Legislature(2007 - 2008)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/12/2007 05:00 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 95 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 95(FIN) Out of Committee
+= HB 96 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 96(FIN) Out of Committee
Committee Amendments
= SB 61 SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS
Moved CSSB 61(FIN) Out of Committee
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 95(FIN)                                                                                              
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and loan                                                               
     program expenses of state  government, for certain programs,                                                               
     and to  capitalize funds;  making appropriations  under art.                                                               
     IX, sec.  17(c), Constitution  of the  State of  Alaska; and                                                               
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 96(FIN)                                                                                              
     "An Act making appropriations  for the operating and capital                                                               
     expenses  of  the  state's integrated  comprehensive  mental                                                               
     health program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was  the fourth  hearing  for  these  bills in  the  Senate                                                               
Finance Committee.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman offered  a motion to adopt SCS  CSHB 95, Version                                                               
25-GH1013\W,  Bailey,  dated  April  12,  2007,  as  the  working                                                               
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman stated that  this committee substitute contained                                                               
only one change to Version "T",  adopted as a working document in                                                               
a   previous   hearing.   The  following   conditional   language                                                               
pertaining  to appropriations  made to  the Department  of Health                                                               
and Social Services was deleted from  page 17, lines 6 through 11                                                               
of Version "T".                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     No  money  appropriated  to the  Department  of  Health  and                                                               
     Social Services may be expended  for an abortion that is not                                                               
     a  mandatory service  required  under  AS 47.07.030(a).  The                                                               
     money  appropriated for  Health and  Social Services  may be                                                               
     expended only  for mandatory  services required  under Title                                                               
     XIX of  the Social  Security Act  and for  optional services                                                               
     offered  by  the state  under  the  state plan  for  medical                                                               
     assistance  that  has been  approved  by  the United  States                                                               
     Department of Health and Human Services.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  understood  that  this language  had  been  added                                                               
during  deliberations by  the House  of Representatives  and that                                                               
they continued  to retain  the language in  their version  of the                                                               
bill.  Therefore he  was curious  to  the reason  the Senate  has                                                               
suggested removing the language.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman  understood that  the language had  been deleted                                                               
by the House of Representatives.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:06:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman corrected his remarks  by stating that the House                                                               
bill  contained similar  language  to that  deleted from  Version                                                               
"W".                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KAREN REHFELD, Director, Office  of Management and Budget, Office                                                               
of the Governor, affirmed.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson asked for further clarification.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman  responded that  the House  version of  the bill                                                               
contains similar language to that deleted from Version "W".                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  objected  to  the adoption  of  the  Version  "W"                                                               
committee substitute.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator Elton, Senator  Huggins, Senator Olson, Senator                                                               
Thomas, Co-Chair Stedman and Co-Chair Hoffman                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator Dyson                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The motion PASSED (6-1)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Committee  substitute  Version "W"  was  ADOPTED  as the  working                                                               
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[Note: The amendments  are titled according to  their sponsor and                                                               
are offered  to the most  recently adopted  committee substitutes                                                               
unless otherwise noted.]                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HOFFMAN #1:  This amendment deletes  $48.1 million  general funds                                                               
from  the   Department  of   Commerce,  Community   and  Economic                                                               
Development, Revenue  Sharing Results Delivery Unit  (RDU), Local                                                               
Government  Support component  on page  5, line  32. Accompanying                                                               
explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     If $48.1  million for  revenue sharing  is in  the operating                                                               
     budget, DCCED  can distribute  the funds  as it  wishes. The                                                               
     Senate  is  working  on  a   revenue  sharing  plan  with  a                                                               
     distribution  method  that   accounts  for  some  retirement                                                               
     issues. To  ensure that the  legislature has a voice  in the                                                               
     allocation  of the  money, revenue  sharing  is expected  to                                                               
     appear in a later appropriations bill.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman moved for adoption  and objected to explain that                                                               
this  amendment would  delete funding  for the  municipal revenue                                                               
sharing program. The House has  taken similar action. He read the                                                               
explanatory statement into the record.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There was no further objection and the amendment was ADOPTED.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
6:08:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOFFMAN #2:  This amendment deletes  subsection (b)  from Section                                                               
13 DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION  AND EARLY  DEVELOPMENT, on  page 57,                                                               
line  31 through  page 58,  line  3 of  the committee  substitute                                                               
Version "T". [Note:  This language was not  included in committee                                                               
substitute, Version "W".] The deleted language reads as follows.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          (b) The sum of $10,543,219 is appropriated from the                                                                   
     general  fund  to  the Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
     Development for  distribution to  each school district  as a                                                               
     grant  in the  same amount  as was  received by  that school                                                               
     district during  fiscal year 2007  for a  school improvement                                                               
     grant.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Because  funding  for  school  improvement  grants  will  be                                                               
     addressed in education legislation  later this session, this                                                               
     funding is being removed from the operating budget.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman  moved  for  adoption   of  the  amendment  and                                                               
objected  to overview  the deleted  language and  the explanatory                                                               
statement.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The amendment was ADOPTED without further objection.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 6:10:23 PM / 6:11:06 PM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman   announced  the  need  to   adopt  a  proposed                                                               
committee  substitute   to  HB   96,  as  the   amendments  under                                                               
consideration pertained to both appropriation bills.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman offered  a motion to adopt SCS  CSHB 96, Version                                                               
25-GH1015\L,  Bailey,  dated  April  12,  2007,  as  the  working                                                               
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman  explained  that   the  changes  to  this  bill                                                               
