Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/28/1999 08:30 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
CS FOR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 11(FIN)                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Urging the Congress of the United States to provide                                                                             
federal education funds as a block grant to the state.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVE DONLEY, testified in support of SJR 11.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senate Joint Resolution 11 is a Senate Finance                                                                                  
Committee resolution. It urges Congress to provide                                                                              
federal education funds as block grants to the state of                                                                         
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senate Joint Resolution 11 encourages Congress to give                                                                          
the State of Alaska greater control over the education                                                                          
funds provided by the federal government.  By taking                                                                            
control of funds from an agency thousands of miles away                                                                         
and placing the disbursement responsibility in the                                                                              
hands of the state and communities the funding will                                                                             
directly impact, the money will be put to its most                                                                              
appropriate use.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Currently, the federal government provides funding for                                                                          
education that is specifically earmarked for education                                                                          
programs within the state.  SJR 11 will encourage                                                                               
Congress to instead disburse the money in the form of a                                                                         
block grant, as they do with welfare funding, directly                                                                          
to the State of Alaska.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senate Joint Resolution 11 will give the state                                                                                  
flexibility to maximum the use of federal education                                                                             
funds. In the 105th Congress, the House of                                                                                      
Representatives passed HR 3248, which would have                                                                                
created an education block grant system.                                                                                        
Unfortunately, the bill did not pass the Senate.                                                                                
Congress is considering a similar resolution in the                                                                             
106th Congress.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault asked if there is new money coming from                                                                     
Congress or would existing programs be appropriated as a                                                                        
block grant. Senator Donley stated that a battle is being                                                                       
waged in Congress regarding an increase in funding. He noted                                                                    
that the legislation does not take a position on additional                                                                     
funds. The legislation requests that the system of federal                                                                      
education appropriation, with dozens of specifically                                                                            
delineated federal programs and individual requirements be                                                                      
merged into a single block grant.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde asked what other states support a single                                                                       
block grant system. Senator Donley stated that many states                                                                      
are supporting this system.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault asked if the Conference of Governor's                                                                       
had taken a position. Senator Donley did not know if the                                                                        
Conference of Governor's had taken a position on the issue.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that there is a zero fiscal                                                                     
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde MOVED to report CSSJR 11 (FIN) out of                                                                          
Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO                                                                     
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CSSJR 11 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do                                                                         
pass" recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the                                                                         
Senate Finance Committee.                                                                                                       

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