Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/21/2017 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Governor's Appointees to State Boards & TELECONFERENCED
-- Above Item Removed from Agenda --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
Bill Postponed from 9:30 a.m. 3/21/17 Meeting
-- Public Testimony --
Moved SB 71 Out of Committee
       HB 48-ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS, SURVEYORS: EXTEND BD                                                                    
1:36:22 PM                                                                                                                  
CHAIR COSTELLO  brought the  meeting back  to order and  announced                                                              
the first hearing of HB 48.                                                                                                     
1:36:44 PM                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE SAM  KITO, Alaska State Legislature,  sponsor of SB
48, explained  that the bill extends  the termination date  of the                                                              
State Board  of Registration for  Architects, Engineers,  and Land                                                              
Surveyors (AELS)  of which he is  a licensee as a  civil engineer.                                                              
The  Division  of Legislative  Audit  found  that the  AELS  Board                                                              
meets the public  need and recommends an eight-year  extension. He                                                              
noted  that  the bill  also  changes  the  status of  the  current                                                              
landscape architect  seat from  a nonvoting  temporary to  a full,                                                              
voting member. The bill contains no additional costs.                                                                           
1:38:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO welcomed Senator Gardner.                                                                                        
CHAIR HUGHES  asked why  the landscape architect  seat has  been a                                                              
non-voting member for 20 years.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  KITO  explained   the  interest  in  keeping  that                                                              
position   temporary   until   there   were   licensed   landscape                                                              
architects  in  Alaska. He  said  the  Board  has tried  twice  to                                                              
change  this provision  since  there are  now  about 50  landscape                                                              
architects in Alaska.                                                                                                           
1:40:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  asked if the audit  found a surplus in  the Board's                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE KITO  confirmed there is  a surplus. The  budget is                                                              
calculated annually,  but adjusted every  two years. The  fees are                                                              
adjusted accordingly in that two-year cycle.                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  suggested the  fees could or  should be  reduced if                                                              
there actually is a $1.6 million surplus.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  KITO said  that is  how it  works. If  there is  a                                                              
surplus the subsequent biennium fee will be adjusted.                                                                           
CHAIR COSTELLO noted those available to answer questions.                                                                       
1:43:26 PM                                                                                                                    
KRIS  CURTIS,  Legislative Auditor,  Legislative  Audit  Division,                                                              
explained the results  of the sunset review dated  April 2016. She                                                              
said,  overall, the  audit found  that  the Board  is serving  the                                                              
public's interest  and they  recommended an eight-year  extension,                                                              
the maximum allowed. The audit had no recommendations.                                                                          
She reported  on the  schedule of revenue  expenditures on  page 7                                                              
of the  audit report,  as of  February  2016. At  the end of  FY13                                                              
there was  a deficit and  the fees were  increased; at the  end of                                                              
February  2016 there  was a  surplus  of over  $1.6 million.  They                                                              
discussed this  with the Division  of Corporations,  Business, and                                                              
Professional Licensing the decision was to re-evaluate the fees.                                                                
She referred  to page  8 of the  audit -  the schedule  of license                                                              
fees - and  page 5 - a list  of all occupations that  are licensed                                                              
by the  AELS Board and  the count of  the numbers of  licensees or                                                              
MS. CURTIS noted  the audit also discussed Board  composition. All                                                              
occupations  that  are  licensed  by  the  Board  are  represented                                                              
except  for the  landscape  architect. They  interviewed  7 of  10                                                              
Board  members about  that  issue and  found  that all  7 were  in                                                              
support of making the landscape architect position permanent.                                                                   
CHAIR COSTELLO asked how many members are on the Board.                                                                         
MS. CURTIS said 10.                                                                                                             
CHAIR COSTELLO asked if the even number of members is a problem.                                                                
MS. CURTIS said they  did not have an opinion on  that and did not                                                              
come out  with a recommendation.  She said  it was a  policy call.                                                              
She explained the reasons for interviewing 7 members.                                                                           
1:46:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER  referred  to page 7  of the  audit and  asked for                                                              
examples  of other  revenue sources.  She also  asked whether  the                                                              
fluctuation  in spending is  related to  the number of  complaints                                                              
that are investigated.                                                                                                          
MS. CURTIS  said they did  not have an  explanation for  the other                                                              
fund  sources;  that  information   comes  from  the  agency.  The                                                              
fluctuation  is  mainly  in  the area  of  services  under  direct                                                              
expenditures.  The agency  may be  able to  answer that  question,                                                              