mirrored those in the committee substitute for HB 95.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson understood  therefore  that  the language  deleted                                                               
from HB 95 by Version "W" was also deleted from this bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman affirmed.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  objected. The language  was included in  the bills                                                               
by  the House  of Representatives  to prevent  public funds  from                                                               
being used to support abortions not medically necessary.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN  FAVOR:  Senator  Huggins,   Senator  Olson,  Senator  Thomas,                                                               
Senator Elton, Co-Chair Stedman and Co-Chair Hoffman                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator Dyson                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The motion PASSED (6-1)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The committee substitute, Version "L", was ADOPTED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
6:13:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOFFMAN #3:  This amendment  adds $150,000  general funds  to the                                                               
Department  of   Labor  and  Workforce   Development,  Vocational                                                               
Rehabilitation RDU,  Independent Living  Rehabilitation component                                                               
on page  24, lines 26  and 27. Accompanying  explanatory language                                                               
reads as follows.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     A one-time funding  increment of $100,000 was  granted in FY                                                               
     07  for Independent  Living  Rehabilitation. This  amendment                                                               
     would continue the FY 07  level of funding and establish the                                                               
     increment as part  of the base budget in FY  09. These funds                                                               
     would be  used to  operate Alaska's Centers  for Independent                                                               
     Living.   Centers  for   Independent   Living  (CILs)   have                                                               
     increased the number of disabled  and senior Alaskans served                                                               
     by 112%  (to 3200  clients) in the  past three  years, while                                                               
     receiving relatively  flat State  funding. Costs  to provide                                                               
     these  preventative   services  that  keep  people   out  of                                                               
     expensive institutions are  rising, stretching Alaska's CILs                                                               
     to  the limit  of  effectiveness. In  FY  05, State  funding                                                               
     comprised  only 9%  of  the total  funding  used to  operate                                                               
     Alaska's   successful  Independent   Living  program.   CILs                                                               
     leverage  State  general  fund dollars,  and  are  extremely                                                               
     resourceful,  cost-effective  agencies  providing  necessary                                                               
     services on behalf of the State of Alaska.                                                                                 
     $50,000 if this increment  will support interpreter referral                                                               
     services for Alaskans who are  deaf or hard-of-hearing. This                                                               
     program  allows deaf  and hard  of  hearing Alaskans,  whose                                                               
     primary language  is American Sign  Language, to  secure and                                                               
     maintain employment and receive  other necessary medical and                                                               
     legal services.  The program has  been flat-funded  for over                                                               
     17 years, while  the deaf population is  burgeoning in areas                                                               
     like  the  Kenai  Peninsula, where  no  interpreter  program                                                               
     currently exists.  In areas where services  currently exist,                                                               
     the  demand  has  skyrocketed.  For  example,  in  Southeast                                                               
     Alaska  the number  of  sign  language interpreter  requests                                                               
     filled grew from 182  in FY 04 to 464 in  FY 06, an increase                                                               
     of 155%. This increment would  allow more Alaskans to access                                                               
     this service  by increasing funding to  current grantees and                                                               
     providing for a new program in Homer.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman moved for adoption and objected to explain the                                                                 
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Without further objection, the amendment was ADOPTED.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:15:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEDMAN #1: This  amendment adds $3 million general  funds to the                                                               
Department  of  Commerce,  Community  and  Economic  Development,                                                               
Qualified Trade  Association (QTA) Contract RDU  and component on                                                               
page 5, line 31 through  page 6, line 5. Accompanying explanatory                                                               
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     One  time only  increment. Visitors  to Alaska  sustain many                                                               
     small  businesses which  provide  jobs  in our  communities.                                                               
     Unfortunately,  the number  of independent  travelers is  in                                                               
     decline and  effective marketing  is necessary to  bring new                                                               
     private  dollars  into  the economy,  grow  local  community                                                               
     revenues  from tourism  taxes,  and  increase state  revenue                                                               
     from tourism-related taxes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman moved for adoption.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected for an explanation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman explained  that  this amendment  would add  one                                                               
time  only  general  fund funding  of  $3,000,000  for  increased                                                               
marketing efforts  for the State. Summertime  tourism impacts all                                                               
areas of the State.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman  removed his objection. Despite  being less than                                                               
the  amount  requested  by  Alaskans   involved  in  the  tourism                                                               
industry, this  appropriation demonstrates the State's  effort to                                                               
address  the   need  for   increased  marketing   to  independent                                                               
travelers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There was no further objection and STEDMAN #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:17:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEDMAN #2:  This amendment  adds $500,000  general funds  to the                                                               
Department of  Commerce, Community and Economic  Development, QTA                                                               
Independent Traveler Grants RDU and  component on page 6, lines 6                                                               
through 9. Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     This  one time  increment would  increase tourism  marketing                                                               
     directed   at   independent   travelers   (non-cruise   ship                                                               
     visitors.) Independent  travelers sustain many  Alaska small                                                               
     businesses   which   provide   jobs  in   our   communities.                                                               
     Unfortunately,  the number  of independent  travelers is  in                                                               
     decline and  effective marketing  is necessary to  bring new                                                               
     private  dollars  into  the economy,  grow  local  community                                                               
     revenues  from tourism  taxes,  and  increase state  revenue                                                               
     from tourism-related taxes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman moved for adoption.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected for the purposes of explanation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  explained that the amendment  would appropriate                                                               
$500,000  for  marketing   efforts  directed  toward  independent                                                               
travelers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman acknowledged  the substantial  public testimony                                                               
in support of this effort.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Without further objection, STEDMAN #2 was ADOPTED.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
6:18:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEDMAN #3: This amendment adds  $250,000 federal receipts to the                                                               
Department  of  Commerce,  Community  and  Economic  Development,                                                               
