Legislature(2001 - 2002)
05/03/2001 06:08 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 234-TOBACCO SETTLEM'T:BONDS & SMOKING PROGRAM CHAIRWOMAN GREEN announced that a proposed Senate Hess Committee substitute was before the committee. SENATOR LEMAN moved to adopt SCS CSHB 234(HES), Version R, as the working document of the committee. CHAIRWOMAN GREEN explained that SCS CSHB 234(HES) contains language in Section 2 that allows the legislature to appropriate money to the tobacco use education and cessation fund. Regarding the list of projects, the House bill funds two school construction projects, 14 major maintenance projects, the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Egan classroom building, the Ketchikan tech remodel, the University of Alaska (UA) center for $13 million and the Fairbanks museum expansion. The Senate Hess version funds two school construction projects and 27 major maintenance projects, the UAS Egan classroom building, the Ketchikan tech remodel, the Mat-Su Ortner building and the Fairbanks museum expansion. The savings from changing from the UA center to the Mat-Su Ortner building is about $12.5 million. That money will be used to fund the additional major maintenance projects. The bills are identical in the lists of ports and harbor projects. CHAIRWOMAN GREEN announced that with no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR LEMAN noted that Chairwoman Green stated that the money from the UA center will be used for more maintenance projects. He clarified that the House version was amended on the floor so that the money for that UA project was for the purchase and remodel of facilities, not specifically for the UA center. SENATOR WILKEN asked if the amount for the schools listed on page 4 is the total amount of each project or the state's 70 percent reimbursement amount. He said he is asking because the version that passed from the House Finance Committee (Version B.A) has a lower number. Number 190 MR. JERRY BURNETT, staff to Senator Green, clarified that SCS CSHB 234(HES) should have the same numbers as the version of SB 94 that passed out of the Senate HESS Committee. SENATOR WILKEN commented that the Finance Committee can look into that question. SENATOR LEMAN asked if the total cost of the bill is now more or less than the amount started with. CHAIRWOMAN GREEN answered it is the same. SENATOR LEMAN said he is aware of the need for renovations at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) medical laboratory, which will cost $600,000. He moved to insert $600,000 into the bill for the medical laboratory at the UAA campus. CHAIRWOMAN GREEN asked if that project is on the University's list of projects. SENATOR LEMAN said he did not know. CHAIRWOMAN GREEN pointed out the additional project added to the list was from the UA's list of priorities. SENATOR LEMAN said he would investigate that further in the Senate Finance Committee. SENATOR WARD asked if the funding source for this bill is tobacco settlement money. CHAIRWOMAN GREEN said she believes that is correct. SENATOR WARD commented the purpose of the tobacco settlement and tobacco tax money is to stop youth from smoking, not for ports and museum expansions. He asked if this bill requires a vote of the people. CHAIRWOMAN GREEN said it does not. She commented that a fund will be created and the money will be appropriated as each legislature decides. SENATOR LEMAN indicated that he is not excited about this funding method for school projects but he is in favor of the projects so he will not object to moving this bill from committee. CHAIRWOMAN GREEN stated that she believes it is important that this bill be part of the package that is under consideration for the final budget close-out. SENATOR LEMAN moved SCS CSHB 234(HES) from committee with individual recommendations and its attached fiscal note. There being no objection, the motion carried.