Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

04/03/2018 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSSSB 76(L&C) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 205(L&C) Out of Committee
        SB 205-TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATION/EXEMPTIONS                                                                     
1:35:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO announced  the consideration of SB  205. She noted                                                               
that  public testimony  had  opened and  closed.  She stated  the                                                               
intention  to move  the  bill after  Ms.  O'Connor addresses  the                                                               
issues that were brought up yesterday.                                                                                          
1:36:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTINE   O'CONNER,   Executive    Director,   Alaska   Telecom                                                               
Association (ATA),  Anchorage, Alaska,  said she  appreciates the                                                               
opportunity to answer  the questions that came  up yesterday. She                                                               
noted  that audio  difficulties yesterday  prevented the  members                                                               
from hearing her responses.                                                                                                     
She  discussed  the  three  broad   questions  that  were  raised                                                               
yesterday.  The first  was what  happens if  the carrier  of last                                                               
resort decides not to serve an  area. She cited a current example                                                               
that  demonstrates  the  thorough public  interest  process  that                                                               
exists today and will remain in  place should the bill pass. That                                                               
carrier followed the  federal process and notified  the FCC about                                                               
what is happening in that area.  Under the state process, the RCA                                                               
has  sent a  letter to  the FCC  citing the  authority of  public                                                               
convenience  and  necessity  to  require a  carrier  to  serve  a                                                               
certain area.  That authority  may also  be cited  to discontinue                                                               
service.  She said  that  is the  certificate  authority ATA  has                                                               
talked  about during  the last  several hearings.  The RCA  has a                                                               
strong  public interest  authority  today and  will maintain  it,                                                               
regardless of the outcome of SB 205.                                                                                            
The second issue  that was raised related to  the RCA's statutory                                                               
authority to  arbitrate disputes between carriers  about how they                                                               
connect  their  networks  and  the   terms  and  rates  of  those                                                               
agreements. SB 205 does not change that statute.                                                                                
MS.  O'CONNER said  she  appreciates Mr.  Parish  [with the  RCA]                                                               
noting that the  budget changes proposed in the  CS regarding the                                                               
regulatory cost charge add fairness back into the system.                                                                       
The  third  question related  to  reporting.  She said  the  bill                                                               
proposes  a  simple change  to  ensure  that  the detail  in  the                                                               
current  RCA annual  reports will  continue. She  assured members                                                               
that this  change is not intended  to add a legal  billing system                                                               
to the RCA.                                                                                                                     
MS.  O'CONNOR   said  she  had   not  been  able  to   meet  with                                                               
Commissioner McAlpine,  [chair of  the RCA]  to discuss  the bill                                                               
due to  his busy schedule. However,  SB 205 was drafted  based on                                                               
public statements  by RCA commissioners  over the past  two years                                                               
that it was a  waste of resources for the RCA to  review a lot of                                                               
the   currently   required   filings  and   reports.   The   bill                                                               
deliberately  eliminates many  of  those filings  and reports  in                                                               
direct response  to the RCA  concerns. She noted that  the Alaska                                                               
Universal Service  Fund was not  included in the bill  because it                                                               
was  already being  evaluated and  updated  by the  RCA. ATA  was                                                               
participating in the round of comments due on the AUSF today.                                                                   
She  summarized  that SB  205  eliminates  wasted effort  by  the                                                               
industry  and the  RCA and  preserves the  RCA's existing  public                                                               
oversight role.                                                                                                                 
1:41:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO thanked  Ms.  O'Connor for  coming  to Juneau  to                                                               
respond in person to some of the concerns raised yesterday.                                                                     
1:41:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE said  his  only concern  was  rate changes  and                                                               
those were no longer part of  the bill. He opined that that issue                                                               
will entail  a longer  conversation than there  is time  for this                                                               
SENATOR MEYER asked for confirmation  that ATA represents all the                                                               
telephone companies in the state.                                                                                               
MS.  O'CONNOR  replied ATA  represents  all  the phone  companies                                                               
except the small Circle Telephone Company.                                                                                      
SENATOR MEYER  noted that the  RCA testified  that the CS  was an                                                               
improvement,  but they  did not  state support  for the  bill. He                                                               
asked what could be done to gain their support.                                                                                 
MS.  O'CONNOR said  she didn't  know what  other changes  the RCA                                                               
would  find  beneficial since  the  bill  was drafted  in  direct                                                               
response  to their  concerns stated  on the  public record.  This                                                               
legislation  leaves  the  RCA   ample  authority  to  investigate                                                               
companies to protect the public  interest, it has multiple layers                                                               
of annual  reporting on  services, and  it says  what the  use of                                                               
federal and  state universal  service funds  are. She  noted that                                                               
the  RCA  has  stated  it  needs to  eliminate  a  lot  of  their                                                               
regulations that have become obsolete.                                                                                          
1:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER moved to report the  CS for SB 205, version U, from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
1:44:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO  found no objection  and CSSB 205(L&C)  moved from                                                               
the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB76 Comparison of Other States Brewery and Sampling Laws.pdf SL&C 4/3/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 76
SB76 Distillery Tasting Rooms State Comaprison.pdf SL&C 4/3/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 76
SB76 Existing AS 04.21.025(e) .pdf SL&C 4/3/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 76
SB 76 Amendment T.4.pdf SL&C 4/3/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 76
SB 76 Amendment T.5.pdf SL&C 4/3/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 76
SB76 Explanation of Amendments 4.2.2018.pdf SL&C 4/3/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 76