Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/22/1993 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
           HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                        February 22, 1993                                      
                            3:00 p.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
  Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair                                                
  Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair                                                     
  Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair                                                  
  Rep. Al Vezey                                                                
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Rep. Harley Olberg                                                           
  Rep. Bettye Davis                                                            
  Rep. Tom Brice                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  Rep. Irene Nicholia, excused                                                 
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  *HB 67:   "An Act relating to eligibility for and payments                   
            of public assistance; and providing for an                         
            effective date."                                                   
                                                                               
            HEARD AND HELD OVER TO A TIME CERTAIN                              
                                                                               
  HB 66:    "An Act relating to municipal property tax                         
            exemptions for certain residences and to property                  
            tax equivalency payments for certain residents;                    
            and providing for an effective date."                              
                                                                               
            NOT HEARD                                                          
                                                                               
  HB 30:    "An Act amending the definition of `municipality'                  
            for purposes of the human services community                       
            matching grant program."                                           
                                                                               
            NOT HEARD                                                          
                                                                               
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
  PATRICK CUNNINGHAM, Board member                                             
  National Association of Social Workers, Alaska Chapter                       
  Department of Social Work                                                    
  University of Alaska-Anchorage                                               
  Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 786-1725                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  JAN HENSEN, Director                                                         
  Division of Public Assistance                                                
  Department of Health and Social Services                                     
  P.O. Box 110640                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-0640                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-2680                                                       
  Position Statement:  Gave presentation on HB 67                              
                                                                               