Banking and Securities RDU and component  on page 7, lines 21 and                                                               
22. Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Based on a  contract with the US  Treasury Department, DCCED                                                               
     will  provide  financial  education  through  its  staff  or                                                               
     partners. Education  will be provided face-to-face  in local                                                               
     communities, in  a regional hub community,  through distance                                                               
     learning  channels, printed  materials, and  broadcast media                                                               
     to individuals, community leaders and educators.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  DCCED   will  be   responsible  for   coordinating  the                                                               
     provision of financial education  with the financial service                                                               
     provider and with other state  entities in order to leverage                                                               
     financial  and in-kind  resources. Topics  will include  the                                                               
     basic  elements   of  financial  literacy,   bank  accounts,                                                               
     electronic  banking, identification  theft,  etc. Funds  may                                                               
     also  provide travel  for community  leaders  to attend  the                                                               
     Native Financial Skills Initiative to be held in Anchorage.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     In order to best serve  communities with the least access to                                                               
     financial  services, this  program will  focus on  providing                                                               
     services to Alaska communities  with populations under 5,000                                                               
     that lack access to major roadways  and do not have a branch                                                               
     of  a bank  or credit  union. Resources  will be  focused on                                                               
     between two and four communities.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman moved for adoption.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected to receive an explanation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  explained that  this federal  receipt authority                                                               
would  address the  impact  of bank  consolidations  both in  the                                                               
country and  in the  State. For  example, some  sparely populated                                                               
regions  of  the  State  are  losing  their  community's  deposit                                                               
institution.  This funding  would  assist  in educating  citizens                                                               
about banking and financial services.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, STEDMAN #3 was ADOPTED.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
OLSON #1:  This amendment would  transfer the Women,  Infants and                                                               
Children component  and $26,445,700 allocation to  that component                                                               
from the  Children's Services  Budget Review  Unit (BRU)  on page                                                               
18, line  13, to the Public  Assistance BRU on page  19, line 11.                                                               
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Structure  change  to  move the  above  component/allocation                                                               
     from  the Children's  Services appropriation  to the  Public                                                               
     Assistance  appropriation.  This   is  an  important  budget                                                               
     structure change  to reflect the organizational  change that                                                               
     was   recommended  by   both  divisions   and  approved   by                                                               
     Commissioner Jackson and OMB with  an effective date of July                                                               
     1, 2007.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     This budget structure change was  accidentally not picked up                                                               
     in  the  Governor's Amended  budget  request;  and was  also                                                               
     missed when both the House  and Senate sub-committees closed                                                               
     this budget.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The  correct placement  is  as the  last  allocation of  the                                                               
     Public Assistance appropriation, following Work Services.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson moved for adoption.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected for an explanation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson read the explanatory statement into the record.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson asked  whether  the  Administration supported  the                                                               
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:21:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rehfeld  assured that  the Administration  did not  object to                                                               
the change.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, OLSON #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
6:22:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
OLSON  #2: This  amendment  adds $750,000  general  funds to  the                                                               
Department  of  Public  Safety,  Village  Public  Safety  Officer                                                               
(VPSO) Program BRU, VPSO Contracts component on page 30, line                                                                   
28. This amendment also inserts the following conditional                                                                       
language to the component.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The amount  appropriated by this appropriation  includes the                                                               
     unexpended and unobligated balance on  June 30, 2007, of the                                                               
     Department of  Public Safety, Village Public  Safety Officer                                                               
     Contracts.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The  subcommittee reduced  $750,000  of  general funds  from                                                               
     this allocation  with a  request to  carryforward the  FY 07                                                               
     general fund  lapsing balance into  FY 08.  The carryforward                                                               
     language was  not included  in the  language section  of the                                                               
    bill, resulting in an unintended cut to this allocation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     This  amendment restores  the  unintended  cut and  includes                                                               
     conditional  language that  enables  the  division to  carry                                                               
     forward  the FY  07  general fund  balance  that would  have                                                               
     lapsed.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson moved for adoption.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson read the explanatory statement into the record.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson understood that the Department of Public Safety                                                                   
supported the amendment.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Without further objection, OLSON #2 was ADOPTED.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:23:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
OLSON #3:  This amendment adds  $150,000 Highway  Working Capital                                                               
Fund to  the Department of  Transportation and  Public Facilities                                                               
(DOT), State Equipment  Fleet BRU and component on  page 35, line                                                               
9. Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Add $150,000  Highway Working Capital  Fund (HWCF)  to State                                                               
     Equipment Fleet  (SEF) for mechanics' time  spent working on                                                               
     capital project  related work. Normally the  mechanics' time                                                               
     is charged  through the Equipment Management  System but DOT                                                               
     has had  to establish  unbudgeted RSAs as  the SEF  does not                                                               
     have  the  budget  authority   for  the  increased  personal                                                               
     services expenditures.  This amendment would  add sufficient                                                               
     personal  services   budget  authority  to  the   SEF,  thus                                                               
     eliminating  the administrative  burden  of generating  many                                                               
     small dollar RSAs.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson moved for adoption.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson read the explanatory statement into the record.                                                                   
The Department is in support of the amendment.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Without further objection, OLSON #3 was ADOPTED.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:24:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HUGGINS  #1:  This  amendment adds  $225,000  general  funds  and                                                               
$5,300  Capital   Improvement  Project  (CIP)  receipts   to  the                                                               
Department  of  Natural  Resources, Fire  Suppression  BRU,  Fire                                                               
