Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

03/22/2021 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Scheduled but Not Heard
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled to 3/24/2021>
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
Moved CSSB 80(EDC) Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 10(EDC) Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
Moved CSSB 6(EDC) Out of Committee
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 3/24/2021>
        SB  10-FREE/REDUCED TUITION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKER                                                                    
9:05:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 10                                                                 
"An  Act establishing  a  grant program  to  provide to  essential                                                              
workers  the  tuition   and  fees  to  attend   a  state-supported                                                              
postsecondary  educational  institution."  He  noted there  was  a                                                              
committee substitute for SB 10. He asked for a motion.                                                                          
9:05:42 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  moved to adopt  the proposed committee  substitute                                                              
(CS) for SB 10, work order 32-LS0127\G, as the working document.                                                                
9:05:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                              
9:06:08 AM                                                                                                                    
ED KING, Staff,  Senator Roger Holland, Alaska  State Legislature,                                                              
Juneau,   Alaska,  explained   the   changes   in  the   committee                                                              
substitute for SB 10:                                                                                                           
     Change #1:                                                                                                                 
     On page 1,  line 8 of version A, the word  "undergraduate" is                                                              
     deleted  to  account  for  trade  school  students.  Graduate                                                              
     school is still disallowed  by subsection (a) paragraph (8).                                                               
MR. KING said change  #2 is a substantial change  that expands the                                                              
eligible  pool to  include  anyone who  was  laid off  due to  the                                                              
     Change #2:                                                                                                                 
     Subsection (a) paragraph (2) is adjusted to allow any                                                                      
     worker that was laid off to be eligible for a grant.                                                                       
          Version A:                                                                                                            
          (2) was employed as an essential worker in the state                                                                  
          when the federal government declared a public health                                                                  
          emergency on January 31, 2020, and                                                                                    
               (A)  maintains employment  as  an essential  worker                                                              
               for  the duration of  the public health  emergency;                                                              
               (B) was temporarily or permanently laid off;                                                                     
          Version G: (2) was,                                                                                                   
               (A)  employed as an  essential worker in  the state                                                              
               when  the  federal  government  declared  a  public                                                              
               health emergency on January 31, 2020; or                                                                         
               (B)  temporarily  or permanently  laid  off in  the                                                              
               state  as  a  direct   consequence  of  the  public                                                              
               health   emergency    declared   by   the   federal                                                              
               government on January 31, 2020;                                                                                  
MR. KING deferred to the sponsor to speak to change #3.                                                                         
SENATOR BEGICH asked his staff to explain the change #3.                                                                        
9:07:49 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
9:08:09 AM                                                                                                                    
LOKI TOBIN, Staff,  Senator Tom Begich, Alaska  State Legislature,                                                              
Juneau, Alaska,  said that this  change disqualifies  someone from                                                              
receiving  additional  funding once  the  person  has completed  a                                                              
     Change #3:                                                                                                                 
     Inserts   a  paragraph  (4)   under  subsection   (b),  which                                                              
     disqualifies  a student  from  additional  funding once  they                                                              
     complete the  curriculum, degree,  or program for  which they                                                              
     received a grant for the previous term.                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  added that  someone cannot use  four years  to get                                                              
two  different   degrees.  It   is  only   for  one  degree.   One                                                              
opportunity, essentially.                                                                                                       
MR. KING said  that change #4 changes the definition  of essential                                                              
workers.  Instead  of being  an  enumerated list,  the  definition                                                              
will be developed as described below.                                                                                           
     Change  #4:  A  new  subsection  is  added  under  section  1                                                              
     (subsection (e)  of version G), which directs  the commission                                                              
     on Postsecondary  Education to consult  with HSS and  use the                                                              
     Alaska    Essential   Services    and   Critical    Workforce                                                              
     Infrastructure  Order to  define an  "essential worker."  The                                                              
     definition  of "essential worker"  in version  A (on  page 3,                                                              
     lines 6-17) was deleted.                                                                                                   
     Change  #5:  The words  "or  private"  are deleted  from  the                                                              
     definitions of  "half-time" and "full-time" student  (page 3,                                                              
     lines  22  and 26  of  version  A), as  only  state-supported                                                              
