Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/18/1994 01:30 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HOUSE BILL NO. 409                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to the  maximum amount of  assistance                 
       that may be  granted under the adult  public assistance                 
       program  and  the  program  of  aid  to  families  with                 
       dependent children; proposing  a special  demonstration                 
       project  within  the program  of  aid to  families with                 
       dependent  children  and  directing the  Department  of                 
       Health and  Social Services  to seek  waivers from  the                 
       federal  government  to  implement  the  project;   and                 
       providing for an effective date."                                       
                                                                               
  MARK GREENBERG, CENTER FOR LAW AND SOCIAL POLICY, WASHINGTON                 
  D.C.  spoke in  support of  three features  of the  proposed                 
  demonstration project:                                                       
                                                                               
       *    An  increase  in  work  incentives  for  Aide   to                 
            Families  with  Dependent  Children (AFDC)  family                 
            members;                                                           
                                                                               
       *    The waiver of  the 100  hour rule, that  currently                 
            disqualifies two parent families with a  full time                 
            worker regardless of the family's income's; and                    
                                                                               
       *    Waivers  of  vehicle  equity   which  disqualifies                 
            families who own a single  vehicle worth more than                 
            $2,500.                                                            
                                                                               
  Mr.  Greenberg  discussed  the  workfare  requirement.    He                 
  emphasized that running a workfare program costs money.   He                 
  asserted that evidence implies that workfare programs do not                 
  dramatically  raise employment.   He  questioned if  funding                 
  would be better spent to improve job programs.                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Greenberg questioned the  equality of reducing  payments                 
  to all AFDC  and Adult Public Assistance (APA) recipients in                 
  order to fund a program available to a few.                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  asked if  federal welfare  reform will                 
  include  waivers  allowed  for in  HB  409.    Mr. Greenberg                 
  pointed  out  that   the  federal  administration  has   not                 
  introduced  legislation.   He observed  that  federal policy                 
  encourages state  reform but  requires programs  to be  cost                 
  neutral to the federal government.                                           
                                                                               
  HB 409 was HELD in Committee for further discussion.                         
  HOUSE BILL NO. 409                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to the  maximum amount of  assistance                 
       that may be  granted under the adult  public assistance                 
       program  and  the  program  of  aid  to  families  with                 
       dependent children; proposing  a special  demonstration                 
       project  within  the program  of  aid to  families with                 
       dependent  children  and  directing  the Department  of                 
       Health and  Social Services  to seek  waivers from  the                 
       federal  government  to   implement  the  project;  and                 
       providing for an effective date."                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Therriault provided  members with AMENDMENT 1                 
  (copy  on   file).     He  MOVED   to  ADOPT  AMENDMENT   1.                 
  Representative   Grussendorf   OBJECTED.      Representative                 
  Therriault  explained  that  Amendment  1  would  allow  the                 
  Fairbanks  North   Star  Borough   to  participate   in  the                 
  demonstration  project.    He maintained  that  the  cost of                 
  including Fairbanks  in the  demonstration project  will not                 
  exceed revenues anticipated to be raised by the legislation.                 
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE spoke in opposition to Amendment 1.                 
  He expressed concern that the workfare will not be effective                 
  in  achieving  the desired  goal.    He suggested  that  the                 
  workfare program will not result  in the gain of  marketable                 
  jobs.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley disagreed  that workfare programs will                 
  not encourage marketable job skills.                                         
                                                                               
  Members   discussed  the   introduction  of   House  Finance                 
  Committee legislation.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative  Therriault noted  support of  individuals in                 
  his  district for Amendment 1 to HB  409.  He clarified that                 
  Fairbanks cannot  be included  in the demonstration  project                 
  without the adoption of Amendment 1.                                         
                                                                               
                                                                               
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  A roll call vote was taken on  the motion to ADOPT AMENDMENT                 
  1                                                                            
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Foster,  Hanley,   Martin,  Parnell,   Therriault,                 
                 MacLean, Larson                                               
  OPPOSED:  Brown, Grussendorf, Hoffman                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre was not present for the vote.                         
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (8-3).                                                     
                                                                               