  CHARLES WHEATON                                                              
  P.O. Box 21662                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-2794                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  THERESA BELL                                                                 
  P.O. Box 022471                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                         
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  JAMES E. FISHER                                                              
  633 Harris                                                                   
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-9601                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  RANDI SMITH, Administrative Assistant                                        
  Women's Resource and Crisis Center                                           
  325 S. Spruce                                                                
  Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                          
  Phone:  (907) 283-9479                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  ANN DOOLEY                                                                   
  Women's Resource and Crisis Center                                           
  325 S. Spruce                                                                
  Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                          
  Phone:  (907) 283-9479                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  MARIANNE KERR                                                                
  Abused Women's Aid in Crisis                                                 
  100 W. 13th                                                                  
  Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 279-9581                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  GLENDA STRAUBE                                                               
  1318 N St.                                                                   
  Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 278-0840                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  RUTH LISTER                                                                  
  Interior Alaska Women's Political Caucus                                     
  1290 Jones Road                                                              
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 455-6886                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  DEE DEE OLSEN                                                                
  126 Second Ave.                                                              
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 456-1837                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  BISHOP MICHAEL KENNY                                                         
  Diocese of Juneau                                                            
  Catholic Community Service                                                   
  419 Sixth St.                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-2227                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  CAREN ROBINSON                                                               
  League of Women Voters                                                       
  P.O. Box 33702                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99803                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-1107                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  DEVRA DYNES                                                                  
  916 23rd Ave.                                                                
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 456-7260                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  ROBIN WICKHAM                                                                
  Access Alaska                                                                
  150 Cornell Way                                                              
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 479-7940                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  JIM CALDAROLA, Director                                                      
  Catholic Social Services                                                     
  225 Cordova St.                                                              
  Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 277-2554                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  PUDGE KLEINKAUF                                                              
  4201 MacInnes                                                                
  Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 561-7113                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  CINDY SMITH, Executive Director                                              
  Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault                       
  419 Sixth St. #116                                                           
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-3650                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  MELISSA CARROLL                                                              
  P.O. Box 240293                                                              
  Douglas, Alaska 99824                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 364-2210 home                                                  
  Phone:  (907) 586-5718 school                                                
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  KAREN McCULLOUGH                                                             
  P.O. Box 707                                                                 
  Petersburg, Alaska 99833                                                     
  Phone:  (907) 772-9238 home                                                  
  Phone:  (907) 772-4751 work                                                  
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  VIRGINIA OLSEN                                                               
  213 Dunkel St.                                                               
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 452-2857                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  MEG GAYDOSIK, Board Member                                                   
  American Association of University Women                                     
  1024 Fifth Ave.                                                              
  Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                     
  Phone:  (907) 456-8389                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  BARBARA BENNETT                                                              
  Bean's Cafe                                                                  
  P.O. Box 100940                                                              
  Anchorage, Alaska 99510                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 274-9595                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  SUE OLIPHANT                                                                 
  2155 Fritz Cove Rd.                                                          
  Juneau, Alaska                                                               
  Phone:  (907) 789-1384 home                                                  
  Phone:  (907) 364-3174 work                                                  
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  DARRYL GUTHRIE                                                               
  Tlingit-Haida Central Council                                                
  401 Eighth St. #207                                                          
  Juneau, Alaska                                                               
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  MARY LOU CANNEY                                                              
  1441 22nd Ave.                                                               
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 452-4666                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  LOUISE CHARLES                                                               
  JOBS Program Coordinator                                                     
  Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                     
  122 First Ave.                                                               
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 452-8251                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  JUDY BUSH                                                                    
  Alaska Legal Services                                                        
  763 Seventh Ave.                                                             
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 452-5181                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  JOAN MARIE AMES                                                              
  2008 Sandvik Rd.                                                             
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 474-9680                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
  SHERRIE GOLL, Lobbyist                                                       
  Alaska Women's Lobby; KIDPAC                                                 
  P.O. Box 22156                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 463-6744                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 67                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB  67                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: ELIGIBILITY FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE                               
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                 
  TITLE: "An Act relating to eligibility for and payments of                   
  public assistance; and providing for an effective date."                     
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/15/93        86    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/15/93        86    (H)   HEALTH, EDUCATION &                              
                              SS,JUDICIARY,FINANCE                             
  01/15/93        86    (H)   -6 FNS (6-DHSS)  1/15/93                         
  01/15/93        86    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                    
  02/10/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  02/10/93              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  02/22/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB  66                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS                               
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                 
  TITLE: "An Act relating to municipal property tax exemptions                 
  for certain residences and to property tax equivalency                       
  payments for certain residents; and providing for an                         
  effective date."                                                             
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/15/93        84    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/15/93        84    (H)   CRA, HEALTH,EDUCATION&SS,                        
                              FINANCE                                          
  01/15/93        84    (H)   -3 ZERO FNS (2-DCRA, ADM)                        
                              1/15/93                                          
  01/15/93        84    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                    
  02/09/93              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                      
  02/09/93              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                      
  02/10/93       286    (H)   CRA RPT  CS(CRA)  3DP 3DNP 1NR                   
  02/10/93       286    (H)   DP: OLBERG, BUNDE, TOOHEY                        
  02/10/93       286    (H)   DNP: DAVIES, WILLIAMS, WILLIS                    
  02/10/93       286    (H)   NR:  SANDERS                                     
  02/10/93       286    (H)   -3 PREVIOUS ZERO                                 
                              FNS(DCRA,DCRA,ADM) 1/15                          
  02/22/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB  30                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: HUMAN SERVICES MATCHING GRANTS                                  
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BRICE,Sitton,Therriault,                       
  Davies,James                                                                 
  TITLE: "An Act amending the definition of `municipality' for                 
  purposes of the human services community matching grant                      
  program."                                                                    
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/04/93        32    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                 
  01/11/93        32    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/11/93        32    (H)   CRA, HES, FINANCE                                
  01/15/93        92    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): DAVIES, JAMES                      
  02/09/93              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                      
  02/09/93              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                      
  02/10/93       284    (H)   CRA RPT  CS(CRA) 5DP  2NR                        
  02/10/93       284    (H)   DP: BUNDE,DAVIES,WILLIS,                         
                              TOOHEY,OLBERG                                    
  02/10/93       284    (H)   NR: SANDERS, WILLIAMS                            
  02/10/93       284    (H)   -2 ZERO FNS (DCRA, DHSS) 2/10/93                 
  02/10/93       285    (H)   REFERRED TO HES                                  
  02/22/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-18, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY called the meeting to order at 3:08                     
  p.m., noted members present, announced the calendar, and                     
  announced that the hearing was being teleconferenced.                        
  HB 67:  ELIGIBILITY FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE                                    
                                                                               