she said.                                                                                                                       
1:47:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  asked if  Legislative Audit  recommended an  8-year                                                              
extension because they are comfortable with the Board.                                                                          
MS. CURTIS answered yes.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  MEYER  asked   about  a  concern  on   page  4  regarding                                                              
registrants completing continuing education.                                                                                    
MS. CURTIS  said it is  not a concern now  due to a  new licensing                                                              
system that includes continuing education documentation.                                                                        
1:49:20 PM                                                                                                                    
ALYSIA JONES, Executive  Administrator, Board of  Registration for                                                              
Architects,   Engineers,   and   Land   Surveyors,   Division   of                                                              
Corporations, Businesses,  and Professional Licensing,  Department                                                              
of   Commerce,  Community   and   Economic  Development   (DCCED),                                                              
introduced herself.                                                                                                             
SARA  CHAMBERS,  Operations  Manager,  Division  of  Corporations,                                                              
Businesses,  and Professional Licensing,  Department of  Commerce,                                                              
Community and Economic Development (DCCED), introduced herself.                                                                 
SENATOR MEYER questioned the $1.6 million surplus.                                                                              
1:50:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CHAMBERS explained  that all  fees paid  by registrants  stay                                                              
with their  boards. An annual  review is  done to adjust  the fees                                                              
for the  next biannual renewal.  They try  to keep the  fees level                                                              
to limit investigative costs.                                                                                                   
1:52:05 PM                                                                                                                  
SENATOR MEYER asked for examples of typical complaints.                                                                         
MS.  CHAMBERS  shared  several examples,  such  as  violations  of                                                              
licensing laws and the use of an inappropriate person for a job.                                                                
1:53:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  JONES  listed  several  other   examples,  such  as  building                                                              
violations, or unlicensed persons.                                                                                              
SENATOR  MEYER  asked if  it  is a  serious  offense  if a  person                                                              
claims to be a professional engineer (PE) and is not.                                                                           
MS. JONES said yes.                                                                                                             
1:54:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  said PEs  are paying for  the cost of  investigation                                                              
of those who claim  to be a PE and are not. She  asked if there is                                                              
a way to recoup those costs.                                                                                                    
MS.  CHAMBERS replied  that  there is  no  provision currently  in                                                              
statute to recoup those costs.                                                                                                  
1:55:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER  referred to  page 7,  income licensing  fees, and                                                              
asked what the other sources of income are.                                                                                     
1:55:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CHAMBERS   explained  that   those  are  third-party   travel                                                              
reimbursements  for  associations   that  fund  travel  for  Board                                                              
members   and  staff   to  maintain   their   education  and   for                                                              
collaboration with other state boards.                                                                                          
She said the  latest financial information through the  end of the                                                              
second  quarter of  this fiscal  year lists the  Board surplus  as                                                              
$1.1 million.                                                                                                                   
1:56:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony on HB 48.                                                                                
1:56:24 PM                                                                                                                  
COLIN  MAYNARD, PE,  SE, Alaska  Board  of Architects,  Engineers,                                                              
and Land Surveyors,  said he has  been on the Board the  last five                                                              
years  and  served  as  chair during  the  audit.  The  Board  was                                                              
pleased with  the audit  results. He  discussed the resolution  of                                                              
the  continuing  education issue.  He  described  an incident  ten                                                              
years ago  regarding internet renewals  that caused a  surplus and                                                              
another example that caused a deficit.                                                                                          
CHAIR  COSTELLO  noted  that the  audit  suggested  an  eight-year                                                              
extension  and  posited that  it  may  indicate that  the  concern                                                              
about fluctuating fees has been addressed.                                                                                      
2:00:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHELLE  ALPERS, Landscape  Architect,  Engineering Public  Works                                                              
Department,   City  and   Borough   of  Juneau,   Member,   Alaska                                                              
Professional Design  Council stated  support for the  provision in                                                              
SB 48  to make the  seat on the  Board for landscape  architects a                                                              
permanent voting position.                                                                                                      
2:02:31 PM                                                                                                                  
CHAIR  COSTELLO  closed  public   testimony  and  held  HB  48  in                                                              
committee for further consideration.                                                                                            

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