Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/02/1994 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 409 - AFDC DEMO PROJECT AND DECREASE Number 713 CHAIR TOOHEY indicated that there were questions that remained unanswered from the last meeting. REP. G. DAVIS said he was comfortable with the bill and that all of his prior concerns had been successfully addressed. REP. BRICE indicated that at the end of the meeting on March 28, 1994, Rep. B. Davis had asked for figures to be worked out regarding a lower ratable reduction. He said it was his understanding that Rep. B. Davis' concerns were going to be addressed before the bill was to be moved out of committee. He asked if there were any answers to Rep. B. Davis' concerns. CHAIR TOOHEY said, to her knowledge, they had not been answered. She said it was her intent to pass the bill out, as the committee was unsure as to how long it would be before Rep. B. Davis returned to Juneau. Rep. B. Davis was in Anchorage seeking medical treatment. Number 760 REP. BRICE further indicated that he had submitted a list of 20 questions to a subcommittee hearing and had not received a reply. CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Rep. Mark Hanley had addressed the list of questions for Rep. Brice. REP. BRICE maintained that he submitted a list to both the prime sponsor and to the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and still had not received a response. REP. G. DAVIS, as chairman of the subcommittee, stated that he did not recall seeing a specific list of questions. He said he certainly was not denying that the list was submitted. He referred to the ratable reductions, stating that he had concerns also that perhaps there could be other avenues of funding. He said after researching the issue further, he found no other way to generate the needed funding and indicated his acceptance to the proposal. REP. HANLEY said that he received a copy of the list and said, "I don't know how you want to respond, but some of the questions were: What does it cost to implement the federal waivers? What does it cost to administer a demonstration project over the life of the project...cost ratios, cost benefit study? There isn't a cost benefit study, but the fiscal note answers about half of the questions that are on here." Number 800 REP. BRICE said there were about six or seven serious policy questions that were left unanswered. CHAIR TOOHEY said, "Excuse me, Rep. Brice, had you checked with the sponsor before that?" REP. BRICE said that he had been in contact with Rep. Hanley. REP. HANLEY indicated that he had a copy of the questions. CHAIR TOOHEY asked Rep. Hanley if he was able to answer any of Rep. Brice's questions. REP. HANLEY said, "We talked to the office, but..." CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was anyone from the DHSS in the audience. She then asked Rep. Hanley to respond before she heard testimony from Jan Hansen. REP. HANLEY said that he drafted an amendment that would address the aforementioned concerns. He said the bill already establishes that if the federal government does not approve some of the waivers, it has the ability to determine whether the project should be implemented. He further stated that the proposal states that the DHSS shall apply for and implement the waivers that relate to the parts of the project that are not substantially affected by the change in federal statutes or regulations. He maintained that if there are changes in federal regulations, the DHSS would have the ability to discontinue the operation of the project. Number 845 REP. BRICE asked, if the project were to be discontinued, would the ratable return to the original rate? REP. HANLEY said no. REP. BRICE clarified that even if the demonstration is not being done, the ratable would not go back to the original rate. REP. HANLEY said no. REP. BRICE made a motion to amend the amendment to reflect that if the DHSS does not do the demonstration project, that the ratable would be reimplemented to the original level. REP. BUNDE objected and offered that even with the ratable reduction, "...Alaska is the highest welfare rate in the nation." Number 871 REP. NICHOLIA said, "Bettye (Rep. B. Davis) asked specifically for the department to draw up the numbers... possibly at a 7% ratable to make the program more cost neutral and less of an impact on the AFDC recipients. That's what she specifically asked for." CHAIR TOOHEY called for the vote to amend HB 409 as amended. The motion was made to bring the ratable back to its original rate if the waiver is not implemented. Reps. Nicholia and Brice voted Yea; Reps. Toohey, Bunde, Gary Davis, Vezey, and Olberg voted Nay. Chair Toohey declared that the motion failed. She then asked if the amendment proposed by Rep. Hanley had been adopted. It had not been adopted. She asked for a motion. Number 903 REP. BUNDE made a motion to adopt the amendment for HB 409. CHAIR TOOHEY, hearing no objections, said the amendment had been adopted. REP. NICHOLIA referred to her earlier question as to whether Rep. Bettye Davis' concerns were going to be addressed. She asked for an answer. Number 912 REP. HANLEY said that the DHSS would be able to figure out a ratable reduction. He said he was unable to render those figures. CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Rep. B. Davis' request was made during the teleconference meeting on February 28, 1994. REP. BRICE said yes, "asking for the .7 numbers...on the APA." Number 924 JAN HANSEN, Director, Division of Public Assistance, Department of Health and Social Services, answered questions on HB 409. She stated that the current percentage on the fiscal analysis was 1.7%. She then estimated that at .9 the numbers would be about half of any of the figures listed. She said that .7 of 1.7% would be about 45% of the figures shown on the fiscal analysis. She stated that the numbers were ball park figures. Number 944 REP. NICHOLIA stated that it was her feeling that if Rep. B. Davis requested those figures, they should have been written up instead of giving "ball park figures" for answers. CHAIR TOOHEY said, "I would move that if Rep. Davis would like that information, she can get it through Finance." She then asked for further questions. Number 962 REP. BRICE said, "Considering that there's roughly 18,600 people... that are due back child support... that are also on AFDC in the state, I would kindly submit that we look at possibly including some amendments to include some of the child support enforcement legislation that we've been talking about; namely, for those employers who intentionally hide the fact that their employee is in arrears to child support." Number 979 CHAIR TOOHEY said, "Rep. Brice, you are off the subject of this. There is a bill before us... or there was a bill..." REP. BRICE said, "Yes, but I've got an amendment that I would like to propose." CHAIR TOOHEY said, "I would like to know the wish of the committee -- if we want to take to another amendment or if we want to continue and pass this bill on." REP. BUNDE made a motion to pass HB 409 out of committee. REP. BRICE said, "Out of order. Point of order. No. We were not told that this bill was going to come up until just this morning. There was no discussion as to whether it would... my understanding is... me and Irene left the room after adjournment, Monday morning, then there was a discussion. There was no attempt to contact our offices... so where we could be in contact with the sponsor of the legislation to address certain questions that we have not been allowed access to through the subcommittee or through the past hearing." Number 000 CHAIR TOOHEY interjected and said, "The subcommittee was open to the public." REP. BRICE said, "Not according to your very words, Madam Chair. You said it did not concern the matters of Fairbanks, and that's why I was not chosen to sit on it." CHAIR TOOHEY said, "And Rep. Davis was, as a voting member, not as a member of the committee." REP. BRICE said, "And, she's been sick." CHAIR TOOHEY said, "That's right, not as a member... excuse me. You were here at the committee meeting, and I believe you were too." She indicated that Rep. Nicholia was in attendance also. REP. BRICE said, "Not when it was announced that you'd bring it back up on Wednesday." CHAIR TOOHEY said, "That's right..." She then asked the pleasure of the committee. Number 017 REP. BUNDE made a motion to pass HB 409 out of committee. REP. NICHOLIA said, "Before you make any moves here, I would like to say something. I think that this bill here is a little early, Rep. Hanley. I think that you're going to be tying up people for five years when there's other welfare reform coming from President Clinton. We haven't seen it. We haven't been in touch with our Congressman to see what's in that package. And, I just think that this is just too early for us. You said at the beginning, when you first introduced it, that it was just a proposal, and so here we are having a bill in front of us... I just think that it's not going to do us any good right now. I think it's just too early." Number 036 REP. BUNDE stated that he had a motion on the floor. REP. BRICE objected. CHAIR TOOHEY called for the vote. Reps. Bunde, Gary Davis, Vezey, Kott, Olberg, and Toohey voted Yea and Reps. Nicholia and Brice voted Nay. Chair Toohey declared that HB 409 was so moved.