     institutions are authorized by this bill (page 1, line 8).                                                                 
     Change  #6: Changes  to a hard  repeal date  of December  31,                                                              
     2025  (previously set  to expire  at the  end of the  federal                                                              
9:10:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLAND  removed  his objection.  There  being  no  further                                                              
objection, version G was before the committee.                                                                                  
SENATOR  HUGHES  pointed  out  with that  with  the  student  loan                                                              
program,  a   student  could  use   those  funds  for   a  private                                                              
institution. She asked why that is not allowed for this program.                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  said that the primary  reason is that  the student                                                              
loan program  is a  loan program.  Loans are  paid back.  They are                                                              
not  public money  to subsidize  private institutions.  This  is a                                                              
grant program.  It would violate  the constitution to  provide the                                                              
money with no element  to pay it back. His office  had to limit it                                                              
because of  the difference  between a loan  and grant.  His office                                                              
intended to apply  it to all institutions but  was told explicitly                                                              
by Legislative Legal that that could not be included.                                                                           
SENATOR  HUGHES  said  that  does  make sense.  She  does  have  a                                                              
problem  with the  bill. The  sponsor's  intent is  noble. She  is                                                              
grateful  that now  someone who  was not an  essential worker  but                                                              
became  unemployed  during  the  public health  emergency  is  now                                                              
eligible. She  still has  a problem  with those essential  workers                                                              
who worked the  entire time during the declaration  period vs. the                                                              
restaurant  worker  who  did  not  get  laid  off.  The  essential                                                              
workers  are eligible  for the  grant and  the restaurant  workers                                                              
who could  pull themselves up to  a better state are  not eligible                                                              
for this. She still finds a problem with that.                                                                                  
SENATOR  BEGICH said  that  his  office made  an  error about  the                                                              
report date on line  11 on page four. It should  read December 31,                                                              
2026. Otherwise,  the report  will be produced  the day  after the                                                              
grant program  ends. There must  be time to calculate  things like                                                              
whether people completed their degrees.                                                                                         
9:14:43 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
9:14:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND solicited a motion                                                                                                
9:15:27 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH offered  a conceptual amendment to line  11 on page                                                              
4 of  version  G, delete  "January 1,  2025" and  replace it  with                                                              
"December 31, 2026."                                                                                                            
9:15:48 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no objection, the conceptual amendment was adopted.                                                                 
SENATOR BEGICH thanked the chair for hearing the bill.                                                                          
SENATOR HUGHES  asked that since  the committee substitute  allows                                                              
someone who was  unemployed, temporarily or permanently  laid off,                                                              
who was  not an essential worker  to participate, should  the bill                                                              
title be  adjusted in  the next committee  of referral.  She loves                                                              
critical  workers, but  everyone  is critical  and essential.  She                                                              
would  be  more  apt to  vote  for  the  bill if  Section  A  were                                                              
removed. Someone who  was employed the whole time  vs. someone who                                                              
was  also employed  the whole  time but  low paid  should also  be                                                              
eligible. Emphasizing  those who were  laid off and were  hit hard                                                              
makes sense,  but also  rewarding those  who are critical  workers                                                              
but didn't  take  the kind  of hit others  took is  a problem  for                                                              
her. She  will be marking  to amend to take  out Section A  on the                                                              
bottom of page 1.                                                                                                               
CHAIR HOLLAND asked if Sana Efird had any comments.                                                                             
9:18:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SANA   EFIRD,    Executive   Director,   Alaska    Commission   on                                                              
Postsecondary  Education,  Juneau,   Alaska,  said  that  she  was                                                              
available for questions about the fiscal note.                                                                                  
9:18:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND solicited a motion.                                                                                               
9:18:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES moved  to report the proposed  committee substitute                                                              
(CS)  for SB  10,  work order  32-LS0127\G,  as  amended from  the                                                              
committee  with  individual recommendations  and  attached  fiscal                                                              
note(s). There  being no objection,  CSSB (10) EDC as  amended was                                                              
reported from the Senate Education Standing Committee                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSSB6 ver. B.pdf SEDC 3/22/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
SB 80 version B.pdf SEDC 3/22/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 80
SB 10 Committee Substitute (SEDC).pdf SEDC 3/22/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB 80 Explanation of Changes in version B.pdf SEDC 3/22/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 80
SB 6 Explanation of Changes in version B.pdf SEDC 3/22/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
SB 10 Explanation of Changes in version G.pdf SEDC 3/22/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 10