  Number 047                                                                   
                                                                               
  PATRICK CUNNINGHAM, BOARD MEMBER, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF                    
  SOCIAL WORKERS, ALASKA CHAPTER, testified against HB 67,                     
  saying it would cut the money given to families on Aid to                    
  Families with Dependent Children (ADFC).  He said it was                     
  hard to see how lowering the benefits would meet the act's                   
  aim to provide reasonable subsistence compatible with                        
  decency and health.  The bill would increase poverty rather                  
  than reduce it, he said, which was the same thing as doing                   
  violence to children.  He said the bill would affect about                   
  20,000 children.  While the state could save money by                        
  cutting grants, Mr. Cunningham said, it could also encourage                 
  self-sufficiency through the JOBS program, or through                        
  waivers of federal limits on assets and transportation for                   
  those on welfare.  He said AFDC staffers should take early                   
  steps to encourage recipients to find work.                                  
                                                                               
  Number 155                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY invited Jan Hensen to testify on behalf of                      
  HB 67.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 158                                                                   
                                                                               
  JAN HENSEN, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE,                         
  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, testified in                       
  support of HB 67.  She listed several important provisions                   
  affecting ADFC and Adult Public Assistance (APA).  (Ms.                      
  Hansen made a detailed presentation to the committee on                      
  January 25, 1993, and minutes from that presentation are on                  
  file in the committee room.)  She said HB 67 would make the                  
  following changes in the AFDC program:  suspend a scheduled                  
  cost of living allowance (COLA) in FY94; cut the benefit                     
  rates to January 1991 levels; equalize the benefits to                       
  families of different sizes; and make technical adjustments                  
  to the program's "Adult not Included" provisions.  She said                  
  HB 67 would make the following changes in the APA program:                   
  suspend a COLA scheduled to take effect in January 1994; cut                 
  benefits to the 1990 levels; and adjust administration of                    
  retroactive interim assistance program payments.                             
                                                                               
  Number 250                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked whether APA assists the aged, blind and                     
  disabled.                                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. HENSEN answered yes.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 270                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHARLES WHEATON, whose wife receives AFDC benefits and who                   
  participates in the unemployed parent program, testified in                  
  Juneau against HB 67, explaining how it's reduction in                       
  benefits would hurt him.  His unemployment benefits are                      
  deducted from his wife's AFDC benefits, and are further                      
  reduced by $200 in monthly child support for children from a                 
  previous marriage, he said.  His five-member family received                 
  $130 this month in food stamps.  He said he is trying to                     
  work himself out of a $30,000 child support debt after a                     
  being released from prison, and has paid $6,000 in two                       
  years.  He stated his wife declined AFDC benefits because                    
  the family could not survive on their benefits, and further                  
  cuts would be even more harmful to his family.  (His written                 
  testimony is on file in the committee room.)                                 
                                                                               
  Number 305                                                                   
                                                                               
  THERESA BELL, a welfare recipient, testified in Juneau in                    
  opposition to HB 67.  She presented a budget of her basic                    
  monthly household expenses of $784, and said HB 67 would                     
  reduce her welfare benefits to $746, below her basic                         
  survival needs, even considering that she lives in                           
  government low-income housing.  She said the cuts will be                    
  stressful on single-parent families.                                         
                                                                               
  Number 348                                                                   
                                                                               
  JAMES FISHER testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67,                     
  saying state money is available for welfare programs and                     
  welfare programs should get money from recent out-of-court                   
  settlements and other sources so as to avoid harm to the                     
  23,000 children in Alaska who benefit from welfare programs.                 
  (His written testimony is on file in the committee room.)                    
                                                                               
  Number 373                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease, lasting less than one                   
  minute, to ask about teleconference sites.                                   
                                                                               
  RANDI SMITH, AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT AT THE WOMEN'S                      
  RESOURCE AND CRISIS CENTER IN KENAI, testified from Kenai                    
  opposing HB 67.  She said high housing costs already make it                 
  difficult to survive on welfare benefits, and reducing                       
  benefits would reduce the ability of women to survive on                     
  welfare, forcing them to remain in physically abusive                        
  relationships or emergency shelters.  She said such cuts                     
  would not save the state money, but would cost more in                       
  emergency assistance.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 404                                                                   
                                                                               