  JAN  HANSEN,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION  OF  MEDICAL  ASSISTANCE,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH  AND SOCIAL SERVICES observed  that the                 
  adoption  of Amendment  1  would increase  the  cost of  the                 
  legislation by $300.0  thousand dollars annually in  FY 95 -                 
  99.                                                                          
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-69, Side 1)                                             
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 2 (copy                 
  on file).   She  MOVED to  AMEND Amendment  2 by  including,                 
  Amendment to Amendment  1 (copy  on file).   There being  NO                 
  OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Brown explained that Amendment 2 would create                 
  the Healthy Families Program.  She stressed that the program                 
  would address a number  of social problems.  She  noted that                 
  section  5 would provide that  the program is funded through                 
  the ratable reductions in  AFDC and APA.  She  observed that                 
  the sponsor may not support funding the  program through the                 
  ratable reduction.                                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  asserted that  the program  should be                 
  reviewed by the House Health,  Education and Social Services                 
  Committee.    Representative  Brown  noted  that  the  House                 
  Health, Education  and Social Services Committee declined to                 
  entertain  amendments  while  the  bill  was   before  their                 
  Committee.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley did not feel that the program could be                 
  funded at this time.   Representative Brown MOVED to  delete                 
  section 5, Funding Intent, from AMENDMENT 2.  There being NO                 
  OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  WITHDREW AMENDMENT  2.   She expressed                 
  her intention to offer Amendment 2 at another time.                          
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre MOVED to add a new paragraph to read,                 
  "(4)  an  area  consisting  of  a  home rule  city  that  is                 
  contained within the  boundaries of  a second class  borough                 
  located on a peninsula within  a hundred miles of Anchorage,                 
  with a population of  65,000 persons or more and  the second                 
                                                                               
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  class borough described in this paragraph."                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre WITHDREW his MOTION.                                  
                                                                               
  Co-Chair MacLean provided members with  AMENDMENT 3 (copy on                 
  file).  She explained that Amendment 3 would allow the North                 
  Slope Borough to participate in the demonstration project.                   
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley spoke  in support of Amendment 3.   He                 
  noted that the  Department of Health and Social Services has                 
  decided to allow all persons in rural areas to participate.                  
                                                                               
  There being NO OBJECTION, AMENDMENT 3 was adopted.                           
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre  asked if  the amendments adopted  by                 
  the Committee would  necessitate an increase in  the ratable                 
  reduction.   Representative Hanley  stated that  Amendment 3                 
  would  not result in  an increase  to the  fiscal note.   He                 
  reiterated  that  Amendment 1  will  not  result  in  a  net                 
  increase in the ratable reduction.                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 4 (copy                 
  on file).  She  explained that Amendment 4 would  delete the                 
  ratable reduction  to Adult  Public Assistance  (APA).   She                 
  argued that the  majority of APA  recipients are elderly  or                 
  disabled persons.  She questioned if APA benefits  should be                 
  reduced in  order to  fund the demonstration  project.   She                 
  pointed out that  the APA clinet group is not  in a position                 
  to benefit  from the  results of  the demonstration  project                 
  since they are unlikely to return to the work force.                         
                                                                               
  Representative Brice  spoke in support  of Amendment 4.   He                 
  raised  the issue of  equality.    He did not  feel that APA                 
  clients should be asked  to pay for a program that  will not                 
  benefit them.  Representative Brown MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT                 
  4.                                                                           
                                                                               
  In response to a question by Co-Chair Larson, Representative                 
  Hanley observed that APA payments are  at 110 percent of the                 
  poverty  level, AFDC  payments  are  at  74 percent  of  the                 
  poverty level.  He  explained that the Department of  Health                 
  and Social Services did not want the discrepancy between the                 
  two recipients to increase.   He acknowledge that  the there                 
  are inequities in the legislation.                                           
                                                                               
  Ms.  Hansen  reiterated that  the  Department of  Health and                 
  Social Services  desires that  any reduction  be across  the                 
  board.   She noted  that there  is a  disparity between  the                 
  level of payments for AFDC and APA.                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Brown emphasized that there is  little chance                 
  that clients served  by APA will  be able to  return to  the                 
                                                                               
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  work force.  She noted that APA clients are unable to work.                  
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown suggested  that the  program could  be                 
  funded  without  the inclusion  of  APA.   Members discussed                 
  anticipated   revenues.      Ms.  Hansen   noted   that   an                 
  appropriation from the legislature is  needed to fund FY 95.                 
  She acknowledged that the ratable reduction  is in excess of                 
  what is  need in  FY 95.   She  reiterated the  Department's                 
  position to  maintain an  across the board  reduction.   She                 
  clarified  that  APA  clients are  living  outside  of state                 
  institutions.                                                                
                                                                               
  Representative  Hanley OBJECTED to the adoption of AMENDMENT                 
  4.  A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown, Grussendorf, Hoffman, Navarre, Larson                       
  OPPOSED:  Hanley, Martin, Parnell, Therriault, MacLean                       
                                                                               
  Representative Foster was not present for the vote.                          
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (5-5).                                                     
                                                                               
  HB 409 was HELD in Committee for further discussion.                         

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