Legislature(2003 - 2004)
05/09/2003 02:10 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 5 Establishing a task force to make recommendations regarding a new design for the official seal of the State of Alaska. JOHN GREELY, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE REGGIE JOULE provided information on the bill. He explained that the oldest symbol in the state of Alaska was the official seal, created in 1910, before the state legislature was in existence. He referred to written testimony written by Representative Joule, outlining the history of the seal's creation and its symbolism. He noted that twelve other sponsors, along with Representative Joule, sponsored the bill. A task force would be formed to create a new design, which would ultimately be voted upon by the legislature. He pointed out that this was the second seal of the state of Alaska, the first one included native and natural symbols, which was then supplanted by the one created in 1910. He discussed cities and industries that are part of modern Alaska and not included in the seal. He pointed out that Governor Clark had dropped Alaska Natives from the seal in 1910. He suggested that the seal provided a learning opportunity for people of all ages, as well as symbolizing our dream for the future of the state of Alaska. Co-Chair Williams noted discussions regarding seeking funding for the $52 thousand fiscal note. Mr. Greely noted that Representative Joule had contacted a number of businesses to seek financial contributions for the cost of a task force, and noted that they had received good feedback. He pointed out that investors were hesitant until the wishes of the legislature are known. He explained that the task force would be a body of the legislature, although administered by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The task force includes members of the Alaska Historical Commission, as the Lieutenant Governor is the Chairman of this Commission. He concluded that the cost of the process might be offset, but maintained that the legislature should demonstrate their commitment to the project. Representative Berkowitz referred to the Alaska Humanities Forum and asked why they were no longer included. Mr. Greely noted that the Forum had asked to be excused from the actual task force due to other commitments, but offered ideas for grants to support the project. Co-Chair Harris observed that the task force included two members from the Department of Education and Early Development. Mr. Greely confirmed, in addition to two from the Alaska Historical Commission and two from the Alaska Heritage Center, there would be two from DEED. He explained that the Department of Education and Early Development would be brought into the process due to its potential benefit to school children. He pointed out the opportunity to involve children in the process, and to educate them on Alaska's history. He suggested a web site that children could access and submit their ideas. They believe the educational process is a vital component. Co-Chair Harris asked if the Pioneers of Alaska could take the two positions vacated by the Humanities Forum. Mr. Greely responded that this was a possibility if they were interested in participating. Representative Chenault pointed out an inconsistency in the language of the fiscal note, referring to the number of members on the task force. Mr. Greely explained that the task force had six members, without the two positions from the Humanities Forum. Co-Chair Williams suggested that seeking sponsorship might lower the fiscal note, while the state should retain some responsibility. Co-Chair Harris observed that some of the fiscal note pertained to staff and travel. He suggested that they change the Range 21 position to Range 18, and change the term to three months. Co-Chair Williams noted that in discussions with Representative Joule, the Sponsor had stated he'd like to achieve the entire $52 thousand. Mr. Greely acknowledged that lowering the fiscal note would set a parameter, and that $33 thousand might be achievable. Representative Hawker expressed his respect for the Sponsor and intention of the bill. He also noted his concern over adding even a small expenditure in a time when services were being cut. He suggested that finding an alternate funding mechanism would increase his support of the bill. He suggested that since it was an opportunity to recognize the Native community, regional corporations might be approached for funding. Mr. Greely confirmed that a major Native corporation expressed an interest in helping, and the First Alaskans Institute had committed help. The question is how much and when. He suggested that if the legislature approved the project with a minimum start up funding, it could more easily garner private funds. Co-Chair Williams reiterated that the fiscal note might read $33 thousand in general funds, and then specify "other funds" to meet the total. Mr. Greely noted that in order to pass the bill, Legislative Council staff time was added over and above the budget. Co-Chair Harris recommended that in order to acknowledge private funding the fiscal note be reconfigured. Co-Chair Williams stated he'd like to lower the general fund commitment to $33 thousand, with $20 thousand of "other funding", and work with the Department to adjust the fiscal note accordingly before taking action on the bill. Representative Berkowitz MOVED to Amend the bill to delete the Alaska Humanities Forum. There being NO OBJECTION, the Amendment was ADOPTED. Co-Chair Harris MOVED to Amend to add One Position for the Pioneers of Alaska to the task force. There being NO OBJECTION, the Amendment PASSED. Representative Foster MOVED to report CS HCR 5 (FIN) out of Committee with the accompanying AMENDED CONCEPTUAL fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CS HCR 5 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and one, amended fiscal note from the Department of Legislature.