Suppression Preparedness  component on  page 29,  lines 8  and 9.                                                               
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The  Department  of  Natural Resources  requests  an  FY  08                                                               
     operating budget  amendment as a  result of a  Department of                                                               
     Administration (DOA),  Division of  Personnel classification                                                               
     study for  the Forester  and Forest Technician  job classes.                                                               
     DOA implemented  the Forest Technician portion  of the study                                                               
     on February  16, 2007, and  the Forest portion of  the study                                                               
     is effective April 16, 2007.  This action affects two budget                                                               
     components:  Forest  Management  and Development,  and  Fire                                                               
     Suppression Preparedness.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The Fire  Suppression Preparedness component requests  an FY                                                               
     08   amendment  of   $230,300.  This   increased  cost   was                                                               
     calculated  using  an estimated  FY  08  PERS rate  of  22%,                                                               
     anticipating  changes  to  the  Public  Employee  Retirement                                                               
     System  (PERS) by  the legislature  which  would change  the                                                               
     Governor's original proposed rate of  43.83%. If the rate is                                                               
     set  significantly higher,  the department  will re-evaluate                                                               
     the costs  next year  and pursue  a supplemental  request if                                                               
     necessary.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     More than 180 Position Contract  Numbers (PCNs) from the two                                                               
     components have  been subject  to the  classification study.                                                               
     DOA implemented  the Technician series portion  of the study                                                               
     on February  16, 2007, increasing  salaries by at  least one                                                               
     range  for  each of  the  division's  118 Forest  Technician                                                               
     positions. The  Forester series portion  of the  class study                                                               
     is effective  April 16, 2007  and established  a promotional                                                               
     ladder  within  the series  by  establishing  a Forester  IV                                                               
     level  (set at  a range  20). Eight  Forester III  positions                                                               
     were moved into  the IV level. Other  study actions included                                                               
     establishing a dispatch series,  with internal pay alignment                                                               
     resulting in  a two  range increase  form the  previous rate                                                               
     which  was last  reviewed  in 1991.  This amendment  request                                                               
     covers the  increased costs to maintain  the current service                                                               
     level.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Forestry's  last  classification  study was  performed  more                                                               
     than  15 years  ago. These  two major  job classes  comprise                                                               
     two-thirds of the division's workforce  and are the Division                                                               
     of Forestry's field personnel  employed to suppress wildland                                                               
     fires.  The  class study  and  funding  of the  Division  of                                                               
     Personnel's  implementation of  the findings  contributes to                                                               
     recruitment and  retention of qualified staff,  and improves                                                               
     the state's ability  to manage the wildland  fire and forest                                                               
     management programs.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Huggins moved for adoption.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Huggins reviewed  the amendment  and stressed  that this                                                               
funding would  allow for the  Divisions first  job classification                                                               
study in 15 years. The  Department of Natural Resources supported                                                               
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Without further objection, HUGGINS #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
6:25:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HUGGINS #2:  This amendment would  add $31,700 general  funds and                                                               
$2,500  CIP  receipts to  the  Department  of Natural  Resources,                                                               
Resource  Development   BRU,  Forest  Management   &  Development                                                               
component on page  28, lines 10 and  11. Accompanying explanatory                                                               
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The  Department  of  Natural Resources  requests  an  FY  08                                                               
     operating budget  amendment as a  result of a  Department of                                                               
     Administration (DOA),  Division of  Personnel classification                                                               
     study for  the Forester  and Forest Technician  job classes.                                                               
     DOA implemented  the Forest Technician portion  of the study                                                               
     on February  16, 2007, and  the Forest portion of  the study                                                               
     is effective April 16, 2007.  This action affects two budget                                                               
     components:  Forest  Management  and Development,  and  Fire                                                               
     Suppression Preparedness.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The Fire  Suppression Preparedness component requests  an FY                                                               
     08   amendment  of   $230,300.  This   increased  cost   was                                                               
     calculated  using  an estimated  FY  08  PERS rate  of  22%,                                                               
     anticipating changes to PERS by  the legislature which would                                                               
     change the  Governor's original proposed rate  of 43.83%. If                                                               
     the rate  is set  significantly higher, the  department will                                                               
     re-evaluate the  costs next year  and pursue  a supplemental                                                               
     request if necessary.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     More  than  180  PCNs  from the  two  components  have  been                                                               
     subject  to the  classification study.  DOA implemented  the                                                               
     Technician  series  portion of  the  study  on February  16,                                                               
     2007, increasing salaries by at  least one range for each of                                                               
     the   division's  118   Forest  Technician   positions.  The                                                               
     Forester  series portion  of the  class  study is  effective                                                               
     April 16,  2007 and established a  promotional ladder within                                                               
     the series  by establishing  a Forester IV  level (set  at a                                                               
     range 20). Eight Forester III  positions were moved into the                                                               
     IV  level.  Other  study  actions  included  establishing  a                                                               
     dispatch series, with internal  pay alignment resulting in a                                                               
     two range  increase form  the previous  rate which  was last                                                               
     reviewed  in   1991.  This  amendment  request   covers  the                                                               
     increased costs to maintain the current service level.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Forestry's  last  classification  study was  performed  more                                                               
     than  15 years  ago. These  two major  job classes  comprise                                                               
     two-thirds of the division's workforce  and are the Division                                                               
     of Forestry's field personnel  employed to suppress wildland                                                               
     fires.  The  class study  and  funding  of the  Division  of                                                               
     Personnel's  implementation of  the findings  contributes to                                                               
     recruitment and  retention of qualified staff,  and improves                                                               
     the state's ability  to manage the wildland  fire and forest                                                               
     management programs.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Huggins moved for adoption.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected for an explanation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Huggins overviewed  the  amendment and  noted that  this                                                               
