Legislature(2013 - 2014)BUTROVICH 205

03/21/2014 01:30 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= HJR 25 VIETNAM VETS: SERVICE-RELATED DISEASES
Moved CSHJR 25(MLV) Out of Committee
= HB 263 EXTEND SENIOR BENEFITS PAYMENT PROGRAM
Moved CSHB 263(HSS) Out of Committee
         HB 263-EXTEND SENIOR BENEFITS PAYMENT PROGRAM                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:38:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN announced  that HB 263 is before  the committee. He                                                               
noted it was the second hearing on  the bill and the intent is to                                                               
look to the will of the committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CECILE  ELLIOT,   Staff,  Representative  Hawker,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, provided an  overview of HB 263. She                                                               
related that  HB 263 extends  the Senior Benefit Program  for six                                                               
years. If the bill were not  to pass, the program would sunset in                                                               
June 2015.  The program  currently serves  11,000 seniors  and is                                                               
based on  income. Seniors who  qualify receive payments  of $125,                                                               
$175, or  $205 per month.  She said  the sponsor feels  as though                                                               
this  is  a  very  important  program  and  serves  a  vulnerable                                                               
population of Alaska.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN  noted one  fiscal  note  from the  Department  of                                                               
Health and Social  Services for $23 million in  general funds for                                                               
FY 15,  with estimated costs  for the  out years. The  funding is                                                               
already included in the Governor's FY 15 budget.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He said the committee has held public testimony.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:40:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE commented  that he  strongly supports  the bill                                                               
and cross-sponsored it today on the floor.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MEYER asked why the program is extended for six years.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. ELLIOT answered  that Representative Hawker felt  that it was                                                               
important  to  assure  this population  that  the  program  would                                                               
continue,  and to  allow  enough time  to  re-assess the  state's                                                               
financial situation.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   MEYER   noted   the   program's   intent   and   fiscal                                                               
ramifications.  He had  some reservations  about  a program  this                                                               
expensive extending six years.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:41:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE moved  to report CS for HB 263,  version U, from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:42:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEDMAN announced,  without  objection,  CSHB 263(HSS)  is                                                               
moved to the next committee of referral.                                                                                        

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