  ANN DOOLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE WOMEN'S RESOURCE AND                   
  CRISIS CENTER, testified from Kenai opposing HB 67.  She                     
  said many of her clients are refugees from physical or                       
  sexual violence who depend on welfare benefits to establish                  
  fear-free lifestyles.  Cuts in welfare would end up costing                  
  the state more for emergency shelters.  She said the                         
  legislature should cut the state budget elsewhere first.                     
                                                                               
  Number 425                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARIANNE KERR, representing ABUSED WOMEN'S AID IN CRISIS,                    
  testified from Anchorage that she opposed HB 67.  She said                   
  the state should not balance the budget on the backs of                      
  children, who can least afford it.  She said rising rents                    
  and decreasing welfare benefits will squeeze people into                     
  dangerous circumstances.  She encouraged capping other state                 
  entitlement programs.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 444                                                                   
                                                                               
  GLENDA STRAUBE testified from Anchorage in opposition to                     
  HB 67.  She said it is too easy for the legislature to cut                   
  programs for the poor, who are not politically active and                    
  whose dependence draws public resentment.  She said the lack                 
  of funds for job training programs ensured continue                          
  dependence in women who wanted to get off welfare.  She said                 
  many welfare recipients cannot afford the state's high                       
  rents, and said 28 percent of poor Alaskans receive low-                     
  income housing assistance.  She said money distributed in                    
  human services circulates through the state's economy, and                   
  cutting the money does not make sense.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 470                                                                   
                                                                               
  RUTH LISTER, representing the INTERIOR ALASKA WOMEN'S                        
  POLITICAL CAUCUS, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to                  
  HB 67.  She said she met with welfare recipients as director                 
  of the Alaska Women's Commission, and many of them are                       
  barely surviving difficult circumstances.  She said barriers                 
  to self-sufficiency include:  lack of reliable                               
  transportation; children with special needs; chronic health                  
  problems; and lack of training for good-paying jobs                          
  providing health benefits.  She said job training programs                   
  were better ways of encouraging self-sufficiency than the                    
  proposed gaps between benefits and earnings caps.  She said                  
  80 percent of women on AFDC have been victims of rape and                    
  domestic violence and cutting AFDC was violence against                      
  children.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 500                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEE DEE OLSEN testified from Fairbanks in opposition to                      
  HB 67.  She said cutting AFDC would force recipients to drop                 
  insurance or lose utility service.  Public assistance is a                   
  lengthy, dehumanizing process that strips people of hope and                 
  self-worth, she said.  She said single parents would be hurt                 
  most, and she asked legislators not to ignore welfare                        
  recipients, but to give them enough to live with dignity.                    
  (Her written testimony is on file in the committee room.)                    
                                                                               
  Number 524                                                                   
                                                                               
  BISHOP MICHAEL KENNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP FOR THE DIOCESE                  
  OF JUNEAU, and PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF CATHOLIC COMMUNITY                  
  SERVICE, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67.  He                     
  read from a prepared statement, saying that cutting welfare                  
  benefits would reflect poorly on Alaska society's morals.                    
  He said the poor do not have a voice and rely more on the                    
  legislature's compassion than do those who have a louder                     
  voice in the budget-writing process.  He noted recent                        
  attention to the ethics displayed by members of the                          
  legislature.  (His written testimony is on file in the                       
  committee room.)                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 550                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY interrupted and asked Bishop Kenny to limit his                 
  comments to the bill at hand.                                                
                                                                               
  BISHOP KENNY assented and concluded by saying that as a                      
  society is judged by how it treats the least fortunate, a                    
  bill that reduces welfare benefits to the poor has serious                   
  moral implications.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 560                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease and returned the meeting                 
  to order one minute later.                                                   
                                                                               
  (Rep. Bunde arrived at 3:45 p.m.)                                            
                                                                               
