Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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Moved HB 56 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
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Heard & Held
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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                   
                         April 2, 2019                                                                                          
                           8:01 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Sara Hannan, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Sharon Jackson                                                                                                   
Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 56                                                                                                               
"An  Act  establishing May  15  of  each year  as  Hmong-American                                                               
Veterans Day."                                                                                                                  
     - MOVED HB 56 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 32                                                                                                               
"An  Act making  certain entities  that are  exempt from  federal                                                               
taxation  under 26  U.S.C.  501(c)(3), (4),  (6),  (12), or  (19)                                                               
(Internal  Revenue  Code),   regional  housing  authorities,  and                                                               
federally recognized tribes  eligible for a loan  from the Alaska                                                               
energy  efficiency revolving  loan fund;  relating to  loans from                                                               
the Alaska  energy efficiency revolving  loan fund;  and relating                                                               
to  the annual  report published  by the  Alaska Housing  Finance                                                               
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 70                                                                                                               
"An  Act  relating  to health  education  and  physical  activity                                                               
requirements for  students in grades kindergarten  through eight;                                                               
and establishing  the Thursday in February  immediately following                                                               
Presidents' Day as PLAAY Day."                                                                                                  
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB  56                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ESTABLISH HMONG-AMERICAN VETERANS DAY                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
02/20/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/19       (H)       MLV, CRA                                                                                               
03/05/19       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/05/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/05/19       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
03/07/19       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/07/19       (H)       Moved HB 56 Out of Committee                                                                           
03/07/19       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
03/08/19       (H)       MLV RPT 7DP                                                                                            
03/08/19       (H)       DP: THOMPSON, KOPP, RAUSCHER, TARR,                                                                    
                         JACKSON, TUCK, LEDOUX                                                                                  
03/28/19       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/28/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/28/19       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/02/19       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
BILL: HB  32                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AK ENERGY EFFICIENCY LOANS: ELIGIBILITY                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                    
02/20/19       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/11/19                                                                               
02/20/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/19       (H)       CRA, FIN                                                                                               
04/02/19       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
BILL: HB  70                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MAND. PHYS. ACTIVITY SCHOOLS; PLAAY DAY                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) RASMUSSEN                                                                                         
02/25/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/25/19       (H)       CRA, EDC                                                                                               
04/02/19       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor of HB 56, offered to                                                                    
answer questions from the committee.                                                                                            
JOHN SCANLON, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  On behalf of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                              
prime sponsor on HB 32, answered questions regarding the bill.                                                                  
STACY BARNES, Director                                                                                                          
Governmental Relations and Public Affairs                                                                                       
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing on HB 32, answered                                                                    
ERIC HAVELOCK, Lending Officer                                                                                                  
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information during the hearing on                                                                
HB 32.                                                                                                                          
CHRIS ROSE, Executive Director                                                                                                  
Renewable Energy Alaska Project                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 32.                                                                   
KRYSTEN WALKER, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 70 on behalf of Representative                                                              
Rasmussen, prime sponsor.                                                                                                       
TODD BROCIOUS                                                                                                                   
Career & Technical Education/Alternative Schools Health                                                                         
Assessment and Accountability                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing on HB 70, answered                                                                    
DENALI DANIELS, President                                                                                                       
Denali Daniels and Associates                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 70.                                                                           
KELLY LESSENS                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 70.                                                                           
CAREY CARPENTER                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 70.                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:01:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HARRIET   DRUMMOND  called  the  House   Community  and                                                             
Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee  meeting to  order at  8:01                                                               
a.m.   Representatives  Kreiss-Tomkins,  Jackson, Revak,  Hannan,                                                               
and Drummond were present at  the call to order.  Representatives                                                               
Claman and Thompson arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                     
          HB 56-ESTABLISH HMONG-AMERICAN VETERANS DAY                                                                       
8:02:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND announced  that  the first  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 56, "An Act establishing  May 15 of each                                                               
year as Hmong-American Veterans Day."                                                                                           
8:03:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor  of  HB   56,  offered  to  answer   questions  from  the                                                               
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND noted that no amendments had been submitted.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR opined  that  HB 56  was important,  because                                                               
"whenever  we do  something  to  honor the  people  that are  our                                                               
neighbors, especially for  their service to our  country, I think                                                               
we're doing the right thing."                                                                                                   
8:04:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN moved  to report  HB  56 out  of committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There  being no objection, HB 56 was  reported out of the                                                               
House Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                        
8:04:53 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 8:05 a.m.                                                                                 
         HB 32-AK ENERGY EFFICIENCY LOANS: ELIGIBILITY                                                                      
8:05:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  announced that  the  next  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 32,  "An Act making certain entities that                                                               
are exempt from federal taxation  under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3), (4),                                                               
(6),  (12), or  (19)  (Internal Revenue  Code), regional  housing                                                               
authorities, and federally recognized  tribes eligible for a loan                                                               
from the  Alaska energy efficiency revolving  loan fund; relating                                                               
to loans from  the Alaska energy efficiency  revolving loan fund;                                                               
and  relating  to  the  annual report  published  by  the  Alaska                                                               
Housing Finance Corporation."                                                                                                   
8:07:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS,  as  prime   sponsor  of  HB  32,                                                               
introduced the  bill and related  its history.   He said  this is                                                               
the  third  legislature  in  which   this  legislation  has  been                                                               
introduced.  He said two  legislatures ago the legislation passed                                                               
out of two  committees of referral and "died" in  the House Rules                                                               
Standing  Committee.   Last legislature,  the legislation  passed                                                               
all House  committees and  then "died" in  its last  committee of                                                               
referral in the  Senate.  He expressed his hope  that HB 56 would                                                               
