Legislature(1999 - 2000)
03/01/2000 01:44 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 277-ONLINE SYSTEM REPLACES AK ADMIN JOURNAL MR. MICHAEL MORTER, aide to Senator Parnell, read the following statement: You have before you today SB 277 which is sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee at the request of the lieutenant governor's office. By way of history, the journal was created in statute in 1983 and has served as a compilation of public notices from state agencies. These notices would include adopted regulations, agency meetings, competitive solicitations and the like. The Journal is published weekly by the lieutenant governor's office at a cost of $90.00 per year and is currently sent to 9 out-of-state subscribers (down from 125 subscribers in 1993). In June of last year, Governor Knowles initiated Administrative Order 183 that requires agencies to submit public notices to a central location on the Internet, the Online Public Notice System. Rather than searching for public notices agency by agency, the public now has the ability to go to a specific site online for this information. This legislation eliminates the requirement that the lieutenant governor publish the Alaska Administrative Journal and replaces it with the requirement that the lieutenant governor provide oversight of the Alaska Online Public Notice System. SENATOR HALFORD asked what is left for a written record. MR. MORTER responded it is his understanding the information is archived online and people can download that information from the Internet. SENATOR HALFORD asked again if there will not be a written document. MR. JOHN LINDBACK, from the Lieutenant Governor's Office, responded by saying the online journal is a compilation of public notices that are published in other places--newspapers or broadcast media. The original notice is retained with the originating agency. The online journal, like the Alaska Administrative Journal, will be a duplication of notices published elsewhere. SENATOR HALFORD commented that other than the Internet there is not one place a person can get all of the information. You can go to the originating agency for a hard copy and you can go to the lieutenant governor's office to create a hard copy. SENATOR HALFORD asked about notification to the legislative affairs agency within the old law--the bill says, "to any state employee designated by the lieutenant governor to receive requests." MR. LINDBACK responded it is his understanding that HB 37 will not make any changes in the notification process. Currently, legislative affairs places the Alaska Administrative Journal online for the lieutenant governor's office. It has been done this way for a long time and nothing has been done to change this. There is no need for legislative affairs to be responsible for this any longer. MR. LINDBACK noted that in 1983 the legislature adopted the Alaska Administrative Journal and because of public demand the Journal was eventually published online. This resulted in a drop in subscriptions for the hard copy, but complaints were received because the online journal was not searchable. This is why the Online Public Notice System was created--it is just another format with a search function. Because of the statute, there is both a published notice and online notice. SENATOR HALFORD commented the lieutenant governor's office is doing what the bill authorizes now, the only effect of this bill is to drop the printed version. MR. LINDBACK agreed. SENATOR HALFORD noted the bill should have a negative fiscal note instead of a zero fiscal note. MR. LINDBACK said the fiscal note will stay the same because one responsibility has been replaced with another. SENATOR HALFORD asked what the printed service is worth. MR. LINDBACK answered it costs $90.00 a year and there are nine subscriptions. SENATOR HALFORD responded he meant what it is worth in actual state expenditures. MR. LINDBACK answered it is not a question of expenditures but of time, and the amount of time is decreasing as the number of subscriptions decrease. SENATOR HALFORD asked if it costs the state $5,000, $3,000, $10,000--what does it cost? MR. LINDBACK said he does not know the actual cost, he will furnish the committee with these figures at a later time. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there will be a diminishment of the number of public notices put in the press. MR. LINDBACK responded no. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if the nine people still subscribing do not have computers. MR. LINDBACK said Allstate and the University of Iowa are two of the subscribers and it is clear they have computers. At this time, it is a statutory requirement that the journal be sent to them. SENATOR HALFORD asked where in the bill is the requirement to publish in the newspaper. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR pointed out that section 4 lists the requirement, "published in the newspaper of general circulation or trade or industry publication that the state agency prescribes." MR. LINDBACK said the requirements are sprinkled throughout the statute. SENATOR HALFORD asked for the definition of a "newspaper of general circulation." MR. LINDBACK said because this bill does not address this, he cannot answer the question. SENATOR ELLIS moved SB 277 out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR HALFORD objected because he would like to know the interplay between publishing notices in a newspaper and notices online. SENATOR ELLIS withdrew his motion so the answer to Senator Halford's questions can be addressed.