  Number 565                                                                   
                                                                               
  CAREN ROBINSON, REPRESENTING THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS,                     
  testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67.  She gave each                   
  committee member $792 in play money, and encouraged them to                  
  "spend" it for their own expenses in the next two weeks and                  
  see how far welfare benefits go in providing for housing,                    
  food, utilities, transportation and other necessities of                     
  life.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 600                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEVRA DYNES, a mother of four receiving welfare benefits,                    
  testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67, saying that                 
  the money she receives ($1,160 from AFDC and $200 in food                    
  stamps each month) is inadequate for the family needs she                    
  detailed, let alone small extras such as clothing, even                      
  though she economizes vigorously and is working part time.                   
  She asked committee members to try living on AFDC benefits                   
  for six months before voting to lower the benefits.                          
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-18, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  ROBIN WICKHAM, representing ACCESS ALASKA, testified from                    
  Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67, saying the benefit level                   
  is already too low.  She said higher national taxes,                         
  combined with decreased charitable donations, will limit                     
  resources for the needy.  She asked the committee not to                     
  decrease public assistance benefits.  (Her written testimony                 
  is on file in the committee room.)                                           
                                                                               
  Number 077                                                                   
                                                                               
  JIM CALDAROLA, DIRECTOR, CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES, testified                 
  from Anchorage in opposition to HB 67.  He agreed with                       
  Bishop Kenny that the state budget needs to be balanced, but                 
  welfare programs should be the last to be cut.  By cutting                   
  COLA from welfare programs, they are retained for other                      
  government programs and employees and it is not fair, he                     
  said.  He stated that such reductions are not morally                        
  correct and reflect poorly on society.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 106                                                                   
                                                                               
  PUDGE KLEINKAUF testified from Anchorage in opposition to                    
  HB 67.  She outlined the reductions for certain levels of                    
  benefits, and said that the proposed monthly reduction in                    
  benefits for a family is less than the per diem allowance                    
  paid to state employees.  She said stepping up enforcement                   
  of child support orders would help reduce the numbers of                     
  families on AFDC in Alaska.  She suggested the state give                    
  those on public assistance priority status in hiring for                     
  state jobs, and give tax breaks to businesses that hire                      
  those on public assistance.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 175                                                                   
                                                                               
  CINDY SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALASKA NETWORK ON DOMESTIC                  
  VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, testified in Juneau in                          
  opposition to HB 67.  She said the network opposes the bill                  
  because it would endanger victims of domestic violence by                    
  forcing them to either remain in an emergency shelter or                     
  return to an abusive relationship.  She said the bill would                  
  not save money.  While the poor might delay some                             
  expenditures, in a few months they would sink under the                      
  expenses of living, causing them to seek help at emergency                   
  shelters and food banks at the state's expense.  Benefit                     
  cuts would leave children hungry and unable to learn in                      
  school, would lead to increased loan defaults, and other                     
  social ills.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 220                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked Ms. Smith whether a $50 increase in                         
  benefits would eliminate the wide range of social problems                   
  that she said a $50 cut in benefits would bring.                             
                                                                               
  MS. SMITH responded that inhumane actions were not                           
  attributable solely to circumstances, but she did say it is                  
  harder to be safe if you are poor.  She noted that welfare                   
  benefits provide a living at only 70 percent to 80 percent                   
  of federal poverty standards, a condition which contributes                  
  to social tensions and problems.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 245                                                                   
                                                                               
  MELISSA CARROLL, a single parent with two children receiving                 
  AFDC, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67.  She said                  
  she was in a 15-week training program through the JOBS                       
  program.  She said the cutbacks will hurt children as well                   
  as parents.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 262                                                                   
                                                                               
  KAREN McCULLOUGH testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67,                 
  saying it would hurt communities.  She stated rural                          
  communities have difficulty in getting the resources to move                 
  families from welfare to work, as most desire to do.  She                    
  acknowledged the budget needs to be cut, but said it is not                  
  fair to cut COLA for welfare recipients while the cost of                    
  living is rising, and when charities are harder pressed to                   
  provide relief services.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 288                                                                   
                                                                               