"get all the way through" this attempt.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS stated that  HB 32 would expand the                                                               
Alaska Energy Efficiency Revolving  Loan Fund (AEERLF) to include                                                               
nonprofits.     Currently,  those  eligible  for   the  fund  are                                                               
municipalities and  state government.  Nonprofits  would include,                                                               
for   example,  church   councils,   housing  authorities,   arts                                                               
councils,  and soup  kitchens that  may  have energy  inefficient                                                               
buildings   but  insufficient   capital  to   expend  on   energy                                                               
efficiency improvements.                                                                                                        
8:10:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   JACKSON  asked   why   the  legislation   "died"                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  answered  that would  be  a  good                                                               
question for  the co-chair of  the Senate Finance  Committee, who                                                               
is no longer a legislator.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON asked,  if a  nonprofit was  not able  to                                                               
make  the payments  on  the loan  allowed under  HB  32, who  the                                                               
responsible party would be.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  offered  his  understanding  that                                                               
currently  a loan  from  AEERLF  is given  only  when the  entity                                                               
applying for the loan has  demonstrated energy inefficiencies and                                                               
an audit has  been done.  The audit determines  how much money is                                                               
being  lost per  month due  to the  energy inefficiency,  and the                                                               
amount of the loan payment is  set at that amount; therefore, the                                                               
amount of money  the entity pays essentially stays the  same.  He                                                               
concluded that the  risk of an entity being unable  to pay on the                                                               
loan is low.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON asked  why HB 32 would  not include "small                                                               
and independent businesses."                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    KREISS-TOMKINS    answered    that    nonprofit                                                               
organizations are generally  cash poor in terms of  being able to                                                               
make investments.  He pointed  out that when this legislation was                                                               
first  introduced, Alaska  was just  beginning to  experience its                                                               
budget deficit.   Not too  many years  prior, he said,  the state                                                               
had been  "riding the  gravy train," and  any entity  that wanted                                                               
cash to  upgrade a  building came to  the legislature  "with hand                                                               
outstretched" and requested  a capital grant.   He indicated that                                                               
the AEERLF  would be  a means to  help nonprofit  entities become                                                               
more self-sufficient.   He said he thinks there  is an assumption                                                               
that nonprofits do good, and "we want to help."                                                                                 
8:17:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN asked about the  current number of loans and what                                                               
the success rate of the loans is.                                                                                               
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND noted  Stacy  Barnes from  the Alaska  Housing                                                               
Finance Corporation (AHFC) was available to answer questions.                                                                   
8:17:38 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  SCANLON,  Staff,  Representative  Jonathan  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins, prime sponsor of HB  32, replied that AEERLF was created                                                               
in 2010  and allowed AHFC to  bond up to $250  million to finance                                                               
energy  efficiency improvements.   He  offered his  understanding                                                               
that since  that time one  loan of $2.5  million, to the  City of                                                               
Galena, has been closed.                                                                                                        
8:18:21 AM                                                                                                                    
STACY  BARNES,   Director,  Governmental  Relations   and  Public                                                               
Affairs,  Alaska  Housing  Finance  Corporation,  confirmed  that                                                               
there has been one loan closed.   In response to Co-Chair Hannan,                                                               
she reported that AHFC has had  some interest in the loan program                                                               
over  the years.    She offered  information  regarding the  loan                                                               
program  in   the  context  of  a   current  Anchorage  Municipal                                                               
election,  in which  voters  are  being asked  to  decide upon  a                                                               
proposal for  an Anchorage School  District bond.   She indicated                                                               
that the includes just over $59  million in projects, a number of                                                               
which  might be  eligible  for the  [AEERLF],  which would  total                                                               
approximately $30  million.  She  said there are  several reasons                                                               
that the Anchorage School District  would not approach AHFC for a                                                               
loan.  She continued:                                                                                                           
     With this  bill, we see  it as  being one more  tool in                                                                    
     the  toolbox.    A   Community  Reinvestment  Act  made                                                                    
     pricing competitive  for nonprofit and  public entities                                                                    
     to go elsewhere, whether it's  through a bond proposal,                                                                    
     like  Anchorage  voters  are being  asked  to  vote  on                                                                    
     today,  or if  it's other  sources of  financing across                                                                    
     the state and in the private sector.                                                                                       
MS.  BARNES  responded  to   follow-up  questions  from  Co-Chair                                                               
Hannan.   She confirmed that the  loan to Galena is  the only one                                                               
that has  been closed  since 2010.   She confirmed  that "closed"                                                               
means "open";  therefore, only  one entity  is carrying  the loan                                                               
under AEERLF currently.   She said financing may  be available up                                                               
to 15  years for any  given project; therefore, "the  Galena loan                                                               
is still active and open on our books."                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  expressed surprise  that more entities  have not                                                               
MS. BARNES responded that AHFC  has a couple departments that are                                                               
involved in the loans:   the Research and Rural Development, also                                                               
known as  the Energy Department;  and the Mortgage  and Financing                                                               
Department.  She  said the Energy Department  has been aggressive                                                               
in talking  with leaders across  the state, including  the Alaska                                                               
Municipal  League  (AML),  so  there has  been  interest  in  the                                                               
program.   However,  in many  cases, communities  may choose  "to                                                               
bond on  their own  or have  found cheaper  financing elsewhere."                                                               
She  AHFC  views itself  as  "one  tool  in  the toolbox."    She                                                               
referred to  the letters of  support in the committee  packet and                                                               
offered  one misconception  is that  "this  loan would  be a  ...                                                               
subsidized  rate  -   low-cost  financing  -  and   that  is  not                                                               
necessarily true."  She said there  may be other options that are                                                               
in the  best interest  of the nonprofit  or local  government for                                                               
accessing financing outside of AHFC.                                                                                            
8:23:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON recollected  that at  the time  the loan                                                               
was initialized and  from about 2010-2014, many  entities had the                                                               
energy efficiency of  their buildings tested, but  because of the                                                               
availability  of capital  at the  time, a  lot of  these entities                                                               
preferred to apply  for grants rather than apply for  a loan.  He                                                               
said there  are a  lot of  places that  could still  benefit from                                                               
this loan.                                                                                                                      
MS. BARNES  said Representative Thompson  was correct.   She said                                                               
AHFC  received federal  money through  the American  Recovery and                                                               
Reinvestment  Act   and  was  able  to   benchmark  1,300  public                                                               
facilities  and conduct  investment-grade  audits  on 327  public                                                               
buildings,  and "the  potential  was  great at  the  time."   She                                                               
added, "But you'll also recall that  the price of oil was at over                                                               
$100 per  barrel, and so,  the energy efficiency savings  at that                                                               
