Legislature(2021 - 2022)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/16/2021 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 10 FREE/REDUCED TUITION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKER TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 76 EXTENDING COVID 19 DISASTER EMERGENCY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 76(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SENATE BILL NO. 10                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act establishing  a grant  program  to provide  to                                                                    
     essential  workers the  tuition  and fees  to attend  a                                                                    
     state-supported        postsecondary        educational                                                                    
     institution."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:20:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOKI   TOBIN,   STAFF,   SENATOR  BEGICH,   introduced   the                                                                    
legislation.  She stated  that  the bill  offered those  who                                                                    
were most significantly economically impacted by the Covid-                                                                     
19  pandemic the  opportunity to  retrain and  advance their                                                                    
employment  options. The  legislation  would offer  Alaskans                                                                    
who  served on  the  frontlines the  opportunity to  advance                                                                    
their  education. She  stated  that it  was  similar to  the                                                                    
Alaska   Education  Grant.   The   legislation  created   an                                                                    
education grant  that sought federal funds.  She stated that                                                                    
the result would be the  opportunity for students to explore                                                                    
career opportunities and move  past their current situations                                                                    
in a post-pandemic world.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  queried the  approximate amount  of leveraged                                                                    
federal funds.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tobin replied  that  she did  not  have an  approximate                                                                    
amount,   but   deferred   to  the   department   for   that                                                                    
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  wondered whether the  federal funds  would be                                                                    
delivered to the student or the educational institution.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tobin replied that the  funds given to the student would                                                                    
be funneled through the university or institution.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilson surmised that  the qualifying individuals was                                                                    
anyone who wanted to be a student in the state.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tobin pointed  to page  3 of  the bill,  line 9,  which                                                                    
outlined the eligibility of the program.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:24:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator von  Imhof did not  know why  the bill was  only for                                                                    
essential workers, and not for  anyone that needed to change                                                                    
their  circumstances. She  did  not like  that  UGF and  the                                                                    
Higher Education Fund were used to pay for the program.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  remarked that the committee  would address                                                                    
that  issue continually,  and stressed  that  the source  of                                                                    
funds should be  under close examination as a  result of the                                                                    
impact of Covid-19.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski  wondered whether the bill  sponsor had                                                                    
a position on whether  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic                                                                    
Security (CARES)  Act funds  or UGF should  be used  for the                                                                    
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tobin replied  that  the program  was  modeled after  a                                                                    
program  in Michigan,  which used  CARES  funds. She  stated                                                                    
that she  would be  open to the  committee's recommendations                                                                    
about opening up the program to more applicants.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Bishop  thanked  Senator   Begich  for  the  bill,                                                                    
because  of  the  conversations   about  education  and  the                                                                    
connectivity  between   the  state   agency  to   deliver  a                                                                    
workforce.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:30:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson queried an estimate of the extra cost.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tobin  stated that  it was  difficult to  determine that                                                                    
amount, and explained that there  was an overall cap to keep                                                                    
the costs low.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson wondered  whether the  bill would  allow for                                                                    
attendance at the trade schools.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tobin replied in the affirmative.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson  surmised  that the  program  would  not  be                                                                    
permitted in private trade schools.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tobin   stated  that,   per  the   recommendation  from                                                                    
Legislative  Legal, public  funds could  not be  utilized in                                                                    
private institutions.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson  wondered  whether   the  bill  sponsor  had                                                                    
considered  conversing  with  Congress about  utilizing  the                                                                    
funds for the private institutions.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tobin replied that the  bill sponsor would entertain any                                                                    
conversation or amendment to the bill.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Bishop stated that the  amendment deadline would be                                                                    
Monday,  April 19  at 12  noon. He  discussed the  following                                                                    
week's schedule.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB  10  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 76 Sectional Analysis ver R 4.15.2021.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
HB 76
HB 76 ver. R 4.15.2021.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
HB 76
HB 76 Explanation of Changes ver W.A to R 4.15.2021.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
HB 76
HB 76 Follow Up Answers - SFIN April 14 Hearing_.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
HB 76
SB 10 2021 04 16 - Univ. Alaska - SB 10 Hearing Response QA.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 10