  VIRGINIA OLSEN testified from Fairbanks in opposition to                     
  HB 67.  She said single welfare recipients are allowed $125                  
  per month for rent.  As a disabled person, she receives                      
  $2,916 each year, covering rent and food.  She suggested a                   
  few program changes, including changing the monthly                          
  application requirements for different welfare programs and                  
  allowing them to reapply every three months or six months if                 
  their situations did not change.  She said the savings in                    
  staff time would lower case costs.                                           
                                                                               
  MEG GAYDOSIK, STATE PUBLIC POLICY CHAIR FOR THE AMERICAN                     
  ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN, testified from Fairbanks in                 
  opposition to HB 67.  She encouraged the legislature to be                   
  informed by a recent article on welfare in Alaska Economic                   
  Trends.  She cited the state's entitlement programs and low                  
  tax structure.  She chastised the commissioner of Health and                 
  Social Services, Ted Mala, for transferring $90,000 in                       
  program budgets to cover travel and public relations                         
  expenses.  (Her written testimony is on file in the                          
  committee room.)                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 372                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said HB 67 was not the administration's only                      
  effort to cut the budget.  He asked if Ms. Gaydosik knew the                 
  10-15 year average of how long people remain on welfare.                     
                                                                               
  MS. GAYDOSIK cited the Alaska Economic Trends article, which                 
  said from 1984 to 1991, 67 percent of AFDC recipients got                    
  benefits for less than two years.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 385                                                                   
                                                                               
  BARBARA BENNETT, SOCIAL SERVICES COORDINATOR FOR BEAN'S                      
  CAFE, testified from Anchorage in opposition to HB 67,                       
  saying it would increase the number of people seeking meals                  
  at Bean's.  She asked how much of Alaska's budget is spent                   
  on welfare.  She said waiting lists for subsidized housing                   
  push many single welfare recipients to eat at Bean's.  She                   
  asked the legislature for more public housing, especially if                 
  the legislature cuts other welfare benefits.  She echoed                     
  another witness' concerns that higher taxes would cut                        
  charitable contributions and further erode support for the                   
  poor.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 420                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY invited Ms. Bennett to restate her question on                  
  AFDC and APA as a percentage of the state budget, and the                    
  proposed percentage change.                                                  
                                                                               
  MS. HENSEN said she did not have an answer.                                  
                                                                               
  Number 425                                                                   
                                                                               
  SHERRIE GOLL, A LOBBYIST WITH THE ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY AND                   
  KIDPAC, said she could answer the question.  She stated 4.2                  
  percent of Alaska's general fund operating expenditures went                 
  for public assistance programs, including administrative                     
  costs.                                                                       
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease at 4:24 p.m. and called                  
  the meeting back to order at 4:27 p.m.  Rep. Bunde and Rep.                  
  Kott did not return to the meeting.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 457                                                                   
                                                                               
  SUE OLIPHANT, SUPERVISING HEAD START TEACHER IN DOUGLAS,                     
  testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67.  She said those                  
  welfare recipients involved in the Head Start program break                  
  down into three groups:  those on AFDC who are too troubled                  
  to help themselves; those who are working out their                          
  substance abuse problems and other problems; and those who                   
  have already dug themselves out and may be in school.  She                   
  said cutting back benefits poses the danger of pushing such                  
  people back into distress and discouragement, both economic                  
  and emotional.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 480                                                                   
                                                                               
  DARRYL GUTHRIE, OF THE TLINGIT-HAIDA CENTRAL COUNCIL,                        
  testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67.  He said he has                  
  a caseload of about 6,000 people in Southeast Alaska who                     
  receive General Assistance, a benefit program for those                      
  ineligible for AFDC.  He said people needing public                          
  assistance often suffer from other social, medical and                       
  emotional problems, and cutbacks in financial benefits might                 
  increase the caseload.  He urged legislators to have empathy                 
  for those receiving public assistance.                                       
                                                                               
  (Rep. Olberg departed at 4:32 p.m.)                                          
                                                                               
  Number 520                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARY LOU CANNEY, PRESIDENT OF A RESIDENT COUNCIL FOR A                       
  PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECT, testified from Fairbanks in                          
  opposition to HB 67.  She said public housing is scarce,                     
  with a waiting list of 1,000 people at her project, many                     
  with special needs.                                                          
                                                                               