time was also greater than it is in this current environment."                                                                  
8:25:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REVAK  asked what the  total cost of the  loan was                                                               
in relation to the estimate of the work that needed to be done.                                                                 
MS. BARNES answered that the  loan itself was consistent with the                                                               
estimate  that was  provided through  the investment-grade  audit                                                               
that had been performed prior to closing of the loan.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE REVAK  said the  customer gets a  loan and  a more                                                               
efficient building but his/her costs  remain the same - there are                                                               
no savings.   He said he  assumes that is under  the estimate for                                                               
the work  that is to  be done.   He questioned what  happens when                                                               
the work done exceeds the estimate.                                                                                             
MS.  BARNES  answered  that  AHFC  would  close  the  loan  after                                                               
completion of  the work,  so it  would know  what the  costs were                                                               
prior to closing of the loan.                                                                                                   
8:27:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS added  that as soon as  the loan is                                                               
paid  back,  the nonprofit  entity  would  begin to  save  money,                                                               
because the building would be more energy efficient.                                                                            
8:28:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON asked about  variants to interest rates on                                                               
the loans.                                                                                                                      
MS. BARNES answered  that the rate is determined at  the time the                                                               
loan is  closed and  is based on  several factors,  including the                                                               
duration  of  the   loan  and  the  risk   associated  with  that                                                               
particular loan.                                                                                                                
8:29:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN asked  about the duration and rate  of the Galena                                                               
8:29:53 AM                                                                                                                    
ERIC   HAVELOCK,   Lending   Officer,  Alaska   Housing   Finance                                                               
Corporation, recollected  that the term  for the Galena  loan was                                                               
15 years, at an interest rate just under 4 percent.                                                                             
8:30:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS ROSE,  Executive Director, Renewable Energy  Alaska Project                                                               
(REAP), spoke.  [Due to  technical difficulties, the first minute                                                               
of Mr. Rose's testimony was inaudible.]                                                                                         
8:31:30 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 8:31 a.m.                                                                                 
8:31:35 AM                                                                                                                    
[Partially inaudible testimony.]                                                                                                
MR. ROSE stated  that Alaskans are spending $5  billion on energy                                                               
annually;  that includes  transportation  fuel, electricity,  and                                                               
heat.     He  said  in   2008,  the  legislature  made   a  large                                                               
appropriation to the Weatherization  Rebate Program.  Over 50,000                                                               
homes  have  been  energy retrofitted,  and  AHFC  estimates  the                                                               
average savings  to be  30 percent.   He  stated that  REAP knows                                                               
there is  money to be saved  and it is important  to "push energy                                                               
efficiency."     He   said  REAP   thinks  there   are  nonprofit                                                               
organizations  that would  like  to take  advantage  of the  loan                                                               
program that would be available to them under HB 32.                                                                            
MR. ROSE related  that for various reasons, some  of the original                                                               
targets for the loan program have  decided not to take the loans.                                                               
He  surmised  some  nonprofit  buildings   have  been  bonded  or                                                               
nonprofit groups  may have  hoped the state  would have  money to                                                               
give.   He said those are  not options for nonprofits,  but those                                                               
nonprofits would be able to  borrow money through AEERLF under HB                                                               
MR. ROSE  said payback periods  vary, but nationwide, it  is easy                                                               
to estimate  what an improvement  will cost and what  its payback                                                               
period  will be,  then to  structure  the loan  accordingly.   He                                                               
said, "There  is an awareness  of how much  the loan is  going to                                                               
have to be serviced given the interest rate and the terms."                                                                     
8:34:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  connected with  Mr. Rose to  let him  know the                                                               
first portion  of his testimony  had not  been heard.   She asked                                                               
him to repeat the information.                                                                                                  
8:35:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE stated that there is a  huge amount of savings to be had                                                               
through AHFC  loans, and part of  the reason this is  apparent is                                                               
because  AHFC has  had success  with the  grants it  gave in  its                                                               
residential  programs.   He said  public and  nonprofit buildings                                                               
"will probably  have the same  opportunity to save  30-40 percent                                                               
on their energy  bills, depending on the shape  of the building."                                                               
He  echoed  Representative  Thompson's  remark that  one  of  the                                                               
possible reasons [owners of] public  buildings did not seek out a                                                               
loan back  in 2010 was  that they hoped to  get a grant  from the                                                               
state.   Further, many public  entities have the ability  to bond                                                               
on their own.  He  indicated those choices are "definitely lesser                                                               
opportunities  for nonprofits  today."   He reiterated  that REAP                                                               
believes that there  are some decision makers  at the nonprofits,                                                               
who would take  the opportunity to take a loan  from AHFC through                                                               
8:37:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON recalled  that  in the  past, after  the                                                               
energy  efficiency   evaluations  were   done,  there   had  been                                                               
variances in  loan rates.   He questioned  how many  who realized                                                               
they  could have  "a  savings on  energy  efficiency" might  have                                                               
approached other  commercial entities  because of  lower interest                                                               
rates there than with AHFC.   He recalled some banks reacted back                                                               
then by  claiming they  could meet or  beat the  offered interest                                                               
rates.  He asked how  many places completed the energy efficiency                                                               
upgrades but not with AHFC loans.                                                                                               
MR. ROSE replied  he does not have that data  but anecdotally has                                                               
heard  the  same thing:    entities  could  either find  a  lower                                                               
interest  rate somewhere  else or  bond themselves.   He  said he                                                               
knows for  a fact that many  building [owners] did "go  ahead and                                                               
do  energy  efficiency   anyway,  not  using  this   fund."    He                                                               
concluded, "That  is true that the  interest rate may or  may not                                                               
have been competitive for some entities."                                                                                       
8:39:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  opened public  testimony  on  HB 32.    After                                                               
ascertaining that  there was  no one who  wished to  testify, she                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
8:39:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN  opined that  this was good  legislation in                                                               
the last  legislative session,  and he  thanked the  bill sponsor                                                               
for keeping it going.                                                                                                           
8:39:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND, in  response  to  Co-Chair Hannan,  clarified                                                               
that the bill would be accompanied by a zero fiscal note.                                                                       
8:40:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  said for  four to five  years now,                                                               
he  has   maintained  dialogue  with   the  Division   of  Public                                                               
Facilities  within  the  Department of  Transportation  &  Public                                                               
Facilities  (DOT&PF)  regarding   energy  efficiencies  in  state                                                               
buildings.   He  noted that  the State  of Alaska  is one  of the                                                               
eligible entities and  has many facilities, not all  of which are                                                               