would be the  first reclassification study of  these positions in                                                               
ten years.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Without further objection, HUGGINS #2 was ADOPTED.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
6:26:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELTON  #1:  This  amendment  adds   $773,900  general  funds  and                                                               
$774,000 Receipt  Supported Services  funds to the  Department of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation, Water  BRU, Water  Quality component                                                               
on page 14, line 11.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Elton moved for adoption.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected for an explanation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Elton explained  that this  amendment  pertained to  the                                                               
State's decision "to  adopt "primacy" in regards  to the National                                                               
Pollutant  Discharge Elimination  System (NPDES)  authority. Five                                                               
procedural options were  available to the State:  it could revert                                                               
to the  system in effect before  the State adopted a  position of                                                               
primacy in  which the federal  government conducted and  paid for                                                               
the program; the State could  conduct the program and the federal                                                               
government could  pay expenses; the  State could conduct  and pay                                                               
for  the  program;  the  State  could  conduct  the  program  and                                                               
applicants would  pay program costs;  or the State  could conduct                                                               
the program  and both the  State and applicants  would contribute                                                               
toward program expenses.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Elton informed  the Committee  that the  House supported                                                               
having  the State  conduct and  pay for  the program.  The Senate                                                               
Finance  Committee   Department  of   Environmental  Conservation                                                               
budget subcommittee preferred to  allow the Federal government to                                                               
both conduct and pay for the  program. As a matter of compromise,                                                               
this amendment would  authorize the State to  conduct the program                                                               
and have program  expenses covered by both the  State and program                                                               
applicants.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson commended  Senator Elton  for his  efforts on  the                                                               
matter.  The   State's  decision   to  assume  primacy   on  this                                                               
permitting process could be the  most significant action taken by                                                               
the legislature this session.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, ELTON #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
6:28:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS  #1: This  amendment adds  $500,000 general  funds to  the                                                               
Department of Health and Social  Services, Behavioral Health BRU,                                                               
Behavioral  Health   Grants  component  on  page   17,  line  17.                                                               
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     $350,000 will  allow continued  operation of  the Interior's                                                               
     existing detox  facility, the Ralph Purdue  Center, operated                                                               
     by  the Fairbanks  Native Association.  In  past years,  the                                                               
     Center  received  federal  SAMHSA  funds that  will  not  be                                                               
     available  in  FY  08.  Fairbanks   is  one  of  only  three                                                               
     communities  in Alaska  with capacity  to provide  medically                                                               
     supervised detoxification  services for  persons withdrawing                                                               
     from  alcohol   or  other  drugs.  As   a  regional  center,                                                               
     Fairbanks  provides  detoxification  care for  persons  from                                                               
     throughout the  Interior and Northern regions  of the state;                                                               
     one  in every  three to  four people  admitted to  the Ralph                                                               
     Purdue  Center  in  FY  06  came  from  communities  outside                                                               
     Fairbanks.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     $150,000  will be  used to  prepare for  the opening  of the                                                               
     Fairbanks  Enhanced  Detox  Facility, which  is  planned  to                                                               
     replace  the Ralph  Purdue Center  in September,  2008. With                                                               
     only  a  ten-bed capacity  for  detoxification  care at  the                                                               
     Ralph  Purdue  Center,  service   is  unavailable  to  large                                                               
     numbers  of persons  in need.  Inadequate detox  capacity in                                                               
     Fairbanks results  in more  than 1000  incapacitated persons                                                               
     being  held   temporarily  in  the   Fairbanks  Correctional                                                               
     Facility annually;  most needing  screening in  the hospital                                                               
     emergency department  first. The  jail and the  hospital end                                                               
     up being an expensive revolving door.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The  Golden Heart  Coalition has  secured the  capital funds                                                               
     necessary for  construction of a  new detox facility  from a                                                               
     variety of  partners: the Denali Commission,  the Trust, the                                                               
     Rasmuson Foundations,  Greater Fairbanks  Community Hospital                                                               
     Foundation  and the  State Legislature.  However, additional                                                               
     funding  is  required to  cover  the  costs associated  with                                                               
     additional capacity and enhanced essential services.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The Denali  Commission and Rasmuson Foundation  may withdraw                                                               
     their funding for construction of  the new detox facility if                                                               
     the legislature does  not fund medical detox in  FY 08. They                                                               
     will  be reluctant  to pay  for construction  of a  facility                                                               
     that does not have a source of funds to operate.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas moved for adoption.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected to receive an explanation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas read the explanatory statement into the record.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson, chair of the Committee's Department of Health and                                                                
Social Services budget subcommittee, spoke in support of the                                                                    
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Without further objection, THOMAS #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
6:31:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS  #2: This  amendment adds  $211,800 general  funds to  the                                                               
Department   of  Labor   and  Workforce   Development,  Workforce                                                               
Development BRU,  Employment and  Training Services  component on                                                               
page  23,  lines 27  and  28.  Accompanying explanatory  language                                                               
reads as follows.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     This increment would maintain the  Job Centers in Glennallen                                                               
     and Tok.  The department  proposed closing these  offices in                                                               
     response   to  continuing   reductions  in   federal  funds.                                                               
     However,  these  centers   provide  valuable  assistance  to                                                               
     Alaskans in  search of jobs  throughout that  Interior area,                                                               
     and is  one of the only  contacts that people have  with the                                                               
     State of Alaska in any practical purpose.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas moved for adoption and read the explanatory                                                                      
statement into the record.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Without objection, THOMAS #2 was ADOPTED.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS  #3:  This  amendment adds  $250,000  General  Fund/Mental                                                               
Health  funds   and  $250,000   Mental  Health   Trust  Authority                                                               
Authorized  Receipts  to  the Department  of  Health  and  Social                                                               