  (Rep. Bunde returned at 4:34 p.m. and Rep. Kott returned at                  
  4:34 p.m.)                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. CANNEY said lowering welfare benefits would hurt                         
  recipients' quality of life and reduce incentive and                         
  security.  She said public assistance programs provide for                   
  no extras, and she predicted that children would suffer from                 
  the cuts.  Without permanent fund dividends, many families                   
  could not provide warm clothing and other necessities for                    
  their children.  She said children are the most vulnerable                   
  to violence, which is exacerbated by shortage of resources.                  
                                                                               
  Number 556                                                                   
                                                                               
  LOUISE CHARLES, JOBS PROGRAM COORDINATOR FOR THE TANANA                      
  CHIEFS CONFERENCE, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to                 
  HB 67.  She said the JOBS program works in 43 villages in                    
  the Doyon Region and eight villages in the Arctic Slope                      
  Regional Corp. area, helping welfare recipients learn job                    
  skills that can wean them from welfare.  She said the                        
  legislature needs to consider that benefit cuts hit Bush                     
  residents harder than urban residents.  She stated AFDC                      
  recipients need every penny, and some even move to urban                     
  areas where the JOBS program is better able to teach them                    
  job skills.  Cutting welfare benefits might make it                          
  impossible for people to spend the money necessary to take                   
  part in the JOBS program in an attempt to find employment.                   
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-19, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  JUDY BUSH, ALASKA LEGAL SERVICES, testified in Fairbanks in                  
  opposition to HB 67.  She noted that AFDC benefits provide                   
  70 percent of the federal poverty rate for some recipients.                  
  She asked where the bottom of the social safety net lies.                    
  She stated that without public housing many recipients                       
  cannot survive.  She said that AFDC recipients need a                        
  certain amount of financial stability so they can move                       
  forward toward independence, and lowering benefits could                     
  keep some recipients perpetually in crisis, unable to leave                  
  the welfare rolls.  She said that the interim assistance                     
  payment of $280 per month for those awaiting a federal                       
  determination of disability is insufficient for living                       
  expenses, and she decried the planned changes in that                        
  benefit program.  She said people rely on the retroactive                    
  benefits to pay back loans taken out during the interim.                     
                                                                               
  Number 101                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOAN MARIE AMES, a disabled person, testified from Fairbanks                 
  in opposition to HB 67.  She said she is able to survive                     
  only because the state subsidizes the $939 rent on her                       
  apartment.  She said if the benefit rates are cut, people                    
  will move into homeless shelters.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 135                                                                   
                                                                               
  SHERRIE GOLL, A LOBBYIST FOR ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY and                        
  KIDPAC, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67.  She                     
  encouraged committee members to study the projected savings                  
  from the cuts in HB 67.  She said the way to lower program                   
  costs is to lower the AFDC caseload and put the savings into                 
  the JOBS program.  She also suggested increasing enforcement                 
  of child support orders.                                                     
                                                                               
  There being no further witnesses wishing to testify on the                   
  bill, CHAIR TOOHEY ended public testimony on HB 67.                          
                                                                               
  Number 193                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. GARY DAVIS lamented that the budget needed to be cut,                   
  and said that the committee had been presented an                            
  opportunity for savings.  He said the committee had heard                    
  lots of thought-provoking testimony on the bill, but said                    
  that the legislature would hear protests from someone no                     
  matter where they proposed cuts.  He suggested that the                      
  testimony could point the way to adjustments in the bill,                    
  and said he wanted to hear more about the original purpose                   
  behind the bill and about ways to allow welfare recipients                   
  to work and keep more of their money.  He said he would not                  
  want to see the bill moved from committee without more work                  
  and possible improvement.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 235                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked if he could offer an amendment.                             
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY said it would be best to put the bill aside                     
  until it could be scheduled for another meeting, at which                    
  time they can address Rep. Davis' comments, and any other                    
  concerns or amendments committee members might want to make.                 
  Rep. Toohey called a brief at-ease at 4:53 p.m., and                         
  returned the meeting to order at 4:53 p.m.  She announced                    
  that HB 67 would be held over until Thursday, February 25,                   
  1993.                                                                        
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:55 p.m.                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects