Legislature(1995 - 1996)
01/31/1995 05:05 PM WTR
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Number 024 HB 83 - REVIEW OF FEDERALLY MANDATED PROGRAMS REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN, sponsor of the measure, stated that HB 83 is a companion to HJR 8 and articulates that the citizens of Alaska stand against further attempts, by the federal government, to encroach upon our autonomy and rights as a state under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It requires that any commissioner or agency head faced with implementing a federal mandate or condition must first carefully analyze the mandate for three specific difficulties before making any efforts at compliance. First, is the federal policy or legislation an unconstitutional abrogation of state power? Second, is it in conflict with state policy? And third, is the federal mandate a cost effective method in this of dealing with the problem it addresses. Representative Ogan said the agency head or commissioner will present his findings in the form of a written report to the Governor, the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The two legislative committees receiving such reports shall review them and are authorized to research the legality of the mandate. Their conclusions shall be presented to the Governor, along with specific recommendations to the executive branch for compliance, modified compliance, or a legal challenge. He said that the resolution provides a mechanism to scrutinize efforts by the federal government to impose unsuitable policy on our state, and to assert our right to self-determination, a right purchased for us at high cost by our ancestors. REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS arrived at 5:09 p.m. Number 070 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE inquired as to foreseen legal problems by not enacting federal mandates and what kind of money we would lose by not implementing some of these mandates. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN responded by saying that he did not believe that there was an analysis done. The federal government has imposed some 192 mandates on our state. He stated that over a nine year period, environmental unfunded federal mandates have cost the Municipality of Anchorage nearly one-half billion dollars. Number 114 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked why are we doing this if the federal government is not going to give us the money. For instance, if we don't adhere to the federal mandates in the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that we've got the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) managing and different problems there. He said he would like to look at Medicaid and the other programs that have financial impact that affect us. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he believes the bill would bring those sort of problems to the forefront. Currently, there's no modality to set up and analyze any of this. He says that he's sure that the federal government will take the loose funding for refusing to do a mandate into consideration. The federal government has the option to implement the mandate. Number 140 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS stated that he's not aware of any federal mandate that the state has to spend money on. The state can reject any of them. There are several requirements that we are given as a time frame to implement, such as the "helmet law" last year. We had so (X-number of) many years to implement to it or lose a percentage of those federal dollars that would not be able to be spent on highway construction. The U.S. Senate just passed SB 1, which was their response to unfunded mandates and the House has a similar bill to be out soon. He believes there are some technical and legal questions that come up with this legislation. Number 173 REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS responded by saying that she doesn't believe the state has an option on mandates that come down dealing with public education or special education. We have to handle those regardless. REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE inquired if the bill was necessary or if the Administration has the ability to do this or if we have to give statutory authority to the Administration to use federal mandates. CHAIRMAN BARNES said if the Administration were able to do this, surely they would have. Number 190 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN says the federal government routinely "blackmails" us. It's a form of taxation that the federal government wants to pass a program, but they don't want to fund it, so they say that the states have to do this otherwise if we don't do it, we'll be blackmailed and they will withhold funds for this program or that program. REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA stated that the legislature is just as guilty as the federal government by requiring cities to do things, whether its senior citizen tax rebates we don't fund or whether its telling school districts to teach something else and then don't fund them or whether its telling each department to make out another report, even though they put out a zero fiscal note. I can tell you there's a cost to it and it coming out of somebody's budget. Every time we pass a law and direct anybody in the state, we are really doing the same thing. Number 230 JOHN B. `JACK' COGHILL, Consultant, Coghill, Wilcox and Associates, says the bill relieves the policy maker, which is the legislature, in directing the Administration and the people within the agencies to give a report so that the legislature can act accordingly. It puts lawmakers right in the driver's seat. This issue has been around at least since 1981, and this is the first time he's seen anyone focus on it to the point where we'll be able to do something about it. ROBERT SCHMACHER, testifying from the Mat-Su Borough, said the bill is something that the Alaska Independence Party has talked about many times. He said as an individual he feels the bill is a very important issue for the committee to consider. He urged that the bill be moved in its current form. Number 290 GENE OTTENSTROER, testified, via teleconference, from Delta Junction. He said he feels in general it's a good bill. As the bottom line, he was concerned about how much freedom we would have to give up. SCOTT HAMANN, Alaskan Bikers Advocating Training and Education (ABATE), testified, via teleconference, from Kenai. He said he supports the bill but, addressed the problem of implementing the mandate first and then having review after the year's done. We need to have a vehicle, in place, to review the program before the mandate is in place to see if we want the program. GARY SUPERMAN, testifying via teleconference from Kenai, said he's surprised at the number of Tenth Amendment resolutions and bills that have cropped up. He said he questions about the legislative review being to open ended. He would like the legislature to incorporate the bill with that of the Senate bill in Colorado. Number 351 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS pointed out that if there was one thing that people were talking about during this past interim around the Kenai Peninsula, it was the legislature taking action on this type of legislation. She said she appreciates very much the input from the general public during the interim. MIKE SEAMAN, testifying via teleconference from Kenai, said he thinks a bill is needed, but was hesitant to say whether this was the right way to go. SEYMOUR MILLS, testifying via teleconference from Kenai, felt that any bill that passes out would need a review to check to see that it fits under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, before anything ever happens. If it doesn't fit, then it should be rejected. JACK KREINHEDER, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of the Governor, said although he had not been informed about a position pro or con of the Knowles Administration, he talked with Pat Pourchot, Legislative Liaison, who said that the Governor certainly supported the intent of these measures with more flexibility to deal with our unique circumstances. The Administration has some concern about the requirement to review. He said apparently every federal program has this requirement and that the Administration's position is that it may be better to concentrate our resources on the programs that are identified by the legislature and the Administration, as the ones with the biggest fiscal impacts or that present the biggest problems to the state rather running through the whole laundry list of programs, some of which may not present a problem. Number 425 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE made a motion to move Amendment 1, which was offered by Representative Ogan. On page 2, lines 13 through 15, delete "The commissioner of each department or head of another agency in the Executive Branch shall annually review each program administered by that department or agency. Insert, "The Office of Management and Budget shall annually review each program administered by each department or agency of the Executive Branch." On page 2, line 16, delete "The commissioner or agency head," and insert "The Office of Management and Budget." On page 2, line 19, delete "commissioner or agency head" and insert "Office of Management and Budget." On page 3, line 18, following "governor," insert "and the Alaska Congressional delegation." MR. KREINHEDER, OMB, said he feels that on the surface, he sees no problem with the amendment and that in concept, it makes sense to let more than one agency do the review. Number 455 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant, Department of Health and Social Services, admits to being a guilty party of high fiscal notes. The department is subject to federal mandates and it will need additional resources as to what programs they need to look at if OMB is going to be directing. CHAIRMAN BARNES asked for a roll call on the amendment. Representatives Mackie, Kubina, Williams, Davis, Mulder, Phillips, and Barns all voted in favor of the adoption of Amendment 1. It passed unanimously. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS made a motion to move CSHB 83(WTR) out of committee with individual recommendations. CHAIRMAN BARNES asked if there was an objection. Hearing none, the motion passed. REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE was excused from the meeting.