Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/22/2000 01:44 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SB 277-ONLINE SYSTEM REPLACES AK ADMIN JOURNAL                                                                         
MS. DEBORAH BEHR, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of                                                              
Law (DOL), commented that during the March 3 Judiciary Committee                                                                
meeting a question was raised about  the definition of "newspaper                                                               
of general circulation."  This wording appears twice in SB 277.                                                                 
The first time is on page 3, line 26 and it sets out the current                                                                
statutory requirement that notice of an agency's intent to adopt a                                                              
regulation must be "published in the newspaper of general                                                                       
circulation..."  Then on page 5, line 7, the bill uses the same                                                                 
language in setting out the method for notifying the public of                                                                  
updated documents already incorporated by reference in a                                                                        
regulation.  Both references use the phrase in the context of                                                                   
regulation adoption.  The Administrative Procedures Act does not                                                                
have a definition of "newspaper of general circulation."  When Ms.                                                              
Behr reviews regulations, she looks to see that they are published                                                              
in a readily available newspaper of wide distribution throughout                                                                
the state.  Often times she will advise agencies to publish in more                                                             
than one newspaper to make sure that the distribution reaches the                                                               
area affected by the regulation.                                                                                                
Number 297                                                                                                                      
SENATOR HALFORD said he was asked by another member of the                                                                      
legislature about a possible amendment requiring an abbreviated                                                                 
form to be used in publications.                                                                                                
MS. BEHR commented that she has seen the amendments, and it is her                                                              
understanding that the Lieutenant Governor's Office prefers to keep                                                             
the bill focused on the online public notice.  The language she has                                                             
seen is old language from a prior bill that does not reflect on the                                                             
online public notice.                                                                                                           
Number 379                                                                                                                      
MR. JOHN LINDBACK, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, noted that in                                                             
1997 the Governor proposed, as a bill, what is embodied in these                                                                
amendments.  Because the lieutenant governor's office is in charge                                                              
of filing regulations, it was designated as the lead agency. The                                                                
regulations were proposed because there were too many complaints                                                                
being received from the public about regulations being adopted                                                                  
without a public hearing.  Mr. Lindback said the newspaper industry                                                             
hated the Governor's bill, and since that time an effort has been                                                               
made trying to convince them that these amendments are not                                                                      
something they need to be afraid of, but they have not been                                                                     
convinced.  Because the amendments are controversial, it is                                                                     
requested they not be attached to this bill.                                                                                    
MS. BEHR noted that there is a technical problem on page two, line                                                              
3 of the amendment.  This section requires the lieutenant governor                                                              
to provide additional public notice, which adds an unnecessary                                                                  
cost.  All of section 4 can be deleted with no effect on the bill.                                                              
SENATOR HALFORD noted this will not remove the requirement to                                                                   
publish, it will only shorten the form.                                                                                         
Number 816                                                                                                                      
MR. LINDBACK commented there is a long list of requirements in the                                                              
statute of what is required for an ad.  The amendments being                                                                    
discussed remove some of these requirements, opening the door for                                                               
some agencies to take the notices out of the back of the newspaper                                                              
and put them into display ad space.  There is also a provision                                                                  
allowing a coordinated advertising approach allowing municipal                                                                  
advertising pages.  The newspaper industry has been dead set                                                                    
against these provisions.                                                                                                       
SENATOR HALFORD moved to adopt amendment 1-LS1407\A.1, as modified.                                                             
SENATOR ELLIS objected.                                                                                                         
The roll was taken on the motion.  Voting yea:  SENATOR DONLEY,                                                                 
SENATOR HALFORD and CHAIRMAN TAYLOR.  Voting nay:  SENATOR ELLIS,                                                               
and so the amendment was adopted.                                                                                               
SENATOR HALFORD noted the bill now has a positive fiscal note                                                                   
because it saves the state money.                                                                                               
MS. BEHR commented that the last time DOL asked for a fiscal note,                                                              
they were told it would be awash because display ads are a little                                                               
more expensive.                                                                                                                 
MR. LINDBACK said the idea behind the amendment is to get a more                                                                
prominent ad for the money, not that it will cost any less.                                                                     
MS. ANNETTE KREITZER, staff to Senator Leman, thanked the committee                                                             
for entertaining the amendment.  The amendment does give the                                                                    
lieutenant governor some discretion in terms of what state agencies                                                             
are required to do with legal notices.  The Department of                                                                       
Transportation (DOT) has found a way to save money--about $100,000,                                                             
by using the smaller and shorter format, while still informing the                                                              
Number 1068                                                                                                                     
MR. LINDBACK stated that DOT has in deed saved money, but it is not                                                             
because of these provisions.  The provisions being discussed were                                                               
not required at the time--DOT just wrote better ads.  Display ad                                                                
space is more expensive and that is why the fiscal note was                                                                     
considered to be awash.  There is a possibility that advertising                                                                
money can be saved by using the coordinated approach that is                                                                    
contemplated in one section of the amendments.                                                                                  
Number 1130                                                                                                                     
SENATOR DONLEY moved SB 277am from committee with individual                                                                    
recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                 

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