Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/09/2003 02:10 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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.                                                                                                      

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