Services, Public  Health BRU, Women,  Children and  Family Health                                                               
component on  page 19 lines  30 and 31.  Accompanying explanatory                                                               
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The increment would  allow comprehensive, timely assessments                                                               
     and diagnosis  of Autism  Spectrum Disorders  (ASD). Current                                                               
     studies  show   ASD  affecting  1  in   every  150  children                                                               
     nationwide.    Early   diagnosis    is   made    through   a                                                               
     comprehensive,   multidisciplinary   team  evaluation.   The                                                               
     capacity  to diagnose  and  reevaluate  Alaskan children  is                                                               
     currently  severely   limited  due  to  limited   staff  and                                                               
     resources. Research  shows that 90%  of children who  do not                                                               
     receive  early   intervention  will  require   custodial  or                                                               
     special care throughout their lives.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Funding will allow  for training and travel  for a pediatric                                                               
     nurse  practitioner to  travel  throughout Alaska  providing                                                               
     comprehensive  evaluations. Currently,  a  parent and  child                                                               
     would  have   to  travel  to  Anchorage   to  receive  these                                                               
     services.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     A $500,000 increment would mean that:                                                                                      
        · The Department of Health and Social Services could                                                                    
          leverage over $220,000 in non-state funds to support                                                                  
          the program.                                                                                                          
        · Between 400 and 500 children per year would receive a                                                                 
          comprehensive evaluation for autism -- more than                                                                      
          doubling the current capacity.                                                                                        
        · Nurse practitioners would be trained and added to the                                                                 
          multidisciplinary team, offering a cost effective                                                                     
          approach for children with less complicated medical                                                                   
          and developmental histories.                                                                                          
        · Children over the age of eight would be seen. Due to                                                                  
          capacity limitations, this age group is not currently                                                                 
          served.                                                                                                               
        · Children would be re-evaluated over time as their                                                                     
          needs change.                                                                                                         
        · Psychological evaluations would be available. Most                                                                    
          psychologists with expertise in autism assessment are                                                                 
          not able to bill Medicaid.                                                                                            
        · Screening clinics would be held in various locations                                                                  
          around the  state. This is an  intermediate step, prior                                                               
          to a comprehensive exam, to  ensure only those children                                                               
          who need an  extensive work-up are referred  for a full                                                               
          evaluation.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Thomas  moved  for adoption  and  read  the  explanatory                                                               
statement into the record.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman, noting that Senator  Olson was the chair of the                                                               
Department  of Health  and Social  Services budget  subcommittee,                                                               
asked his position on the amendment.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson objected to the  amendment. The State Medical Board                                                               
did  not  support  spending  State funds  for  this  purpose.  In                                                               
addition,  the  need  to  travel  to  Anchorage  for  a  complete                                                               
diagnostic  evaluation  has  been established  because  the  sole                                                               
pediatric  neuron-developmental specialist  in the  State dealing                                                               
with autism  is located there.  Thus, having a diagnosis  made by                                                               
"a mid-level  person" who travels  throughout the State  would be                                                               
called into question."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  acknowledged there  being statewide  concern about                                                               
autism; however,  suggested that further  review of the  issue be                                                               
conducted before action is taken.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Elton  asked  whether the  Alaska  Mental  Health  Trust                                                               
Authority increment required a general fund dollar match.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas  understood a general  fund match was  required to                                                               
provide  the appropriate  level  of funding.  To  that point,  he                                                               
cited being surprised at the  seemingly low level of funding that                                                               
was requested to support the project.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Thomas  appreciated  Senator Olson's  position  and  the                                                               
prospect   of  advancing   autism   treatment   in  the   future.                                                               
Nonetheless,  he pointed  out that  not addressing  the needs  of                                                               
autistic children early would serve to increase expenses.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  agreed that citizens  are concerned  about autism;                                                               
however, more information and planning is required.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator Thomas                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator  Dyson, Senator Elton, Senator  Huggins, Senator                                                               
Olson, Co-Chair Stedman and Co-Chair Hoffman                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The motion FAILED (1-6)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The amendment FAILED to be adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
6:37:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS #4:  This amendment  adds a new  SW Budget  Reductions and                                                               
Additions component to the University  of Alaska (UA), University                                                               
of  Alaska BRU,  and  appropriates $4,900,200  general funds  and                                                               
$470,000 UA  Receipts to the component.  Accompanying explanatory                                                               
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Fixed cost deficit                      GF: $3,629,400                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Critical Engineering and Healthcare Education Programs                                                                     
                                 GF: $200,000, UA Rcpts: $50,000                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Engineering and Construction Management                                                                                    
        · Engineering Enrollment Growth at Anchorage Campus                                                                     
                               (GF: $200,000, UA Rcpts: $50,000)                                                                
        · Construction Management at Anchorage Campus                                                                           
                               (GF: $115,000, UA Rcpts: $30,000)                                                                
        · UAA/UAS 1+3 Program in Engineering at Juneau Campus                                                                   
                               (GF: $100,000, UA Rcpts: $20,000)                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Health                                                                                                                     
        · WWAMI program expansion at Anchorage Campus                                                                           
                              (GF: $180,000, UA Rcpts: $150,000)                                                                
        · Nursing Core Expansion at Anchorage Campus                                                                            
                              (GF: $299,300, UA Rcpts: $150,000)                                                                
        · Community Health Aide Program at College of Rural                                                                     
          Alaska                                                                                                                