energy  efficient.   He  said  there  have been  investment-grade                                                               
audits demonstrating that "there  are some improvements that have                                                               
pretty competitive paybacks."  He  said DOT&PF has proceeded with                                                               
some of the energy efficiency improvements.   He said he had been                                                               
curious  as to  whether the  agency would  take advantage  of the                                                               
AEERLF or seek other capital.   He said the agency put together a                                                               
substantial energy  efficiency investment package a  couple years                                                               
ago and  found a  more competitive interest  rate elsewhere.   He                                                               
said he is  "cautiously optimistic" that [the  provision under HB                                                               
32] and "the  specialized nature of this" will fill  the void for                                                               
smaller nonprofit  organizations that are less  sophisticated and                                                               
do not have access to more institutional capital.                                                                               
8:44:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND said  the recent  renovation  of the  Capitol,                                                               
which  included upgrading  exterior  walls,  doors, and  windows,                                                               
showed good results.   She said she is interested  in finding out                                                               
from the  Legislative Affairs Agency  how much savings  in energy                                                               
costs is being seen now as a result.                                                                                            
8:45:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND announced that HB 32 was held over.                                                                           
         HB 70-MAND. PHYS. ACTIVITY SCHOOLS; PLAAY DAY                                                                      
8:45:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND announced  that  the final  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 70,  "An Act relating to health education                                                               
and  physical  activity  requirements   for  students  in  grades                                                               
kindergarten  through eight;  and  establishing  the Thursday  in                                                               
February immediately following Presidents' Day as PLAAY Day."                                                                   
8:46:02 AM                                                                                                                    
KRYSTEN  WALKER,  Staff,  Representative Sara  Rasmussen,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented HB  70 on behalf  of Representative                                                               
Rasmussen, prime sponsor.   She paraphrased parts  of the sponsor                                                               
statement [included in  the committee packet], which  read in its                                                               
entirety as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                            
     First,  House  Bill  70 amends  state  law  to  require                                                                    
     schools to provide 90% of  the daily amount of physical                                                                    
     activity  recommended for  children and  adolescents in                                                                    
     the physical  activity guidelines  by the  U.S. Centers                                                                    
     for  Disease  Control   and  Prevention  (CDC)  through                                                                    
     physical  education  classes or  unstructured  physical                                                                    
     activity, like  recess, or a  combination of  both. Our                                                                    
     state  has  consistently  ranked  poorly  in  education                                                                    
     outcomes compared to  the rest of our  nation. A report                                                                    
     by the  CDC showed  documented links  between increased                                                                    
     physical activity and improved academic performance.                                                                       
     Currently, the  CDC recommends a minimum  of 60 minutes                                                                    
     per day  of physical activity for  children. Therefore,                                                                    
     this  bill  requires  90%,  or   54  minutes,  of  that                                                                    
     recommended   activity  occur   at  school.   The  bill                                                                    
     provides   exemptions   for   students   with   medical                                                                    
     restrictions, for  students that receive  school credit                                                                    
     for    participation    in     athletics    or    other                                                                    
     extracurricular  physical  activities, and  for  health                                                                    
     and safety reasons like inclement weather.                                                                                 
     Additionally,  HB   70  establishes  the   Thursday  in                                                                    
     February  immediately  following   Presidents'  Day  as                                                                    
     PLAAY  Day, which  stands for  Positive Leadership  for                                                                    
     Active  Alaska  Youth.  Elementary schools  around  the                                                                    
     state  are   encouraged  to  celebrate  PLAAY   Day  by                                                                    
     engaging in synchronized physical  activity at 10am. As                                                                    
     childhood obesity rates have  been increasing in recent                                                                    
     years PLAAY  Day provides a  dedicated day and  time to                                                                    
     emphasize the  importance of physical activity  and can                                                                    
     help  generate  enthusiasm  for  and  commitment  to  a                                                                    
     lifetime of physical activity.                                                                                             
     As  we tackle  complex  issues facing  our students  in                                                                    
     Alaska,  this bill  provides one  avenue through  which                                                                    
     our  state   can  work  toward   improving  educational                                                                    
     outcomes, combatting  chronic illness resulting  from a                                                                    
     lack  of physical  activity, and  build  a lifetime  of                                                                    
     commitment to healthy living.                                                                                              
8:47:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WALKER addressed the sectional analysis [included in the                                                                    
committee packet], which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                  
     Section 1:  AS 14.30.360(c)  Amends AS  14.30.360(c) by                                                                    
     replacing  "may"  with  "shall." This  change  requires                                                                    
     physical  education classes  and unstructured  physical                                                                    
     activity to  be counted toward  the amount of  time for                                                                    
     physical  activity   recommended  in   school  district                                                                    
     guidelines. Adds a  subparagraph to AS 14.30.360(c)(2),                                                                    
     providing   an   exemption   from   physical   activity                                                                    
     opportunities for a student  who receives school credit                                                                    
       for participation in athletics or extracurricular                                                                        
     physical activities.                                                                                                       
     Section  2: AS  44.12.107 Establishes  the Thursday  in                                                                    
     February  immediately  following   Presidents'  Day  as                                                                    
     PLAAY Day and  provides that PLAAY Day  may be observed                                                                    
     by  elementary school  students  across Alaska  through                                                                    
     synchronized physical activity                                                                                             
8:48:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON  asked, "Don't they still  have recess for                                                               
kindergarten up to whatever grade?"                                                                                             
MS. WALKER  answered that HB 70  would require 90 percent  of the                                                               
Center for Disease Control's (CDC's) recommendation.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON   offered  her  understanding   that  Ted                                                               
Stevens' "Get  Out to  Play" takes place  the fourth  Saturday in                                                               
July  when there  is  a full  day of  activity.   She  questioned                                                               
whether HB 70 would be redundant.                                                                                               
MS. WALKER responded that she is not aware of that program.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON talked about  the commercials for "Get Out                                                               
to Play."   She shared  that she  has volunteered for  the event,                                                               
and  she  said  it  is  amazing how  many  children  and  parents                                                               
participate.  She questioned whether  a mandate to the Department                                                               
of  Education  & Early  Development  (EED)  would be  "pushing  a                                                               
little too  hard on  what we  are demanding."   In response  to a                                                               
request for  clarification, she  said she  was talking  about the                                                               
PLAAY date.  She asked whether  EED would have to seek volunteers                                                               
or increase staffing "for this particular day."                                                                                 
MS.  WALKER offered  her  understanding  that HB  70  "is just  a                                                               
recommendation"  for participation  on  a certain  day and  time.                                                               
The  part  that  would  be  required, she  noted,  is  the  daily                                                               
physical activity.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON  expressed  confusion, because  she  said                                                               
children already  have recess; therefore, she  questioned why the                                                               
legislature would mandate more.                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  noted  that  Todd  Brocious,  from  EED,  was                                                               
available to respond  to questions.  She said she  does not think                                                               
the  proposed  legislation  would   impact  activities  in  July,                                                               
because that month  "is generally outside the school  year."  She                                                               
surmised  that  [Get   Out  to  Play]  was   "a  whole  different                                                               
8:53:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN  emphasized he  is a proponent  of physical                                                               
activity.   He  questioned what  impact  a change  from "may"  to                                                               
"shall"  could have  on  the current  school  curriculum, and  he                                                               
asked whether school  districts are prepared to  make the changes                                                               
that would be  required under HB 70.   He said he  saw no letters                                                               
of support or opposition from school districts.                                                                                 
MS.  WALKER  responded  she  thinks  it would  be  up  to  school                                                               
districts  to determine  how  to fit  in  [the physical  activity                                                               
requirements under  HB 70].   She said students across  the state                                                               
are struggling  with reading and  other curriculum,  and research                                                               
shows that physical activity "increases educational outcomes."                                                                  
8:54:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN  asked  how many  of  the  kindergarten  through                                                               
eighth grade ("K-8") programs in  Anchorage currently do not meet                                                               
the standard.                                                                                                                   
MS. WALKER said she did not know but could get that information.                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN  referred  to   language,  essentially  about  a                                                               
waiver,  on page  2, beginning  line 7,  in Section  1, paragraph                                                               
(2), subparagraph (B), which read:                                                                                              
          (B) a student who receives school credit for                                                                      
     participation in athletics or extracurricular physical                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN asked  how many  school  districts already  have                                                               
that policy in place.                                                                                                           
MS. WALKER answered that she does not know.                                                                                     
8:55:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  shared that  like  Representative                                                               
Claman,  he is  a proponent  of physical  activity but  expressed                                                               
caution about mandates.   He said many schools  are already below                                                               
the  current  threshold  [for   required  physical  activity  for                                                               
students]  and  under  HB  70  would  have  to  meet  [a  higher]                                                               
threshold.  He  asked Ms. Walker if [the bill  sponsor and staff]                                                               
had engaged  in conversation with the  public education community                                                               
about "the opportunity  cost" or "what would be  displaced out of                                                               
the day to accommodate this requirement."                                                                                       
MS. WALKER  said she  personally has  not had  that conversation,                                                               
but the bill sponsor has.                                                                                                       
8:57:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  offered that  the  committee  would have  the                                                               
opportunity to discuss HB 70 again.                                                                                             
8:57:32 AM                                                                                                                    
TODD BROCIOUS,  Career & Technical  Education/Alternative Schools                                                               
Health,  Assessment and  Accountability, Department  of Education                                                               
and Early Development (EED), advised  that the responsibility for                                                               
deciding whether to  implement the proposed PLAAY  Day would fall                                                               
with districts; the  department would not have an  active role in                                                               
the decision.   He said EED does not track  the number of schools                                                               
or districts that offer credit  for participation in athletics or                                                               
extracurricular  activities,  "so  we don't  know  the  statewide                                                               
impact of that."                                                                                                                
8:58:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN asked  how many  K-8 programs  statewide already                                                               
have 60 minutes of daily activity for students.                                                                                 
MR.  BROCIOUS answered  that the  department does  not know.   He                                                               
added, "I  think there's wide  variability from ... what  we know                                                               
in how physical activity ...  is implemented and the exact number                                                               
of minutes that are offered."                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN noted  that currently  HB 70  has a  zero fiscal                                                               
note.    She asked  whether  the  proposed daily  activity  would                                                               
require  EED to  conduct monitoring  of 54  school districts  and                                                               
hundreds of schools across the state to ensure they comply.                                                                     
MR.  BROCIOUS  reiterated  that  the  proposed  legislation  does                                                               
explicitly require  EED to have  an enforcement  role; therefore,                                                               
the department  would not  be checking  with districts  to ensure                                                               
compliance; that would be a district-level responsibility.                                                                      
9:00:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  pointed out  that the  fiscal note  applies to                                                               
EED, not to  the schools; therefore, if there  was a requirement,                                                               
"it  would reflect  on tasks  that the  department would  have to                                                               
do."   She  said  she thinks  the committee  needs  to hear  from                                                               
school districts  at some point,  "regarding their  perception of                                                               
what the cost might be."                                                                                                        
9:00:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked whether  EED has  a position                                                               
on HB 70.                                                                                                                       
MR.  BROCIOUS  answered  that  the department  has  not  taken  a                                                               
position on the proposed legislation.                                                                                           
9:00:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN requested the  bill sponsor obtain a letter                                                               
or a spokesperson  from the Anchorage School  District to provide                                                               
the  district's position  on HB  70.   Particularly,  he said  he                                                               
would like to  know the district's position on the  impact of the                                                               
proposed legislation  on curriculum  and costs  and how  many K-8                                                               
schools  are  currently  "in  compliance  with  these  guidelines                                                               
9:01:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON, referring  to the aforementioned document                                                               
"Connecting  Physical  Activity  to Academic  Grades,"  expressed                                                               
curiosity as to whether there is  already a state law requiring a                                                               
daily  amount  of physical  activity  and  why  it is  not  being                                                               
monitored and enforced.                                                                                                         
9:02:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON,  regarding  the  issue  of  monitoring,                                                               
stated  that  "we  keep  throwing   more  and  more  onto  school                                                               
districts"  that   requires  reports,  which  is   a  reason  the                                                               
administration in school  districts has grown.   He concluded, "I                                                               
don't want to see us adding more."                                                                                              
9:02:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND announced  the  committee  would hear  invited                                                               
9:02:48 AM                                                                                                                    
DENALI DANIELS, President, Denali  Daniels and Associates, stated                                                               
that her  company provides facilitation, strategic  planning, and                                                               
policy  research  to  clients, which  are  typically  nonprofits,                                                               
government, and  small businesses  in Alaska.   She said  DDA has                                                               
offices in Anchorage  and Juneau.  She relayed that  in 2014, her                                                               
team conducted  research on  behalf of  the Department  of Health                                                               
and  Social  Services (DHSS);  the  [outcome]  is in  the  public                                                               
domain and  has been widely  circulated.  She clarified  that she                                                               
does not  represent the  state in her  comments; she  speaks from                                                               
the standpoint  of the work  her team did  in 2014.   Ms. Daniels                                                               
indicated  that  her  comments  are  typically  provided  with  a                                                               
PowerPoint, but  she acknowledged the PowerPoint  was not provide                                                               
at this meeting.   In response to Co-Chair  Drummond, she offered                                                               
to provide the PowerPoint at some point.                                                                                        
9:04:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DANIELS  shared that the genesis  of DDA's work was  based on                                                               
the  obesity problem  in Alaska.    She said  Alaska spends  $459                                                               
million  annually  on  direct healthcare  costs  associated  with                                                               
obesity.   She said 77 percent  of adults and 26  percent of high                                                               
school age Alaskans  are obese.  She said the  Center for Disease                                                               
Control  (CDC)   has  tied   academic  performance   to  physical                                                               
activity.  She  stated, "While we all know there  is a connection                                                               
between obesity  and physical activity, our  research was focused                                                               
specifically on recess and [physical  education] (PE) policies in                                                               
the  school  districts."   She  related  that CDC  recommends  60                                                               
minutes of  moderate to  vigorous physical  activity per  day for                                                               
school-aged  children.   The National  Association  of Sport  and                                                               
Physical Education  recommends 150 minutes of  physical education                                                               
each week  at the elementary level  and 225 minutes each  week at                                                               
the secondary level.                                                                                                            
MS.  DANIELS names  two noteworthy  federal policies:   the  2004                                                               
Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization  Act, which established a                                                               
requirement for wellness  policies as a condition  for the school                                                               
meal program eligibility; and the  2010 Healthy Hunger Free Kid's                                                               
Act, an  effort to  define model wellness  policies.   She opined                                                               
these  two policies  are important  to  understand when  crafting                                                               
state policies [related to wellness of children in schools].                                                                    
9:06:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DANIELS  said the DDA project  was two-part.  The  first part                                                               
was a  survey of all 54  school districts, in which  29 questions                                                               
were asked about  the status of the schools'  wellness policies -                                                               
particularly in  relation to PE  and recess time, both  in policy                                                               
and  in  practice.    The  second part  was  collecting  all  the                                                               
wellness policies  possible and  conducting a policy  analysis of                                                               
the strengths  of the  PE and recess  elements of  those policies                                                               
using  a coding  scheme established  by the  Robert Wood  Johnson                                                               
Foundation.   She said DDA was  proud to have accomplished  a 100                                                               
percent response  rate for  the survey.   She said  Mt. Edgecombe                                                               
was  included in  the  schools surveyed  but may  not  show in  a                                                               
certain response because it was a  question that did not apply to                                                               
high school.                                                                                                                    
MS. DANIELS  shared some "high-level  statistics."   She prefaced                                                               
those by offering  her understanding that HB 70  would apply only                                                               
to K-12.  Regarding the survey, she stated:                                                                                     
     Only  32  percent  of  districts  told  us  that  their                                                                    
     elementary schools  have written  policies, and  only 6                                                                    
     percent  of districts  said their  middle schools  have                                                                    
     written policies.                                                                                                          
     When  we  go on  to  ask  whether they  have  unwritten                                                                    
     recess practices, over half of  the districts said both                                                                    
     elementary  and  middle   schools  don't  have  written                                                                    
     policies, but  they do have  unwritten practices.   So,                                                                    
     that's  a  disconnect that  emerges  as  we talk  about                                                                    
     policies versus practices.                                                                                                 
MS. DANIELS said 10 districts  said they had neither policies nor                                                               
practices.  She next addressed the subject of PE:                                                                               
     When asked about written  PE policies, school districts                                                                    
     reported  much higher  incidence  of written  policies:                                                                    
     53  percent, respectively,  for  elementary and  middle                                                                    
     school, reported having written  PE policies.  But here                                                                    
     again,   we  see   a  sizeable   number  of   unwritten                                                                    
MS. DANIELS  said she found it  surprising to find out  there are                                                               
districts  that  say  they  have  no PE  policies  -  written  or                                                               
unwritten.     She  reported  that  five   districts  said  their                                                               
elementary schools did not have  any policies or practices, while                                                               
seven districts  said [there were]  "none at the  middle school."                                                               
She  reminded   the  committee  that  these   were  reports  from                                                               
districts, not schools; therefore,  "we're probably talking about                                                               
a number of kids here."                                                                                                         
9:10:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DANIELS, regarding  the policy analysis, stated  that DDA was                                                               
able  to  collect  51  of   the  54  school  districts'  wellness                                                               
policies,  and  her  group  scored them  using  the  Robert  Wood                                                               
Johnson methodology.  She reported the results as follows:                                                                      
     So,  33 percent  of Alaska's  school districts  did not                                                                    
     have  a  policy or  had  a  policy  that had  not  been                                                                    
     updated since 2007.   So, remember, 2007  was after the                                                                    
     new  federal requirement  was in  place for  the school                                                                    
     lunch program, but before the  2010 Healthy Hunger Free                                                                    
     Kids  Act would  establish  model policies,  so we  can                                                                    
     look back  in time and  kind of see where  things lined                                                                    
     up in terms of federal  policy and how school districts                                                                    
     responded to those ... recommendations.                                                                                    
MS. DANIELS  shared the responses  regarding recess policy.   She                                                               
said  50 percent  of  districts indicated  there  were no  recess                                                               
policies, and 100 percent indicated  no policies were written for                                                               
middle  school.   In  terms  of PE,  she  related  that while  40                                                               
percent  of  school  districts  do   not  have  PE  policies  for                                                               
elementary schools, 60 percent of  Alaska's school districts that                                                               
do have  policies.  Further,  90 percent of all  school districts                                                               
reported  having unwritten  practices  at  the elementary  level.                                                               
Ms. Daniels said that is not  necessarily bad, but "we just don't                                                               
know what's really going on there."   She said the statistics for                                                               
middle  schools show  58  percent with  written  policies and  83                                                               
percent with unwritten policies.                                                                                                
MS.  DANIELS said  in  2014, DDA  heard  anecdotally from  school                                                               
districts that  they value physical  activity; however,  she said                                                               
there  is  a dramatic  disconnect  between  written policies  and                                                               
practice.   She stated, "There appears  to be a need  for further                                                               
exploration on  how to best  encourage school districts  to adopt                                                               
written  policies for  PE  and recess  in  elementary and  middle                                                               
9:12:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DANIELS stated her personal support  for HB 70.  She said her                                                               
background has shown  her how important physical  activity can be                                                               
to one's wellbeing.                                                                                                             
9:13:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  noted that  Ms.  Daniels'  52-page report  is                                                               
available on BASIS.                                                                                                             
9:13:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DANIELS, in response to  Representative Hannan, restated that                                                               
the 2014 study had been done for DHSS.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN asked  Ms. Daniels  if  she knew  when the  last                                                               
state curriculum overview of physical  education policies for the                                                               
school district was done by EED.                                                                                                
MS. DANIELS answered no.                                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  asked if the report  in 2014 was "just  given to                                                               
district level administration" or if  PE teachers in the Physical                                                               
Education Teachers Association were "contacted to participate."                                                                 
MS. DANIELS replied  that DDA began at  the administration level,                                                               
but there  were instances  where the group  was referred  to "the                                                               
other individuals that  you noted there."  She said,  "So, it was                                                               
a  wide  spectrum  depending  on  the  situation  at  the  school                                                               
district and  who was the  most appropriate person to  answer the                                                               
CO-CHAIR HANNAN recollected Ms. Daniels  had said that 50 percent                                                               
of the schools  had reported having recess policy.   She asked if                                                               
Ms. Daniels  had any  idea whether  those schools  were exceeding                                                               
the standards of minutes of  recess even without a written policy                                                               
and whether  those answering  the survey  had the  opportunity to                                                               
answer more than yes or no.                                                                                                     
MS. DANIELS mentioned the policy  analysis portion of DDA's work.                                                               
She said DDA  had questions about practices  versus policies, and                                                               
[the  answers]  suggest  that  "there  are  a  number  of  school                                                               
districts  that, while  they may  not have  policies in  place to                                                               
meet  the  minimum  recommendations  of the  CDC,  ...  certainly                                                               
practices  are occurring."   She  added, "But  we only  know that                                                               
9:16:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   said  there  is   a  correlation                                                               
between younger  kids being on  the playground and  being active,                                                               
but as  kids get older,  that correlation diminishes.   He stated                                                               
that the goal of  HB 70 is healthy and active  kids and the means                                                               
to  that  goal  is  to   require  physical  activity  time.    He                                                               
questioned how effective a tool  that would be for elementary and                                                               
middle school students.  He asked  if there is any analysis about                                                               
requirements and the actual movement they inspire.                                                                              
MS. DANIELS responded  that she does not recall  "getting to that                                                               
level of detail," but she said  she would look back through DDA's                                                               
work and get back to Representative Kreiss-Tomkins on that.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  requested either the  bill sponsor                                                               
or Ms.  Daniels look for that  statistic, if not in  Alaska, then                                                               
perhaps  nationally.    He  said  he  would  like  to  know  that                                                               
statistic if he is going to further consider a mandate.                                                                         
9:19:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON asked,  "Who's to say they  don't play ...                                                               
once they  get home?"  She  reflected that when she  was a child,                                                               
her  parents had  to drag  her  in from  play.   She referred  to                                                               
Representative Thompson's  previous remarks  about the  number of                                                               
mandates being  given.   She concluded,  "It's almost  like we're                                                               
disregarding the activity they have outside of school."                                                                         
9:20:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  Ms. Daniels'  whether the  DDA's report                                                               
was  presented  to  DHSS, perhaps  through  the  legislature  via                                                               
another  bill hearing  or "Lunch  and  Learn" where  it might  be                                                               
archived and accessible to the committee.                                                                                       
MS. DANIELS responded that in  2014, when the work was completed,                                                               
there  were no  formal presentations.   She  recollected that  in                                                               
2016, Senator Mia Costello sponsored  Senate Bill 200, and during                                                               
that  process there  were several  times that  DDA presented  the                                                               
findings in its work.                                                                                                           
9:21:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND opened public testimony on HB 70.                                                                             
9:22:13 AM                                                                                                                    
KELLY  LESSENS,  ASD60,  stated  that  she is  a  parent  in  the                                                               
Anchorage  School  District,  as  well as  a  co-founder  of  the                                                               
Anchorage-based  Recess and  Lunch Advocacy  Group "ASD60."   She                                                               
said  HB 70  would  improve  the statute  of  2016, which  merely                                                               
requires  the  districts  to establish  guildelines  promoting  a                                                               
certain amount  of physical  activity [in  schools].   She added,                                                               
"And it  also permits some  of that time  to be comprised  of in-                                                               
class  activity."   To a  previous question  about the  Anchorage                                                               
School District, she  said the district's guidelines  are for 100                                                               
minutes a week of  recess and 90 minutes a week of  PE.  She said                                                               
that  falls short  of "the  current  suggestion of  54 minutes  a                                                               
day."   She said HB  70 is  worded to "ameliorate  that problem."                                                               
Regarding  in-class activities  being  counted,  she opined  that                                                               
"sharpening  a pencil,  pivoting on  a rug,  or standing  for the                                                               
Pledge of Allegiance" is "not really  getting to what the CDC has                                                               
in mind as meeting 60 minutes  of moderate to vigorous quality of                                                               
activity that  all children  need."  She  urged the  committee to                                                               
amend HB 70  to require 60 minutes and "to  clarify that the time                                                               
required  for   such  physical  activity  may   include  physical                                                               
education and  opportunities for unstructured  physical activity,                                                               
like  recess."   She  said  such an  amendment  would promote  "a                                                               
fiscally  prudent  and  socially   equitable  means  to  increase                                                               
learning efficiency statewide."                                                                                                 
MS.  LESSENS, regarding  the zero  fiscal  note, said  additional                                                               
costs to  districts should be  minimal.   She said she  wants the                                                               
committee to  understand that "recess  should be an  extension of                                                               
classroom  learning,  so  you  could  have  a  teacher-supervised                                                               
recess or  additional amounts of  that at zero  additional cost."                                                               
She advised,  "The American Academy  of Pediatrics  has explained                                                               
that recess,  like no other  time in  a child's day,  enables the                                                               
youth  to   develop  their  executive  function,   improve  their                                                               
social/emotional learning, and improve the  quality of their peer                                                               
to  peer relationships."   Ms.  Lessens talked  about a  game her                                                               
daughter, who  is in second  grade, and her friends  invented and                                                               
how  this  is an  example  of  "how  kids  make plans,  they  are                                                               
creative, they use  up their energy, and they come  back to class                                                               
really ... reinvigorated, ready to learn."                                                                                      
9:25:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LESSENS  stated that not  only is  HB 70 affordable,  it also                                                               
deals with  the question  of justice and  equity.   She mentioned                                                               
her  website,  "ASD60.org,"  on   which  she  has  charted  every                                                               
Anchorage elementary  school's allocation  for recess  and lunch.                                                               
She said,  "The uncomfortable fact  here is that  schools serving                                                               
predominantly  poor students  and students  of color  grant lower                                                               
amounts of  time for recess and  ... lunch than their  whiter and                                                               
more well-off  counterparts do."   She  said this  echoes studies                                                               
nationwide where  urban schools and  schools where 75  percent of                                                               
students  receive  free  lunch  get less  recess  than  rural  or                                                               
suburban  schools.   Ms.  Lessens said  that  because the  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature is  constitutionally responsible  for ensuring                                                               
the  quality  and equity  of  all  students' educations,  she  is                                                               
"pretty sure  that all of  Alaska's kids  deserve evidence-based,                                                               
state-secured safeguards  in this respect."   She said  she knows                                                               
that many people emphasize the  importance of local control, both                                                               
at  the  district and  classroom  level;  however, "the  question                                                               
about  whether  the State  of  Alaska  has any  business  telling                                                               
districts how  much time  to allot  to physical  activity through                                                               
recess and  PE is really  disingenuous."  She indicated  that the                                                               
question  of  wearing  seatbelts   or  [not]  driving  under  the                                                               
influence is  not left  up to  local jurisdictions,  so statewide                                                               
evidence-based  minimums related  to the  health, wellbeing,  and                                                               
learning environments  of children  should not  be left  to local                                                               
MS.  LESSENS stated  that  allocating  time in  a  school day  to                                                               
recess and PE is not an issue  of how much academic time might be                                                               
lost, because recess and PE counter  rates of obesity, which is a                                                               
growing  crisis   that  costs  the  state   millions  of  dollars                                                               
annually.  Both recess and  PE bolster academic outcomes, improve                                                               
behavior, and  increase learning  efficiency.   To Representative                                                               
Kreiss-Tomkins' question as to how  effective HB 70 might be, Ms.                                                               
Lessens relayed that "the LiiNK  Program" in Texas gives children                                                               
four, fifteen-minute  recesses throughout  the day,  emulating [a                                                               
practice in]  Finland.  The results  have shown that kids  who go                                                               
out and  play [during school] actually  incorporate more activity                                                               
in their after-school  time.  She said she thinks  at a time when                                                               
children  go home  and spend  time on  their electronic  devices,                                                               
anything  that can  be  done to  promote  physical activity  that                                                               
carries over as a practice is valuable.                                                                                         
MS. LESSENS  said as  a parent, she  has observed  her daughter's                                                               
ability  to focus  in school  "hinges on  the fact  that on  some                                                               
days, her  classmates are  just too  wiggly to  sit still."   She                                                               
said she  knows that her children's  educational experiences will                                                               
be  "more  efficient,  enjoyable,  and  effective  if  the  state                                                               
ensures  that   all  children   have  daily   evidence-based  and                                                               
equitable access  to moderate to vigorous  physical activity that                                                               
the CDC  says they need  to be healthy,  and which can  only come                                                               
from recess or PE."                                                                                                             
9:28:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CAREY  CARPENTER, ASD60,  shared  that  she is  a  parent of  two                                                               
children in elementary  school and a young  adult cancer survivor                                                               
that understands  the importance of  health.  She  stated support                                                               
of HB 70.   She said last  year, on the first day  of school, her                                                               
children reported  to her that recess  had been "cut."   She said                                                               
she  was shocked,  because  recess and  PE  improve learning  and                                                               
support both  physical and  emotional health.   She said  she has                                                               
found  "significant  amounts  of  data" to  support  that.    Ms.                                                               
Carpenter opined that the physical  activity mandated under HB 70                                                               
is  necessary,  because  in  the three  years  since  a  physical                                                               
activity  law  was enacted,  many  districts  have not  made  any                                                               
changes resulting in  increased activity for children.   She said                                                               
currently her  children get "only two  days of PE a  week," which                                                               
means the  other three days  of the week her  eight-year-old gets                                                               
only one,  twenty-minute recess  break a day.   She  said schools                                                               
can still  cut recess.   She stated that Alaska  children deserve                                                               
"the  best  in  education  and  opportunity  in  life"  and  need                                                               
[adults]  to speak  up  for them.   She  said  some districts  in                                                               
Alaska are making physical activity  a priority, because they see                                                               
the connection  it has with  improving education.   Ms. Carpenter                                                               
said  reports show  that physically  active students  have better                                                               
grades and  better attendance in  school.  Although  some schools                                                               
are "doing it  right," children without the choice  of where they                                                               
attend school need  to be afforded the same  rights and benefits.                                                               
She stated, "This  bill is a path towards  improving learning and                                                               
health,  which  all  of  Alaska  kids need.    The  issue  is  so                                                               
important in the lives of children  now and for their future.  We                                                               
need  to make  sure that  districts across  Alaska are  doing the                                                               
right thing for our kids."                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  noted that Ms.  Carpenter's letter was  in the                                                               
committee packet.                                                                                                               
9:32:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN  observed  that  in her  letter,  Ms.  Carpenter                                                               
mentions  a school  with  nearly 700  elementary  students.   She                                                               
asked which school and district Ms. Carpenter was referencing.                                                                  
MS. CARPENTER said  it is Sand Lake Elementary,  in the Anchorage                                                               
School  District, which  is the  largest school  in Alaska,  with                                                               
approximately 670 students.                                                                                                     
9:33:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND closed public testimony on HB 70.                                                                             
9:33:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON offered  her  understanding from  hearing                                                               
the testimony that  "more than one day is being  requested."  She                                                               
suggested an  amendment for "one  day a week" may  be considered,                                                               
because "it sounds like the parents are asking for more."                                                                       
9:33:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND announced that HB 70 was held over.                                                                           
9:34:21 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee meeting was                                                                   
adjourned at 9:34 a.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB032 ver A.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 32
HB032 Sponsor Statement 2.28.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 32
HB032 Sectional Analysis 2.28.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 32
HB032 Supporting Document-Rural Retrofits Report 2.28.2019.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 32
HB032 Additional Documents-Memo Legal 2.28.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 32
HB070 ver A 3.5.19.PDF HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB070 Sponsor Statement 3.5.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB070 Sectional Analysis ver A 3.5.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB070 Additional Documents-Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior and Academic Grades.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB070 Additional Documents-The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity Including Physical Education and Academic Performance.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB070 Additional Documents-More Recess Improves Academic Performance.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB070 Additional Documents-Physical Education Recess Policy Survey - Denali Daniels.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB032 Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 32
HB 070 Supporting Document-Letter of Support - Kelly Lessens 3.29.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB 070 Supporting Document-Letter of Support - Carey Carpenter 3.29.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB070 Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 70
HB032 Background Document-HFC Loan Program Guide 4.2.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 32
HB032 Supporting Document-Support Letters 4.9.19.pdf HCRA 4/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 32