Legislature(1995 - 1996)
01/26/1995 03:35 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SSTA - 1/26/95 SB 19 LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS TO BE IN ANCHORAGE Number 368 SENATOR SHARP brings up SB 19 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and calls the first witness. Number 373 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS, prime sponsor of SB 19, states SB 19 relates only to the legislature convening during regular session in Anchorage instead of in Juneau, and is not an entire capital move. SB 19 complies with the FRANK (Fiscally Responsible Alaskans Needing Knowledge) Initiative. Should this pass, the legislature will begin meeting in Anchorage in January, 1998. Those are the main components of this bill. Number 386 CHUCK ACHBERGER, Juneau Chamber of Commerce, asks that Juneau be given some time to work on being a better capital city. Some of the problems that need work, such as housing, require a long-term investment. Juneau is on the right track, but needs time to respond to the problems it has. Number 402 JAMIE PARSONS, Former Chairman, Alaska Committee, states he is opposed to SB 19. Collectively, Alaskans voted against the Capital Move Initiative this fall. Recently, The Alaska Committee and the Better Capital City Committee met and agreed to merge into one organization with the mission of following up and seeing to fruition issues which will make state government work better for all Alaskans. Mr. Parsons requests that the Nineteenth Alaska State Legislature give Juneau a few years of uninterrupted breathing room to allow the community to address some of these issues: housing, land and air access, and electronic and telecommunications access. To solve these problems, the community and the legislature will need to work jointly. MR. PARSONS thinks there are more pressing problems the state should be dealing with at this time. The last issue the state needs at this time is one that pits different regions of the state against one another. Number 432 SENATOR LEMAN adds that the previous several speakers hit upon two problems that are also of concern to him. A third problem he is concerned with is transportation to Juneau. Senator Leman states that at this time transportation is as good as it has ever been, but he asks Mr. Parsons what plans there are to help ensure that good, competitively priced transportation will continue to be available. Number 445 MR. PARSONS replies that the Global Positioning System (GPS) will eliminate at least 80% of weather interrupted arrivals and departures. The Alaska Committee has been working with Alaska Airlines on airfares and flight schedules, and will continue to do so. A representative from Alaska Airlines will be in town next week to meet with the Alaska Committee/Better Capital City Committee. The airfares now are very good. We have recently been made aware that the Alaska Airlines flight schedule is not as convenient for the legislature this year. We contacted the airline, and as of February 1, the schedule will be changed for the legislature's convenience. Number 465 CHARLES NORTHRIP, Director, Juneau Economic Development Council (JEDC) and The Southeast Alaska Small Business Development Center, states that many of the businesses he works with are engaged in the housing industry. Mr. Northrip states that measures like SB 19 make providing housing much more difficult, in that every time the capital move issue comes up, it dampens housing development. MR. NORTHRIP also states there is a possibility that the GPS being installed at the airport may increase competition by attracting more air carriers to Juneau. Since the GPS will decrease the incidence of flights being weathered in or out of Juneau, each of which costs approximately $10,000, Juneau will become a more attractive destination for air carriers. MR. NORTHRIP states the JEDC is working with building contractors, the City & Borough of Juneau, banks, and realtors, and making housing its' top priority. Number 513 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS states that two-thirds of his constituents want to move not only the legislature, but the whole capital. Senator Phillips believes citizen access is a real problem which Juneau needs to address. Number 532 CHIP WAGONER thinks, in regards to Senator Phillips concern about access to the capital city, Juneau's delegation in the legislature would vote for a road out of Juneau, a communications system, and a computer system. Mr. Wagoner thinks Juneau will support access issues if other members of the legislature will. Mr. Wagoner says he is speaking as a republican and wants the republican majority to succeed. However, he does not want the legislature wasting their time on a capital move bill. He wants the legislature to be promoting timber, logging, mining development, fishing, supporting the University of Alaska deferred maintenance program, and perhaps working on a food bank for Juneau. Bigger issues, even to people in Eagle River, are crime, budgetary problems, lack of development, lawsuits with the federal government, the subsistence issue, reallocation of resources, etcetera. Mr. Wagoner restates he wants the republican majority to succeed, and concentrate with the limited time and funds available on the issues that count to Alaskans. Number 560 SENATOR LEMAN asks Mr. Wagoner if he has seen the "Contract with Alaska". MR. WAGONER responds he has not seen it, but he has heard of it. SENATOR LEMAN asks Mr. Wagoner to take a look at the contract and get back to him with comments he might have. Number 570 BRAD PIERCE, Policy Analyst, Office of Management & Budget, informs the committee he put together the consolidated fiscal note for SB 19. Although OMB took a fresh look at this issue, and did not simply pull information from previous fiscal notes, the cost figure is in the same ballpark as last year. The estimated figure would be about 2.6 million per year. Mr. Pierce also informs members that a revised fiscal note from the Division of Postsecondary Education has been submitted to the committee. TAPE 95-1, SIDE B Number 580 CHAIRMAN SHARP notes that SB 19 has considerable fiscal notes, which will be scrutinized in detail in the next committee of referral, the Finance Committee. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS makes a motion to discharge SB 19 from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. Number 565 SENATOR DUNCAN objects. Senator Duncan states he wants to go on record as objecting, and that he will recommend "do not pass" on the committee report. With that statement, he removes his objection. Number 525 CHAIRMAN SHARP comments there is considerable difference between the ballot question that was decided this fall and SB 19, and the discussion is healthy. But he also has constituents who complain about accessing the capital. Senator Sharp does not know how one would solve that problem in a state as big as Alaska, or whether it is solvable. Senator Sharp notes that he has been fortunate in the six years he has been in Juneau in that he has never had a problem acquiring adequate housing; nor has he had a problem with travelling into or out of Juneau. Number 512 SENATOR LEMAN adds that he has found the people of Juneau to be very hospitable. Since the capital move issue has reemerged, he has noticed an increased attention to detail. However, he has noticed frustration on the part of people that government is inaccessible to the people. Senator Leman suggests perhaps having all day hearings around the state: bringing the legislature to the people. Number 487 SENATOR DUNCAN thinks Senator Leman's suggestion is a good one, and that a change in the Uniform Rules would be needed in order to do something like that. Senator Duncan says he would be happy to work on doing that. He would certainly advocate holding meetings around the state. Number 481 SENATOR LEMAN comments he went with Representative Mackie and a group of people to Prince of Wales Island. That was a big deal to the residents of the island. We had a public forum, they got a chance to express their concerns, and the people really seemed to appreciate it. Number 473 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection or further comments, orders SB 19 released from committee with individual recommendations.