                               (GF: $143,400, UA Rcpts: $20,000)                                                                
        · Dental Program at Tanana Valley Campus                                                                                
                               (GF: $233,100, UA Rcpts: $50,000)                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     This  amendment uses  saving from  the university  budget to                                                               
     cover  the   unavoidable  costs  increases  for   goods  and                                                               
     services,  and  seven  of  the  highest  demand  new  degree                                                               
     programs being requested by  the Construction and Healthcare                                                               
     industry.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas moved for adoption.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas reviewed the amendment.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Hoffman  asked   Co-Chair   Stedman,   chair  of   the                                                               
Committee's  University   of  Alaska  budget   subcommittee,  his                                                               
position on the amendment.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  advised against the amendment.  The approach to                                                               
the University's funding differs  from other budgetary procedures                                                               
because the  Legislature appropriates a  single line item  to the                                                               
University.  The  University's  Board   of  Regents  is  free  to                                                               
allocate  the  funds   as  they  see  fit   amongst  the  various                                                               
University campuses and programs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman that  the  fixed costs  of  the University  are                                                               
covered  in the  FY 2008  Legislative appropriation.  He reviewed                                                               
the  budgetary growth  the University  has experienced  in recent                                                               
years,  and  noted  that, unlike  other  State  departments,  the                                                               
University feels that any savings  experienced by the University,                                                               
such  as  the   $4.9  million  resulting  from   savings  in  the                                                               
University's  "ORPS budget",  should  be committed  back to  them                                                               
rather than to the State.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:42:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman maintained his objection.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas  stressed that  Alaska has  tremendous educational                                                               
demands.  Programs   in  support   of  medical   and  engineering                                                               
professions are just a few needs. He would appreciate the                                                                       
Committee's support of the amendment.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator Thomas, Senator Dyson and Senator Elton                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator Huggins, Senator Olson, Co-Chair Stedman and                                                                   
Co-Chair Hoffman                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The motion FAILED (3-4)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The amendment FAILED to be adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DYSON #1:  This amendment  adds $1,547,900  general funds  to the                                                               
Department  of  Environmental   Conservation,  Water  BRU,  Water                                                               
Quality component  on page 14  line 11.  Accompanying explanatory                                                               
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     In  2005  the  Legislature   authorized  the  Department  of                                                               
     Environmental Conservation to take  all actions necessary to                                                               
     assume   primacy  for   the  National   Pollutant  Discharge                                                               
     Elimination  System  (NPDES) Wastewater  Discharge  Program.                                                               
     This  amendment restores  $1,547,900, which  was deleted  by                                                               
     the subcommittee,  so that  the state  may continue  to seek                                                               
     NPDES    discharge     permitting    authority,    including                                                               
     responsibility   for   issuing    permits   and   monitoring                                                               
    compliance with the NPDES Wastewater Discharge Program.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Assuming   state   primacy   will   enhance   administrative                                                               
     efficiencies   by  reducing   permitting  bodies   from  two                                                               
     (federal  and   state)  to  one   (state)  and   will  allow                                                               
     permittees  to work  with  Alaska-based  permitters who  are                                                               
     familiar with Alaska's unique  local conditions, rather than                                                               
     with  EPA  staff  located  in   Seattle.  In  addition  more                                                               
     regulated  facilities   will  actually  have   NPDES  permit                                                               
     coverage (EPA  has not issued  the required permits  to many                                                               
     facilities).  Although  permit  fees  under  a  state  NPDES                                                               
     program   would  increase   over  currently   charged  fees,                                                               
     permittees support  state primacy, recognizing  the benefits                                                               
     greatly outweigh the costs.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson announced this amendment would be NOT OFFERED due                                                                 
to action taken on Elton #1.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 6:44:33 PM / 6:44:44 PM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DYSON #2: This amendment removes  $374,700 from the Department of                                                               
Health and  Social Services,  Departmental Support  Services BRU,                                                               
Office of Program Review on  page 21, line 14; removes $1,025,300                                                               
from  the  Human  Services  Community   Matching  Grant  BRU  and                                                               
component on  page 22, lines  15 and  16; and adds  $1,400,000 to                                                               
the Departmental  Support Services BRU,  Office of Faith  Based &                                                               
Community  Initiatives component  on page  21, lines  15 and  16.                                                               
Accompanying explanatory language reads as follows.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Originally the governor proposed  fully funding operation of                                                               
     the  Office   of  Faith  Based  and   Community  Initiatives                                                               
     ($1,400,000)  by eliminating  the  Human Services  Community                                                               
     Matching Grants ($1,485,300).                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     For  staffing,  the   governor  proposed  transferring  four                                                               
     positions from  the Office  of Program  Review to  the Faith                                                               
     Based  Office.  It  is appropriate  that  the  corresponding                                                               
     funding for  such positions  ($374,698) also  be transferred                                                               
     from the Office  of Program Review to allow  the Faith Based                                                               
     Office to continue operations unabated.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The balance of the funding  can come from the Human Services                                                               
     Community Matching Grant.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson moved  for  adoption,  overviewed the  explanatory                                                               
statement  and requested  that the  Administration be  allowed to                                                               
speak to the amendment.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman objected to the motion to adopt the amendment.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rehfeld reported that the  Palin Administration supported the                                                               
amendment.  The  intent  was  to  provide  the  funds  through  a                                                               
competitive  grant  process  on  a statewide  basis  rather  than                                                               
solely to  the three communities  currently receiving  it through                                                               
the Human Services Community Matching Grants program.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 6:46:30 PM / 6:47:24 PM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman asked Senator Olson,  as chair of the Department                                                               
of Health and  Social Services budget subcommittee,  to share his                                                               
position on the amendment.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson did not support the amendment.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman maintained his objection to its adoption.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  appreciated  Senator Olson's  position;  however,                                                               
indicated  that  some  "confusion"  could have  occurred  in  the                                                               
subcommittee's   actions  to   recommend  the   existing  funding                                                               
allocations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rehfeld  informed the Committee that  Governor Palin intended                                                               
that the funding be available statewide.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  hoped that Senator  Olson's objective would  be to                                                               
allow the funding  to be available on a  statewide basis. Senator                                                               
Dyson urged support for the amendment.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman asserted that he  would support the subcommittee                                                               
chair's recommendation  despite the benefit the  adoption of this                                                               
amendment  might present  to the  communities he  represents. The                                                               
three  programs  currently  receiving   this  funding  should  be                                                               
provided time to evaluate how  a change would affect the programs                                                               
currently supported  by the funding.  This item could  be further                                                               
addressed during the next budgetary process.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
6:49:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Olson  communicated   that,   while  the   subcommittee                                                               
supported continuing the block grants  for the three communities,                                                               
it also  allocated $500,000  for faith-based  community programs.                                                               
These actions were supported by the involved entities.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman maintained his objection.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator Thomas and Senator Dyson                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator Elton, Senator  Huggins, Senator Olson, Co-Chair                                                               
Stedman and Co-Chair Hoffman                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The motion FAILED (2-5)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The amendment FAILED to be adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DYSON  #3: This  amendment  inserts language  to the  conditional                                                               
language  pertaining  to  appropriations  to  the  Department  of                                                               
Health and Social Services contained  in the committee substitute                                                               
Version "T"  but deleted from  Version "W", which was  before the                                                               
Committee. [The  original language is cited  above.] The inserted                                                               
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     This statement is a statement of the purpose of the                                                                        
     appropriation and is neither merely descriptive language                                                                   
     nor a statement of legislative intent.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson announced this amendment would be NOT OFFERED.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
No further amendments were forthcoming.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  offered a motion  to authorize the  Division of                                                               
Legal  and  Research Services  and  the  Division of  Legislative                                                               
Finance to  make any necessary  technical and  conforming changes                                                               
to HB 95, Version "W", as amended.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Without objection, the motion was ADOPTED.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  offered a motion  to authorize the  Division of                                                               
Legal  and  Research Services  and  the  Division of  Legislative                                                               
Finance to  make any necessary  technical and  conforming changes                                                               
to HB 96, Version "L", as amended.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, the motion was ADOPTED.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 6:52:06 PM / 6:52:42 PM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  offered a  motion  to  report  SCS CS  HB  95,                                                               
Version 25-GH1013\W,  as amended, from Committee  with individual                                                               
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, SCS  CSHB 95(FIN)  was REPORTED  from                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:53:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman offered a motion  to report SCS CSHB 96, Version                                                               
25-GH1015\L,   as  amended,   from   Committee  with   individual                                                               
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection,  SCS CS HB  96(FIN) was  REPORTED from                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:53:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Elton thanked Co-Chair Hoffman  for his leadership on the                                                               
operating budget  bills. Senator Elton acknowledged  this process                                                               
was new  to him and that  he had learned from  it. He appreciated                                                               
the assistance he received from Committee members and others.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman  thanked Committee  for their diligent  work and                                                               
voiced appreciation  for assistance  provided by the  Division of                                                               
Legislative  Finance.   The  effort  had  been   intensified  "in                                                               
anticipation of the 90 day  session" that would commence with the                                                               
second session  of the  25th Legislature.  The effort  to address                                                               
the operating budget expediently was  also made to allow time for                                                               
the   Committee  to   thoroughly  discuss   the  Alaska   Gasline                                                               
Inducement  Act  proposed by  the  Governor.  He hoped  that  the                                                               
outcome of  that legislation  would be as  successful as  that of                                                               
these bills.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
6:56:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson complimented the Committee's  actions on its effort                                                               
to control State spending. He hoped  that "the gain" made by this                                                               
Committee would  not be negated  when the bills are  addressed in                                                               
Conference Committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  also expressed  disappointment that  the Committee                                                               
failed  to  "take  a  stand-up for  life  and  unborn  children's                                                               
lives."  He contended  there "would  be a  few hundred  more dead                                                               
kids because" of action taken  by the Committee "unless the House                                                               
shows more care than we did."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Huggins thanked Co-Chair Hoffman  and his staff for their                                                               
leadership   and   efficiency   in  addressing   this   important                                                               
legislation. The  funding allocated to the  Education Fund, which                                                               
was established  approximately two years prior,  is of particular                                                               
note,  particularly in  consideration  of the  effort to  control                                                               
operating budget expenses.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  thanked Co-Chair Hoffman for  his leadership in                                                               
the  operating budget  process. "It  is difficult,  multi-faceted                                                               
and there's  a lot  of hard decisions"  particularly in  light of                                                               
"the unprecedented  growth" the operating budget  has experienced                                                               
in the  past several years. Further  belt-tightening, and perhaps                                                               
alternate  funding  sources,  might occur  before  the  financial                                                               
benefits provided by a gas  pipeline would commence. He commended                                                               
Committee Members  for their responsive but  difficult commitment                                                               
to holding  down State  operating expenses this  year and  in the                                                               
years before revenues from the gas pipeline commence.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  also  commended  the  Committee  for  the  one                                                               
billion  dollar  allocation  to  the  Education  Fund.  This  has                                                               
allowed one year of forward funding of education.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  advised  that  additional  State  savings  are                                                               
anticipated  to result  from  the State's  FY  08 capital  budget                                                               
process. The  effort should be to  save "money today for  when it                                                               
rains tomorrow."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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