historical  accidents"  when statutes  were  adopted  prior to  the                                                            
enactment of the  APA. Some of the discrepancies,  he continued, are                                                            
that  while Statutes  require  notices  to  be advertised  in  three                                                            
newspapers, others,  such a those affecting the Teachers  Retirement                                                            
Board,  the Judicial  Retirement  Board,  and the  Public  Employees                                                            
Retirement  Board,  allow  a notice  to  be in  a  single  newspaper                                                            
because these individuals "have greater access to the Internet."                                                                
Mr. Tillery informed  the Committee that although  the original bill                                                            
included  the  Alaska Railroad,  the  Alaska  Aerospace Development                                                             
Corporation, the Alaska  Housing Finance Corporation, and the Alaska                                                            
Industrial Development  and Export Authority (AIDEA),  in the single                                                            
notice  requirement,  the Version  "I"  committee  substitute  would                                                            
require  those agencies  to  publish  notices in  three newspapers.                                                             
Another  change   incorporated  into   the  Version  "I"   committee                                                            
substitute, he  continued, is that the newspaper notice  requirement                                                            
would be eliminated  for highly specialized  subject areas  in which                                                            
"the  interested person  relies  heavily on  the  Internet or  other                                                            
means"  such  as a  trade  group  for  information.  These  affected                                                            
groups, he  shared, would  include the Department  of Community  and                                                            
Economic   Development's   Banking   Securities   and  Corporations                                                             
Division;  Trust Act regulations;  and the  Department of  Revenue's                                                            
corporate income tax regulations.                                                                                               
Mr.  Tillery  also  pointed  out  that  existing  law  requires  the                                                            
Lieutenant  Governor   to  provide  a  paper  copy   of  the  Alaska                                                            
Administrative  Code to a clerk of a local governmental  unit, at no                                                            
cost,  whether  the  clerk wants  it  or  not. He  stated  that  the                                                            
Lieutenant  Governor's  office has  notified the  Department of  Law                                                            
that numerous  municipalities have pointed out that  this paper copy                                                            
is  unnecessary.  The  committee  substitute  would  change  current                                                            
statute to specify  that a municipality's clerk must  request a copy                                                            
and  that  they  must  pay  for  it.  In  addition,   the  Committee                                                            
substitute  would  allow the  clerk  to elect  to  receive  Internet                                                            
assess to the Code at a reduced cost.                                                                                           
Senator Hoffman  asked whether the language change  that would allow                                                            
a notice  to be run  in one  newspaper rather  than three  different                                                            
newspapers  is referenced in  Sec. 13, subsection  (2) on page  six,                                                            
beginning on line eight, which reads as follows.                                                                                
     (2) published in a newspaper [ONE OR MORE NEWSPAPERS] of                                                                   
     general circulation in [EACH JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF] the state;                                                              
     New Text Underlined [BRACKETED TEXT DELETED]                                                                               
Mr. Tillery  stated  that numerous  statutes  relating to  newspaper                                                            
notices are affected by  this bill; specifically that Sections 3, 8,                                                            
and 13 would allow  for a single newspaper notice  and that Sections                                                            
5, 6,  16, 17, and  25 would  continue the  current three  newspaper                                                            
notice requirement.  He noted that the language allowing  the use of                                                            
abbreviated  notices  primarily   pertains  to  the  Americans  with                                                            
Disabilities Act (ADA) language requirements.                                                                                   
Senator  Hoffman  pointed   out  that  no  single  newspaper  has  a                                                            
Statewide  circulation. Therefore,  he stated  that a notice  in one                                                            
newspaper  could  negatively  affect  a  notice's  public  exposure.                                                            
Consequently, he argued  that the cost savings "would not measure up                                                            
to the lack of information" to the public.                                                                                      
Mr.  Tillery  pointed  out that  only  three  entities:  the  Alaska                                                            
Teachers Retirement  Board; the Judicial Retirement  System; and the                                                            
Public Employees Retirement  Board, would be allowed to advertise in                                                            
only one paper.  These three, he reiterated  would be provided  this                                                            
measure because  they utilize the Internet on a daily  basis and are                                                            
able to acquire information  through their place of business via the                                                            
Alaska  On line Public  Notice System  or other  means. He  stressed                                                            
that the  reduced notice  language would be  limited to these  three                                                            
Co-Chair  Wilken recalled  that concerns  relating  to this  subject                                                            
arose from the fact that  previous pieces of legislation proposed to                                                            
allow all  notices to  advertise in  a single  newspaper of  general                                                            
circulation.  This bill,  he stressed,  limits that  ability to  the                                                            
three aforementioned  entities. He  stated that the bill  would also                                                            
allow for abbreviated notices.                                                                                                  
Senator Olson  stated that, despite  the use of the Internet,  it is                                                            
disconcerting  to attempt  to deliver notices  via one newspaper  in                                                            
such  a large  State. He  asked, therefore,  how  he could  reassure                                                            
teachers and others that they would be adequately notified.                                                                     
Mr. Tillery responded that  the use of such things as regular postal                                                            
delivery  mail,   electronic  mailings,   labor  unions   and  other                                                            
associations,  as  well  as  entity representatives   could  further                                                            
communications pertinent to a group.                                                                                            
Senator Olson  noted that people who rely on such  newspapers as the                                                            
Arctic  Sound and  the Nome  Nugget for  public  notices, "might  be                                                            
unduly left in the dark."                                                                                                       
Senator Bunde,  himself being a retired  teacher, assured  that such                                                            
entities as the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) expend a great                                                                 
deal of money on member communication.                                                                                          
Senator Olson  asked the number of time-sensitive  deadline oriented                                                            
communiqués  that might be  delivered via  the United States  Postal                                                            
Senator Bunde reported  that he is unaware of any "immediate nature"                                                            
communiqués,  as he noted  that the majority  of the notices  regard                                                            
meeting  notices   and  agendas  and  "are  proactive   rather  than                                                            
Senator Hoffman  voiced concern  that the  only place with  Internet                                                            
capability  in rural areas  is the school and  that a lot of  people                                                            
are computer illiterate.                                                                                                        
Senator  Olson  affirmed  that  many people  do  not  have  Internet                                                            
Senator  Bunde  moved   to  report  the  Senate  Finance   committee                                                            
substitute  from   Committee  with  accompanying   fiscal  note  and                                                            
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
There  being no  objection, SCS  CS HB  295(FIN)  was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee with a negative $123,100 fiscal note, dated April 28,                                                                 
2004 from the Office of Management and Budget.                                                                                  
RECESS TO THE CALL OF THE CHAIR 1:11 PM / 12:03AM                                                                               

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