Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHCR 12(CRA) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 189(CRA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HCR 12-LEG TASK FORCE ON RURAL SUSTAINABILITY                                                                                 
8:56:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OLSON announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION NO.  12, Relating  to the  Joint                                                               
Rural Assessment Task Force.                                                                                                    
8:56:59 AM                                                                                                                    
KACI  SCHROEDER,  Staff  to  Representative  Bill  Thomas,  House                                                               
Community and  Regional Affairs Standing Committee,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, highlighted the state  of the communities in Alaska.                                                               
Communities throughout  the state are becoming  unable to provide                                                               
services for  residents or are  shutting down completely.   While                                                               
revenue in these communities is  declining, the cost of living is                                                               
rising.   Furthermore, many  of these  communities are  unable to                                                               
afford insurance,  which automatically makes them  ineligible for                                                               
much  state  and  federal  funding.   This  resolution,  HCR  12,                                                               
provides that  the Alaska State  Legislature, the  First Alaskans                                                               
Institute, and the Alaska Municipal  League will come together to                                                               
form a  task force, as  specified in  the resolution.   This task                                                               
force  will work  on  and address  issues  rural communities  are                                                               
facing.    First, there  will  be  a  community audit  and  needs                                                               
assessment.   Several  communities throughout  the state  will be                                                               
strategically selected  and studied in depth.   These communities                                                               
will  be selected  based  on  population, location,  organization                                                               
status, and whether  they receive federal funds.   The [community                                                               
audit and needs assessment] will  generate a report.  The report,                                                               
the   Rural   Energy   Action  Council's   Finding   and   Action                                                               
Recommendations, and the  Denali Commission's Five-Year Strategic                                                               
Plan  will be  used  to develop  legislative  findings and  draft                                                               
legislation to be proposed in  the next legislative session.  Ms.                                                               
Schroeder emphasized  that HCR 12  isn't an attempt  to side-step                                                               
already-introduced  legislation  addressing   problems  in  rural                                                               
communities.   Unfortunately,  many  of those  don't address  the                                                               
entire picture, and  therefore the desire is  for the legislature                                                               
to develop  a working plan  to solve as  many of the  problems in                                                               
rural Alaska as possible.                                                                                                       
8:59:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS moved that the  committee adopt CSHCR 12, Version                                                               
24-LS0964\F,  Cook,  4/27/05, as  the  working  document.   There                                                               
being no objection, Version F was before the committee.                                                                         
9:00:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS  said  that  he  has  four  communities  in  his                                                               
district that are suffering and  almost defunct, which relates to                                                               
his interest  in moving this  resolution along.   Furthermore, he                                                               
opined that it  is this committee's job to go  out and review the                                                               
situation   in    these   communities   and   come    back   with                                                               
recommendations.   He  noted that  the $14,000  fiscal note  will                                                               
require a House Finance Committee referral.                                                                                     
9:01:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  echoed  Co-Chair Thomas'  comments.    He                                                               
expressed  the need  to  address  the needs  of  the schools  and                                                               
determine how  to make them better  in rural areas.   He informed                                                               
the committee that 47.3 percent  of Alaska Natives are graduating                                                               
from high  school, which  needs to  be improved.   Representative                                                               
Neuman  announced  his  support  for  HCR  12,  and  related  his                                                               
willingness  to testify  in other  committees to  help move  this                                                               
resolution through the legislature.                                                                                             
9:03:00 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE  WASSERMAN,  Alaska  Municipal League  (AML),  highlighted                                                               
that "we"  have all  failed to  look at the  large picture.   For                                                               
example, remodels  of schools  in some  remote areas  are funded,                                                               
although  no  one takes  into  consideration  that the  community                                                               
can't provide  water or other  necessities.   Through discussions                                                               
with those interested, the conclusion  has been that there is the                                                               
need  to  look  at  the  large picture  and  the  ability  to  do                                                               
something, develop a plan, lays within the legislature.                                                                         
9:04:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  moved to  report  CSHCR  12, Version  24-                                                               
LS0964\F,  Cook,  4/27/05,  out   of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no  objection,   CSHCR  12(CRA)  was  reported   from  the  House                                                               
Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects